Social Media Top 5: Klout or Out? Blog Taxes, Power of a Tweet

Are “reputation” scores a waste of time or simply misunderstood?

Every time some tool come out that brags about being able to rank influence and reputation, people immediately jump on it as bunk or as a sign of narcissism and a lack of real priorities– of course, those same people jumping on the tools and clumsily Tweeting out their scores (whoops!) is purely “research” (right?).

Klout is an interesting tool that has got attention lately- and been getting bashed a little too (but it must be pretty good because my score isn’t particularly high- yes, I did “research”). A more elegant debunking comes from Edward Boches at his Creativity Unbound blog, where he says he won’t rely on Klout or similar scores to hire social media strategists. He then lays out a lot of excellent traits to look for that may or may not affect an influence score.

Should we disregard these scores then? No, but we shouldn’t rely on them for real “influence” either, as that exists both in and outside of social media. However:

  • Comparative scores can help people decide which online “influencers” are worth paying more attention to vs others in a chosen set;
  • Comparing your own- or a client’s- score over time as it rises (or.. um,  rises- our clients never regress) can help you decide if things you are trying are working;
  • If you are keeping a clear head about what these numbers mean (that is, they don;t mean everything), you can use them in a pinch if you are short on time, or combine them with your own analysis to confirm your thinking

People work hard creating these tools– often, they are good for something, though as Edward says, probably not a good sole indicator of hirability.

Taxation Without Comment Moderation is Tyranny(?)

So, Philadelphia wants bloggers to register as businesses for $300, even if they don’t make a profit. Huh? Chip Griffin doesn’t like this poorly thought taxation idea, particularly as it seems to have no minimum threshold. Justin Kownacki seems to see this as part of what is going to happen is social media wants to be taken seriously, even if he doesn’t really like the tax either. I think that’s a stretch.

Tax collection, San Juan

Power of One- How Many Tweeters are Paying Attention to You Right Now?

Aaron Strout had a nice post focusing on the reasons brands should bother with social media, but the most interesting part of his experiment (to me) is this: when he Tweeted asking people to respond if they saw his Tweet

.5% of his followers responded, most within an hour. As we consider Twitter to be “of the moment” and serendipitous, I find that number remarkable high. Yes, people on Twitter are probably more “on” than the average, but that’s still quite impressive. For me, that would be 125 people responding right away- for brands with huge followings- well, you can see the potential for mobilizing an immediate message.

Owning Your Stuff

I have blogged on the topic before, but Christopher Penn writes wisely of owning your content, reminding us that we own nothing in social media. Chris emphasizes having backups of everything. I add one caveat regarding social media: some things, like Twitter and Facebook, may best be treated as a place for disposable content- stuff you don;t need to save (remember, Twitter is “of the moment?). Or, perhaps, as a place to duplicate the content you also own. Why save Facebook when you can just use Facebook to expose your existing stuff to a new audience? Your strategy may vary, but before you save everything make sure you know what you want to save and what you want to let go.

Media Bullseye Roundtable

I cover that last topic as well as Dunkin Donuts’ Facebook moderation lapse and my previous post on Leo Laporte and blaming an entire concept when one tool fails, on the most recent episode of Media Bullseye’s Radio Roundtable with Jen Zingsheim. I enjoy these chats, which occur weekly with me or one of the other rotating co-hosts. Please have a listen and subscribe!

Let He Who is Without Buzz.. er, Don’t Judge Social Media by Failure of One Tool

I was intrigued by the latest tirade from Leo Laporte, hoist of “This Week in Technology” (TWiT), a podcast I listen to every week. After discovering that Google Buzz had not been updating for a couple of weeks, he was more miffed by the fact that noone seemed to notice than the fact that Buzz wasn’t working. So, in his post, “Buzz Kill,” Leo essentially concluded that social media was useless and was quitting, much as he had earlier quit Facebook, and had much earlier left Twitter (and came back, though the reasons there had more to do with the “TWiT” trademark, I think).

By the time the weekly TWiT podcast had been recorded., it seemed that Leo had backed off his position a bit, which underscores my reaction: isn’t declaring social media useless due to the failure of Buzz something like declaring electricity useless because I am having problems with the charger port on my Motorola Droid? (Verizon is kindly sending me a new unit, by the way. Very nice of them).

So, here are my thoughts:

  • Don’t blame an entire idea if one component fails. Even if the symptom- that noone noticed your missing points when Buzz went down- are telling, one incident does not indict an entire industry. Be scientific before you condemn something
  • If something is not working for you, move on
  • If something is not working for you, determine what is. People were apparently wither getting Leo’s show notes and notifications elsewhere- perhaps on the site or their podcast downloader- or, like me, rarely bother looking up the show notes at all. My podcatcher  works fine, and actually display show notes should I want them. Maybe the effort putting them on Buzz isn’t worth it.
  • Be wary of posting- and reading- kneejerk reactions. Leo, by his own admission, posted at 1:00 AM, and probably not long after he discovered the problem. It was a rant, and as I mentioned, he pulled back on his contention that social media was useless.

