Klout Score Analysis: I Klout, Therefore I Am?

According to Klout, I am a specialist. “You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.” I have a Klout score of 48 and a true reach of 267. That data may not mean much to most people right now, but I’m firmly in the camp that says these stats will soon become the go-to barometer for brands looking to target their marketing and outreach efforts to influencers based on … well, influence.  Not to mention social media teams trying to prove the power of their campaigns, and all sorts of other uses as well.

Of course, as anyone with actual social media experience (and no, I’m not talking about the ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’ who think that being able to successfully bot and spam their way to 1,000 Twitter followers makes them qualified to consult about social media for a living), will tell you: the numbers are great and all, but in the end, quality will always matter more than quantity.

Whether it’s the quality of your interactions with your followers, the quality of your expertise in your field, the quality of the links you curate or a combination of the three, people will always reward quality over quantity. So, while I’m happy that my Klout score seems to be pretty decent and growing with every refresh, and while I totally been geeking out over the accompanying stats, I know it’s not everything.

This weekend, I hit the 2,000 Twitter follower mark. Not gonna lie, that was pretty cool. But, what’s even cooler is that I can go down my list of followers and pick out plenty of names of people who I actually interact with on a regular basis and who I count amongst the many voices that help make my days better, richer and more interesting. Thanks to Twitter, not only do I now have the ability to broadcast my social media messages to 2,000+ people, I also have the ability to listen and learn from all of them, plus the people I follow as well. Which of course is what social media really should be about.

So, while Klout may provide some amazing metrics for marketers to better hone in on their core audiences — a path the brilliant Peter Shankman outlined very well recently — I hope those marketers (and the users they’re marketing to) remember that the quantity of someone’s scores and stats is a good way to narrow down your focus.  But, it’s the quality of their overall social media stream that really tells you who is worth focusing in on.

Or, as I put it in a recent Tweet to my friend Srinivas Rao of  The Skool Of Life (a perfect example of someone who Twitter helped me get to know better, and whose friendship I’m very happy to have because of it) “the size of your score isn’t as important as the motion in your Twitter feed. Or something like that.”

Social Media + Ashton Kutcher + Malaria = Major Social Good

Today, Mashable ran an article titled How Social Media Helped 174 Million People Get the Message About Malaria. The gist of it is that massive amounts of money and awareness have been raised by the social media efforts of Ashton Kutcher, CNN and the UN in the battle to stop the spread of malaria.

And how did all this social good happen? Social media. Specifically, a whole heck of a lot of Tweeting. Which just goes to show you that Twitter can be used for spreading a whole lot more than #BieberFever. Here’s hoping Kutcher’s efforts continue to fuel the growing social good + social media trend. Hey, if the guy could singlehandedly bring back the trucker hat, maybe he can make charity and social action just as hip. They’re far more flattering on most people anyway. . .

Twitter Birthday: First Tweet, Fourth Anniversary

Today marks the fourth birthday of what is arguably one of the most influential social media services on the web right now – Twitter. Exactly four years ago today, Jack Dorsey sent his very first tweet. Now, four years later, Twitter is just now getting stable enough to run without crawling.

It’s finally started sinking its teeth into some of the more substantial issues in its purview – from location-based sharing to verified celebrity accounts to its rumored monetization strategy and an improved API. It’s starting to speak more regularly, and with more self awareness. And, it’s still growing. In short, Twitter has officially reached it’s toddler stage. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next.

So, happy birthday Twitter! I’d bake you a cake, but I couldn’t find a recipe in 140 characters or less.

Emergency Planning, Social Media & Disaster Preparedness – AKA: My Latest Mashable Post

See the original post on Mashable

HOW TO: Prepare for Disasters Using Social Media

Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes — lately, it seems like there’s a new natural disaster wreaking havoc on poor planet Earth every week. From our television sets to our Twitter streams, it’s impossible to ignore the devastation these disasters leave behind. And, no matter where you’re watching from, it’s hard not to feel just a little bit helpless in the face of such colossal catastrophes. But when it comes to natural disasters, modern technology is making it easier than ever to take control by creating your own emergency response system — no high pitched beeping required. There are tons of tools to help you create emergency preparedness plans, keep in touch during a disaster, and get your life back after one strikes. Nothing will keep you safer or saner during a natural disaster than having a good plan in advancemore

What’s Google Buzz & Why Should You Use It?


