For the last couple of months is seems like the web is turning more exclusive and I don’t know what to make of it. It was only a couple of years back everybody had their own handle online and it wasn’t really resembling anything you did away from the screen – You could hide behind the handle and no one had to know what your real name was. That has changed in a large way.
This weekend I was mentoring mobile startup weekend Copenhagen, and a lot of the teams there had “personal information” about people as their business model. Maybe not making money selling it, but making money because personal information is currently becoming the currency of the web.
The new cool kid in town is not only personal information, ratings of your influence defined by your personal information, in ways that companies like Klout and peer index can’t tell to the public, but they seem pretty sure it’s accurate. I have written about them before on this blog and in general, I don’t like it because it becomes generalizing and it seems like the scores are made without context, I don’t know because they won’t tell me. If they could at least tell me what I am measured up against. So now we are not only handles or personal brands anymore, now we are influencers. Influencers that are important and know other influencers.
This morning on Twitter I saw something that could mean the coming of the exclusive web. You can now make a Klout Coupon for your Facebook page (high Klout scores gets Audi Wallpaper.. tsk tsk.. )and decide that some people with high Klout scores might see some content on the Facebook page, where others (with lower Klout scores) see something else. The discussion is already raging about buying influence.
On another note it looks like startups are also turning more luxurious and exclusive.. at least it seems like with some of them you have to invite your friends to get an invite to a-yet-not-launched service.
I would never do that. I might tweet it though. It feels like you’re asking me to disrespect the people I am connected with by recommending stuff to them that I don’t know what is. They are real people you know?
Is it just me or does the web become very discriminating and disrespectful if you start to display different kinds of content to people, depending on their Klout score? Doesn’t the “human” and social parts of the internet sound a tad hollow now? are you still going to be human (for marketing, branding, and identity purposes naturellement) but selective about people?
I guess what’s bothers me most is the disrespect and the ground on which it is based.
“You have to invite this and this number of friends to sign up for our service, otherwise other people will get first in line”
“If you have a high Klout score you can get free wallpaper from audi on audi’s Facebook page”
I think companies should start doing some cool creative concepts instead of turning exclusive – it’s an old card and it’s as used as celebrities in your campaigns and I personally don’t fall for it.