Ego Trap: Agency Insanity

Before I go on, I have some disclosures to make. I like Klout and use the Chrome Twitter extension. I’ve spoken at a couple of events with Matt Thomson and he’s a smart, funny, and nice guy. My company offers the Social Business Index, which has been called “Klout for Companies,” although we don’t compete. I used to work with David Armano. He’s a smart, funny, and nice guy too – and full of genuinely good intentions. So that should cover it for this post – to be clear, I’m not taking potshots at anyone or company here.


So I had seen vote requests from Agency Insanity (AI) participants and didn’t think much of them. As with so many marketing ideas, everything old is new again. People in the space may remember that Joe Jaffe did this five years and 20 pounds ago with a “Most Valuable Blog” tournament. Now that we’ve got Klout to help keep score and since no one blogs anymore, there’s a new spin on the idea.

Then I saw this tweet this morning:

Which got me thinking about AI again. Why were people participating in this? Wouldn’t most people just ignore this, like I had initially? It seems that some “players” are not participating – as I write, the score in one matchup is 112-21 while another is 6-3 (Maybe I’m wrong and those two guys are just historically awful self-promoters).

This is a great example of an ego trap in action. Get a bunch of people who work in an industry that’s fueled by ego the way Red Bull fuels action sports. Agencies already fight for clients, pencils, lions, etc. so competition is natural. So put the biggest group of industry influencers in a virtual cage match and see what happens.

Who wins? Klout for sure. Maybe the last person standing, in a #winning sort of way.

Who’s a loser? Lots of ways to answer that, depending on how you feel about this.

But wait – if you think this is all about egomania, there’s a catch. Armano posts a personal, revealing story about why he’s participating. Now what?

I’ll cast a vote for David, because I’ve seen him do good deeds in the past. What about you – whether you vote or not, does how you feel about this reflect your general optimism or pessimism? I assume most people feel “meh” – perhaps a sign that ego traps have lost their luster.