There’s a certain breed of person on social media who I call clout hoarders. The clout hoarder typically is a Twitch streamer, a YouTube influencer or a e-celeb with a verified Twitter account.
More often than not, the clout hoarder is a male. He’s got a great number of followers and is a person with medium to high status in their field of expertise. Naturally they get followers because they have demonstrated some level of accomplishment in their field. They feed off the social proof that their followers give them.
Of course, the clout hoarder has a very high opinion of himself and thinks he is the smartest guy in the room. He is a legend in his own mind. He never misses an opportunity to show how witty and clever he is. The clout hoarder is building his empire on your praise.
The clout hoarder has no time to interact with his fans and followers because he feels that by doing so, his clout would be reduced, expended and wasted on a mere mortal. The clout hoarder only replies to people of equal clout stature or his betters. On that rare occasion, when they show up, the clout hoarder will behave like an obsequious sycophant in order to impress his betters.
It’s like having a parent that treats his family like dirt in private. Then when a guest or neighbor shows up, suddenly that person is transformed into a angel of light who is a joy to be around.
The clout hoarder is usually a sneaky thief. He steals ideas and concepts from others and never acknowledges them. There’s one YouTube gaming personality that steals analysis and ideas from gaming websites but blurs out the names of the websites. The clout hoarder is a slippery creature that oozes audacity and avarice. The self-correctional emotion of shame is not welcome in his psyche.
Clout hoarders are often lazy. There’s one YouTube personality that uses his audience to do his show prep by polling them on what they find interesting. Once he decides on a popular topic for a video, he finds a website with that topic and the video consists of him reading verbatim the entire article.
The clout hoarder is also a gatekeeper. Let’s say you follow someone on Twitter and you make a great point in response to one of his tweets. The clout hoarder will not like your Tweet nor will he agree with you because to do so, he is acknowledging that someone other than himself might have a brilliant idea. Only the clout hoarder is allowed to make good points or have intelligent observations.
Clout hoarding is alive and well in corporate America. I remember when I was starting out as an associate game designer. One day the creative director of the studio entered our working area and started talking to his producer friend about a film (“The Queen” starring Helen Mirren) that had just been released. I too loved the film and made some comments about the film. He seemed annoyed with me and completely ignored me, like I was invisible. I suppose in his mind, at the time I was a nobody at the studio and there was no way he could profit from speaking to lowly person like me.
The concept of reciprocity built the world we know today. It also built the world wide web. People would share websites that interested them and those websites would share other websites with their readers. Internet publishing systems such as WordPress have a callback feature that showed if one article mentioned another article. These days, you see rarely see this.
But to the clout hoarder, reciprocity is an outdated concept that they have no use for. If they were to acknowledge you by liking your Tweet, responding to your Tweet or voting up your YouTube comment or responding, they would be lowering themselves to your level.
A few weeks ago, I heard a statement from a popular Twitter personality that inspired this article:
“I’m not going to respond to that Tweet, they are just trying to steal my clout.”
To that Twitter celebrity and those like him, we’re all just nobodies that are not worth the time to respond to.
If you dare to question the clout hoarder about his clout hoarding habit, his white knight followers will come out of the woodwork to attack you. You see, the followers of the clout hoarder are working on their clout with the hoarder. If they can put you in your place, their clout goes up too. Clout hoarders and white knights have a strange symbiotic relationship.
In all fairness, there are clout thieves. Some do it to make money and some exist just to troll and cause trouble for the sheer joy of it. The best example is the YouTube phenomenon of reaction videos. Reaction videos typically consist of a person filming their own reactions to other videos of movie trailers, music videos and even their fellow streamers. Most clout thieves are have little to no expertise in the fields of endeavor they are reacting to but use the accomplishment of others to build up their brand.
We live in a world that worships the self. From the minute the clout hoarder wakes up and drinks his morning coffee, he is always thinking about his brand. The people he has to step on as he climbs his golden ladder of success are inconsequential and just collateral damage. Fans are just a means to an end as this person builds their empire. Beware the clout hoarder. He is not what he seems.
Growing up one of the first phrases I learned was this:
It is better to give than to receive.
When you pay it forward and when you help those around you by giving up a bit of your time, you make the world a better place and you help to humanize this thing we call the Internet. What goes around, comes around. Someday that person that you help, may help others in a profound way.
Don’t be a clout hoarder.