The concept behind this series was inspired by the website called Klout. Klout measures an individual’s influence on the world. The Klout Score is a single number assigned to each individual, which is based on a person’s influence on all social networks to which they may belong. These networks can include anything from facebook to twitter, instagram, flickr, you tube, tumblr, — the list goes on. A Klout Score measures an individual’s influence on a scale from 1 to 100, with 40 being the average score. The greater a person’s ability to drive conversations and inspire social actions such as likes, shares, or retweets, the higher the score.
In portraying this idea of Klout, I wanted to take photographs of people with Klout Scores hand-painted on their faces. I also wanted the pictures to be environmental portraits of the subjects in their commonplaces or bedrooms to present the notion of individuality and self. I then wanted to format the photographs to look like instagram pictures to play off the social media theme. A component I considered important to include to provide additional awareness was that every score shown in the series is the individual’s actual score.
It’s shocking to realize that our influence on the world can now be summed up into a number, a rating essentially. Social media in a sense has become a popularity contest. A higher Klout Score directly correlates to the number of friends or followers one may have, or how many likes someone gets, so isn’t Klout just a way of making it more obvious that popularity counts? High Klout Scores come from interaction in the social networking world, not the real world. So can we find happiness from being popular? Or is social media just our superficial influence on the world? In the end it may not matter, but according to Klout, we are all just a number. We are infamous. We are in(sta)famous.