See this post in its original home at the official Girls in Tech blog

Since its launch in February, Google Buzz has dominated headlines from the blogosphere to the twittersphere, and every social media sphere in between. From people decrying it as yet another nail in the coffin of personal privacy to people applauding it as a bold step forward for communication and collaboration, Buzz has certainly lived up to its name – at least in terms of all the attention its gotten in the past month.

So what is Buzz? Well, according to Google itself “Google Buzz lets you share updates, photos, links, and pretty much anything else you’d like with your Gmail contacts; it’s an easy way to follow your friends, too. When you click Buzz in your Gmail account, you’ll see the stream of posts from people you’re following, and a box for you to post your updates.” So basically, Buzz is a way for you to post items that are shared with your Gmail contacts, and people who follow you on the service. Sort of like a Facebook status update for your Gmail.

Of course, like any good web product, there’s a lot more to it than just the elevator pitch. Buzz is already proving to be a valuable tool for soliciting feedback on a project, gathering opinions on a popular topic and finding targeted information that’s relevant to you. Which, of course, makes it a social media marketer’s wet dream, and has advertisers salivating over the possibility that Google may now have yet another place to distribute its patented brand of extremely targeted ads.

But, if you’re not looking to solicit feedback from your friends or sell something to your followers, why should you use Buzz? Well, the answer lies in that whole targeted information thing. That’s right, Buzz is yet another stream of information you can tap into to find out what’s trending and what your friends are talking about. But, because it maps back to your Gmail contacts, the theory is that it’s even more targeted than Twitter, more focused than Facebook and more interesting than random RSS feeds. The idea is that if you’re subscribing to people you already communicate with regularly via email, you will be more interested in what those people have to say than what Followed #4,238 on Twitter is talking about. And, of course, there are all those nifty Google algorithms to help really steer your Buzz stream.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and I have to say my feelings are mixed. Mostly because I haven’t yet been able to really slot Buzz into my daily social media habits. Between Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader, Reddit, Delicious, Stumble and the occasional email update from my mom, I’m pretty well situated when it comes to keeping abreast of the news and information I care about. So far, Buzz hasn’t yet evolved from a fun distraction into a daily information addiction the way those other services have. That said, now that there’s a Buzz iPhone app, I might finally be able to find a way to fit that fun new distraction into my daily routine. If only so I can make more “I just got so buzzed” puns on Twitter.

Popcorn Powered By Twitter: #Wannawatchamovie?

Yes, what you’re looking at is a popcorn maker powered by Twitter. #Butter anyone?

Henio Zytomirski – Facebook Profile Memorializes Holocaust Victim

As the granddaughter of two Holocaust survivors, the horrific reality of death camps, forced labor and mass murder were never an abstract concept for me. I was able to touch the numbers tattooed on my grandmother’s arm, hold the pictures of the countless relatives I never got to know and hear the stories of struggle and survival straight from the mouths of those who lived them. In fact, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know about the Holocaust, or about the ‘bad people’ as my grandmother euphemistically called them when I was  a kid.

As a kid, the story of my grandmother’s survival of Auschwitz (at the tender age of 13 nonetheless) and my grandfather’s time in the labor camps, was always told in broad strokes. As I got older, it became more detailed. I learned about how she was snatched away from her family, how she survived the harrowing eye of Dr. Joseph Mengele, how the kindness of Austrian strangers saved my grandfather from starving to death, how my grandparents fled the Hungarian Revolution with my 10 year-old uncle in tow and my 9-months-pregnant grandmother giving birth to my dad as they were about to take off on the plane to the states. But no matter how much the story – or I – grew, the last line always remained the same. “We survived so we could have you and your father and your uncle and your cousins.” I think that last line of the story probably bears most of the responsibility for my drive and ambition. How could you not want to make the most of every opportunity when you’ve got that sort of legacy to live up to?