When I posted a reaction to this whole thing on Facebook, a nice discussion sprang up among myself, Antje Wilsch and Aaron Strout. I know Aaron pretty well, and don;t take lightly his dismissal of Google Buzz– but I use Buzz effectively, if not as the “social network” that Google may have hoped for:

Pan-Mass Challenge 2010: Rider’s-Eye Video

As I do every year, I took some rider’s eye video of my Pan-Mass Challenge ride, and include my excerpts below.

Day 1 took me from Newton, MA to the Wellesley start, and down to the Mass Maritime Academy at Bourne. Day 2 took us from Bourne, MA (and a little spill on the Bourne Bridge) all the way around Cape Cod to the finish at Provincetown. .

This is my third PMC and the scope, organization and meaning of the event still strike me. More than 5,000 people cycling against cancer (and yes, keeping ourselves in good health to boot), along with 3,000+ volunteers makes for something rare– a once-on-a-lifetime experience that we can have every year!

The PMC was especially meaningful this year in ways that I have not publicized- let’s just say everybody knows someone who has been touched by cancer, and the closer we come to better treatments and cures, the better for all of us.

If you would like to sponsor my ride, the page is still open! Please go to

A huge thank you, to those who have supported me and those who will.


Pan-Mass Challenge 2010: Day 1 from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Pan-Mass Challenge 2010: Day 2 from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Pan-Mass Challenge– Thank You!

Yesterday (Aug 8), I finished my third Pan-Mass Challenge, riding 170 miles in 2 days, and raising money (thanks to many of you) to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

This event means a lot to me, not only because I love cycling and it was a great way to get to a higher level of riding, but because the event benefits a cause that has (unfortunately) become very meaningful to me and many of you who support me- the fight against cancer- and I feel it is making a difference.

This year, I was able to come close to “Heavy Hitter” level in fundraising- $6,300, thanks to many of you being so generous. I’m only $200 away, and the site to sponsor me is at if you would like to help.

As for the ride itself, I felt good and the riding was good, though I was tired and sore after- more so than last year. The route is beautiful, as always, and I will have some video edited down in the near future. For now, I have some photos (I promised myself I would take a few more this year):

I also have a couple of raw pieces of video. The first, from my first ever fall/crash- a low-speed oopsy on the Bourne Bridge Sunday morning (no cyclists were harmed in the filming of this video):

Pan-Mass Challenge; Bourne Bridge Fall from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

…and a rider’s POV of the finish line at the Provincetown Inn.

Pan-Mass Challenge: Provincetown Finish 2010 from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Again, thanks to everyone for supporting me. I definitely want to go for my 4th PMC next year!

Social Media Top 5: Five Years From Now, People Will Still be Making Know-Nothing Predictions

The End is Near

Flickr Photo by delayed gratification

“Presentists” and “Everything is Dead (this one counts as 2)

Both Mitch Joel (in a post called “Presentists“) and Danny Brown (“Everything is Dead- didn’t You Get the Memo?”) recently struck close to something that I have long agreed with: making pronouncements, “definitive” lists, and declaring “the end” of things is empty-headed, know-nothing attention seeking. It often works, but at what cost? Does anyone really believe that print will be gone in 5 years, or social media means the end of PR/marketing/advertising/yard sales/whatever? I hope not. I try not too make pronouncements of things that I could not possibly know. Acknowledging emerging trends and keeping one’s head out of the sand is one thing, but trying to look smart (and in the end, failing in my opinion) is not very productive. I think we all know people – including people we respect- who have done this- next time, slap them upside the head and tell them to stop.

Catch 22: Do something to get noticed, but if you’re busy doing something….

I have been a big fan of Tamsen McMahon since I met her at PodCamp boston last year, and am glad she is writing often on the Brass Tack Thinking blog with Amber Naslund (and yes, I have called the blog “Brassy Tactics.” I’m a naughty boy). It’s no surprise that her posts have caught my eye- and my brain, including a recent one called “How to Raise Your Profile, Online and Off.” In it, she writes:

“…you have to do something to get noticed. We can’t just show up anymore.”

The paradox, is that many people are doing things, and are so busy doing things that they can’t do the “get noticed” stuff as well as others might like them to. To many of us, “doing something” is paid work and “getting noticed” is blogging, personal branding, etc. That’s ok, though striking a balance between the two (raising profile and actually doing work) makes sense. I don’t necessarily say that Tamsen is defining things the same way, but that’s how I see it.

“Avoid Narcissism” on Twitter? What kind of hare-brained…

My good friend Adam Cohen thought Twitter should be about “talking to us” not “following us.” To that end, he designed some Twitter badges for companies to use saying so. He has a point. What do you think?

Buh-Bye Google Wave, We Hardly Knew Ye

So Google is halting development on Wave, its open collaboration tool. Did Wave really suck? I don’t think so- I thought it had possibilities and used it effectively for a few projects, but it was hard to understand at first- not intuitive as new users were essentially greeted with a blank slate and no guidebook (not a useful one anyway). Another question– is it really gone? Open standards mean someone could run with it, right?