Title text: Though please do confirm that it's actually *me* on Klout first, and not one of my friends trying to get me punched. The great thing about this douchebag deadman switch is that I will never dare trigger it.
Klout was a site that sought to measure your "influence" on social media networks. They sometimes gave away "perks" to the users with the highest Klout scores, as a means of advertising the products of their sponsors. Generally, the information provided by Klout was not held in high esteem. The type of person who took most interest in their score was typically not well-liked.
There are multiple ways that Klout measured your influence. An example of increasing influence is having been given a +K (a recommendation for a higher score) for knowledge about "Pitbull" (The Bud Light promoter and producer/rapper/musician, etc., not the type of dog). Another could be having an inspiring tweet that generated 2000 retweets. Klout supported many social networks, and ranked people based primarily on how much reaction they garner from the public. For example, if Selena Gomez tweeted that she simply loved a certain blog, she would probably get more people to visit that blog, and thus get a bigger Klout score, than if the mayor of Anchorage, Alaska tweeted that he liked that blog. Or xkcd publishing a comic about Klout would lead to an all time high in Google searches for it. However, their "about us" page did claim that a small, active group of followers is considered more influential than a large, passive group of followers.
The gist of the comic is that Cueball (here representing Randall) does not feel that Klout agrees with his core values, probably as he prefers self-assurance to having an outside authority tell him of his importance to society. He uses this comic to give himself incentive to stay away from Klout. He is very clear that he is dead serious about anyone meeting him after he has (been proven to have) used Klout should punch him in the face. He even makes sure that he cannot later retract this statement, if he for instance becomes interested in Klout (something he would never wish for). Because his last statement is that people should ignore anything he says to retract this statement later.
Randall will now have a problem though because since he also posted the 706: Freedom comic earlier, he will never knows if people that hit him does because they believe he has used Klout or just to exercise their free will.
In the title text a "dead man's switch" is any mechanism which is designed to activate if the user does not take any action. This is generally used to create a failsafe in case the user is incapacitated . For example, many exercise treadmills include a tether meant to connect the runner to the machine's base station. If the runner gets too far from the base station, the tether pulls a pin and the machine stops immediately. This way, if the runner has fallen or is struggling to keep up, the machine does not exacerbate an already unsafe situation. Randall's "douchebag deadman switch" is a variation that would trigger if he ever became enough of an asshole to use Klout. This would lead to him being constantly punched in the face, so he doesn't dare become that type of person.
Shortly after this comic was posted, a Klout user was created claiming to be Randall. This was a fake, so if you ever meet Randall in real life, please don't punch him.
Klout shut down on May 25, 2018, for reasons that were never officially stated, but are generally assumed to be related to the General Data Protection Regulation, which went into effect on that day.
- [Randall has drawn himself as Cueball in a slim panel:]
- Randall: I'd like to ask a favor.
- Randall: If someday, in the future, we meet in person,
- [Zoom out of Randall talking.]
- Randall: And if, as of that day, I've interacted with Klout in any way except to opt out,
- Randall: I want you to punch me in the face without warning.
- [Zoom in on Randall's head.]
- Randall: This may sound like a joke, so let me be clear:
- Randall: I am dead serious.
- Randall: Ignore anything I say retracting this.
- Randall: Thank you.
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