Like I said, the Holocaust has always been all too real to me, if anything. I never needed books or school or museums to know how profoundly tragic of an event it truly was. And, especially after my grandmother died – decades after surviving the camps – from Hepatitis C she contracted from the dirty needles they used to tattoo that gray-blue number on her arm, I never needed any extra help to know that the horrors of the Holocaust are still very much with us today.

Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, but I’ve always known that particular part of my history well enough to know that it must never be repeated. “Never again.” That’s the rallying cry of every memorial, every museum. But those are just words. And with Holocaust survivors aging out of the population with every year, I’m not sure words are going to be enough. Antisemitism – both implicit and explicit – is still very much alive and well in all corners of the globe, not to mention the horrors of genocide, mass scapegoating and wholesale intolerance. As human beings, I’m not sure we’ve evolved enough to truly guarantee that events like the Holocaust don’t get repeated.

Which is why I absolutely endorse what the group behind Henio Zytomirski’s Facebook profile are doing. The group, which includes his cousin, are using letters, photos and memorabilia left behind by the 6 year-old Polish boy – who passed away in the Holocaust – to create an ongoing, interactive profile on one of the most popular social networking sites in the world. The page already has 3,000+ fans, all of whom are getting the chance to interact with the boy’s story as intimately as they would with their high school classmate or college roommate. It puts ‘knowing’ history on a whole new level, and it’s one of the smartest uses of an educational social networking page I’ve seen.

Foursquare & Bravo: Real Housewives In Your Real Life? How About Putting Kell On Earth On Your Itinerary?

Yesterday, the New York Times’ Bits Blog announced a partnership between Foursquare and the Bravo TV network, thereby combining two of my favorite things into the perfect peanut-butter-and-chocolate moment of social media meeting media media.  As part of the partnership, Foursquare will be offering special badges to people who check in at 500+ ‘Bravolebrity-recommended’ locations, from Patti Stanger’s pick Dave & Buster’s to Gail Simmons’ brunch fave August.

Between TV spots advertising the partnership, and the inevitable social media buzz Bravo’s gonna get from teaming up with Twitterati-darling Foursquare, it’s pretty clear that this particular pairing has the potential to please even the Toby Young-iest of media pundits. Throw in some sweepstakes and specials, and you’ve got a win-win-win for the web-tv-advertiser relationship, not to mention Bravo audience.

After all, isn’t aspiration at the core of our compulsion for reality TV (the medium Bravo traffics best in) anyway? It’s not like we’re watching Real Housewives, Miami Social or Kell On Earth to learn valuable skills, improve our knowledge about a subject or indulge in well-written wit and narrative charm. It’s because we like watching beautiful people doing exciting things – things we wish, at least on some level, that we could do ourselves. Now, all you need is a phone and a Foursquare account to do just that.

Want to shop where Jill Zarin shops? Or lunch where ‘the Countess’ (Luann De Lesseps) lives it up? All you have to do is turn off your TV, turn on your phone and fire up the Foursquare. Find your way to one of the Bravolebrity picks, send out a tweet to tell your friends how cool you are, and maybe even pick something up while you’re there (if you can afford it. We don’t all have hefty reality show paychecks clearing our accounts every month).

If you ask me, this is one of the smartest synergies of old and new media I’ve ever seen, not to mention a boon for the Bravo fan in all of us (go on, admit it, you love Andy Cohen just as much as I do). By allowing the Bravolebrity to connect directly with the Bravo fan, and by giving that Bravo fan some concrete content to act on, Bravo and Foursquare may have just unearthed one small piece of television’s future – a future where the cult of personality meets the stream of constant connectivity. Camera crew and controversy optional.

The Presidency: Barack Obama Needs A New Narrative…Or Any Narrative At All

Obama Twitter Don’t get me wrong, I love Obama. I also love Junot Diaz. And, on this one-year anniversary of Obama’s historic inauguration, I think Diaz has a very valid point.

Obama needs a narrative.

Politics, particularly in a country founded on openness and democracy, will always be two parts narrative, one part action. When you need the people’s support to stay in power, then you need a way to get the people on your side. And nothing does that better than a good story. This is even more true now, in this age of 24-hour news channels and 24/7 Twitter streams. Not to mention the Facebooks, FriendFeeds and flavor-of-the-month social networking sites. To be a part of this brave new world of interconnectedness is to be a kind of constant storyteller, providing a persistent voiceover narration for that life you so happily share with your social network.

