Today’s practice: Refuse to quantify your worth and your relationships. Delete your Klout profile, and sign onto the Social Sanity Manifesto.

My latest blog post for Harvard Business Review outlines a Social Sanity Manifesto: a set of commitments you can make in 2012 so that the Internet becomes a place where relationships are built, not commodified. Here’s the very first commitment on the list:

I will delete my Klout profile. (If you use social media, you probably have one, even if you haven’t signed up on Klout.) I will assess my influence through my actual and reflected accomplishments, not a commodification of my relationships.

Deleting your Klout profie is an immediate and tangible action you can take to recover from metrics madness. Even if you’re not ready to turn your back on metrics, you may still want to delete your Klout profile. Klout has been criticized for violating the privacy of minors, exploiting users for their own profit, and using a deceptive or unreliable algorithm.

Yes, it feels somehow risky to drop out, in part because other apps, including the beloved HootSuite, now build Klout into some of their filters. But we should be wary of the service’s claim to reduce our importance, and our friends’, to a single number. We should be wary of building a world in which human value, and human relationships, are quantified.

Pulling the plug is simple, but not obvious, particularly since Klout changed the process after a number of pro-deletion posts were published. So I’ve mapped out the steps to deleting your profile, as they stand today. It takes a staggering 7 steps, but you can complete them all in less than 3 minutes, so just take the absurd number of steps as another strike against Klout and a good reason to kiss it goodbye.

These steps work whether you have claimed your Klout account or not, but they are a little different if you haven’t signed up for Klout. Follow the orange arrows in each picture so you know where to click.

  1. Go to
    >> If you have previously signed up, log in using your Facebook or Twitter account, and follow my directions for registered users.
    >> If you’ve never signed up, click on “Learn more” (see orange arrow) to get into the Klout site, and follow my directions for unregistered users. Login
  2. Unregistered users: Once you’re inside the Klout site, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on “privacy”. Skip to step 5.privacy link
  3. Logged-in users: Select your profile settings from the upper-right dropdown.Choose settings
  4. Logged-in users: At the bottom of the profile settings page, choose the itty bitty “click here” link next to the assertion that “Klout values your privacy”.Klout profile page privacy link
  5. Next, you’ll land on the Privacy Policy page. At the bottom, you’ll see the following text: If are not a Klout user and wish to opt out of Klout, please click here. If you have a Klout account, please sign in before following this link in order to delete your account.  Klout privacy policy use of data
  6. Now you’re on the final appeal for mercy — a page that exists just to give you another thing to click before you delete. For logged-in users, it looks like this (click where it says, “continue opting out”):Klout opt out confirmationFor unregistered users, it shows this option instead (you’ll need to authenticate with Facebook or Twitter to complete the process):Klout opt out authentication
  7. Finally, you will see the opt-out completion form, where you get to tell Klout why you are leaving. I told them: I’m committing to the Social Sanity Manifesto! I don’t want to live in a world where my relationships are measured.
    Klout opt out form
Congratulations! You’re now Klout-free. Now that you’ve stopped allowing a company to quantify your value for their own economic gain, you may be interested in finding other ways of tracking your worthiness as a human being and/or the strength of your interpersonal relationships. May I suggest:
  • The generosity of the smile that greets you when you walk into a colleague’s office
  • Number of spontaneous hugs bestowed upon you by your children
  • How you feel about yourself when you pass by a mirror
No, none of those is a social media metric. Commit to the Social Sanity Manifesto, and discover life beyond metrics.