Reality Skimming
11Mar/12Off

Stimulus/Response: Klout & artists

Lynda WilliamsLynda Williams is the author of the Okal Rel Saga (Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing) and editor of the Okal Rel Legacies series (Absolute Xpress). Part 7 of the Okal Rel Saga, Healer's Sword, arrives in 2012. Lynda's work features moral dilemmas in a character-driven, multi-cultural setting with radically different attitudes to sex and social control surrounding space warfare and bio-science. She also works as Learning Technology Analyst for Simon Fraser University and teaches a introductory web development course at BCIT.

Stimulus

Taken from an exchange on the Broad Universe mailing list, in which Justine Graykin replied to a post by T. W. Fendley (@twfendley on Twitter):

On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 2:48 PM, T. W. Fendley wrote:

Hi -- Some of you may be puzzled by a Tweet from me about Klout, so I'm attaching a link that explains it. [...] Anyway, this is supposed to be a great way to build your social media presence. Please let me know if you join so I can add you to my network.

Justine Graykin replied:

I went to the Klout site and read as much as I could until MEGO set in. I don't know, this kind of social capitalism makes me a tad uncomfortable. Turns my relationships into commodities. I feel like there's enough of that going on already in the dark underbelly of Facebook and the like that I have no control over. Don't think I want to deliberately go there.

But good luck to anyone else who wants to try this out. Hope it works for you.

(After the below response was already written, Justine also pointed to an article by author John Scalzi, "DeKloutifying," which may be of interest.)

Response

Does “clout” intimidate or aid creative thinkers? Like Justine in the dialogue above, I’m uncomfortable with the business of social capital. Human beings already seem so wired to focus on rankings and ratings that it makes my heart sink knowing there is now a way to reduce someone’s web presence to a number. People will focus on the number as all important, distorting the nature of relationships and the mission of art. (An interesting contrast is the concept of “cold” literature, arising from the work of Gao Xingjian, which focuses on the aesthetic fulfilment of the author in stubborn disregard for one’s klout, however measured. See this article.)

At the same time, I cannot deny desiring clout if that is what it takes to make my own art meaningful. And I need to keep abreast of web trends as best I am able, both as a writer and as an educational technologist. So I joined Klout, and credited T.W. Fendley for it as my influencer. But, increasingly, there is the odd day when I seriously contemplate becoming a recluse if I can’t figure out how to be myself, comfortably, on the web: neither driven by unseemly clout-greed, nor intimidated out of using my voice by those more successful than myself.

But just when I think it is all new, the Okal Rel Universe saves me again by reminding me this is just a new arena in an old war. I have faced this struggle before--when I felt my approach to writing threatened by the greater bragging rights of other authors, and the only way to mimic them forced me against the grain of my values, personality and motivations. Naturally, I wrote a story to wrestle with the problem, which can be summed up in Ann’s admonishment to the young Reetion pilot, Gadar, to “fly for your own reasons!” (see “Going Back Out,” an envoy period story featuring Amel Dem’Vrel).

Share this post:
Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Trackbacks are disabled.