Sure, 70% of US adults are still just spectators of this storytelling stream. But, the other 23% of us are actively, regularly and — some might say — obsessively shaping a daily story about who we are, what we do, where we go and what we think. And yes, 17% of people don’t participate at all. But I’d venture to guess those folks love a good story as much as the majority of us do. Otherwise, we’d all find better things to do with ourselves than watch American Idol — not to mention talk about it ad nauseum all the time.

There was a time when our national stories were shaped more by the media than by ourselves. When the news told us what was happening, the press secretaries told us what the politicians were thinking and the publicists carefully controlled exactly what leaked and when. That time is changing. With the rise of so-called citizen journalism, the burgeoning blogosphere and the ability to tweet a pic that ends up on CNN, the story is becoming as much – if not more – about the people at the scene as it is about what’s going on behind the scenes in the newsroom. Or in the White House briefing room, as the case may be.

I’m not saying there’s no place for the fourth estate in this brave new world. Far from it. As the daughter of two long-time, old-school journalists, I am a major proponent of the power of professional journalism and of the power of a pulpit from which the news is dispensed with a level of expected objectivity that no blogger will ever be able to match. In a world where everyone not only has an opinion, but has an outlet for those opinions, we need somebody who holds themselves accountable for reporting the news without any opinion at all. Not that all self-proclaimed journalists do that now (ahem, Fox News). But, that’s what professional journalism should be. At least in my opinion.

And that’s why Obama needs a narrative. A narrative that is about him. A narrative that comes directly from him. A narrative that is shaped by his opinions, and his opinions alone. Because if he doesn’t tell his own story, and the story of his presidency, then there are plenty of other people who are ready and willing to do it for him.

And while some of them may be objective and even, dare I say, journalistic, there are plenty of people who won’t be. Who don’t care to be. Who are just telling their own daily tales, and just so happen to be weaving Obama’s presidency into their personal narratives. And I didn’t elect them. I voted for President Barack Obama. And I’d like to hear who he is, what he’s doing, where he’s going and what he’s thinking. And I’d like to hear it from him please. Apparently, so would Junot Diaz.

Jack Nicholson Lakers Game Photos: Why I Love The Internet

Jack Nicholson Adam Sander kissAhh, social media. Sure it has all sorts of practical uses — crowdsourcing product reviews, spreading the word about a charitable cause, finding lots of red balloons. But sometimes, social media boils down to its most basic use – feeling like you’re a part of a bigger, broader world. A world that also happens to accept and reward your particular proclivities – however nerdy, esoteric or just plain weird they might be.

Are you a passionate player of live action role playing games? Well, there’s a community for you. Are you obsessed with finding the perfect piece of pie? There’s a community for you too. Find yourself fiending for more fitness-minded friends? There’s a whole world of websites just waiting for you to join them.

When nerds rule the world (as is the case with the social web, regardless of how much cool-kid Ashton Kutcher might think differently), the world suddenly becomes a whole lot more diverse and a whole helluva lot more accepting. Unlike mainstream media, where tastes tend towards the…well, mainstream, the web has an endless array of areas where anyone can find their particular, passionate niche.

That’s why I should never be surprised when something surfaces that just so happens to combine multiple passions of mine into one perfectly meme-tastic moment. Of course, I always am, and pleasantly so. But I guess that’s part of the fun of being an avid web surfer. Sometimes you just stumble on something so good you have to feel like your life’s passions are at least a little validated just by the mere fact of its very existence.

And that, my friends, is the beauty of “The Best Jack Nicholson Lakers Game Photos” — at least for me. It combines three of my favorite pastimes – basketball (specifically, Lakers basketball), celebrities, and sheer, unadulterated voyeurism (ahem, my reality TV habit). It also involves lots of pretty pictures. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a win-win. Which is something I desperately need after last night’s Lakers-Clippers match-up.

So, without any further ado, please to enjoy. (Thanks, Buzzfeed!)

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