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Liz Strauss

The Klout Debate: Should You Stay or Should You Go and Does It Matter?


Klout has never not been controversial, but recently, users got their unmentionables in a twist over algorithm changes that caused just about every score to drop, some more significantly than others. Some people were upset about the changes, but I saw even more people upset that others care about the changes. In the past few months, I’ve seen more people virtually yelling, “Klout doesn’t matter!” than yelling about any other topic. And in this industry, people like to yell, so that’s saying something.

Klout’s also been under fire recently for creating profiles for any user interacting with another Klout user on Facebook – but they didn’t have age verification in place, which means they created profiles for countless minors. Partially as a response to that incident (and partially, I suspect, because users were asking for it), the company also made it easy and clear top opt out of Klout, even if you wanted a profile in the past.

And so began the wave of opting out. There’s no shortage of people willing to talk about why they’re doing it, and why they think you should as well.

The line has been drawn in the sand – Klout users and non-users. For transparency sake, I want to note that I am still a Klout user as of writing this post, though I wouldn’t classify myself as an avid user, since I only remember to log in a few times a month. I’m firmly a fence-sitter on this one – but I think I might be in the minority.

Let’s Quit Klout: The Grand Exit

I think the need to quit Klout, at least for many people, can be neatly summed up in a recent post by Liz Strauss entitled, “Klout, My Story & Why Opting Out Was My Only Choice.” In the post, Liz writes,

People who had started using their measure, who had trusted it enough to include it in their client work, woke up one morning to find Klout had changed the algorithm without notice and with abandon.

It was at best a naive decision to move without thought to the people who were building on what Klout offered. Those people who were putting Klout scores in their marketing plans and on their resumes were building Klout’s credibility.

Still I stuck with them, because who hasn’t made a bad decision, especially when starting something new? But I watched with new interest in what they would do.

I became more aware that my data, your data, our stories are their product and they seemed to become less aware of the responsibility that might come with a offering product like that.

The Klout perks I was offered — especially the invitation to audition for the X-Factor — were all about my number not me. The additional unannounced tweaks to the algorithm that made it unpredictable and unstable did more damage to a sense of credibility.

What I think it most valid about Liz’s argument is that if the numbers are constantly shifting and the data is never full correct, those who use these numbers to rate you or form opinions about you are going to be doing so without proper data. I’m the same today as I am tomorrow, but my score might drop significantly as a result of an algorithm change. That’s not a very fair way for a potential employer, client, or advertiser to rate my social media value.

In other words, having a Klout score is an invitation for those getting to know you professionally or personally to be lazy – and it might not be to your advantage.

Klout Doesn’t Matter

On the other side of the debate, you don’t exactly have the opposite opinion. Instead of people championing for Klout (which is a sentiment I don’t see often), you have people exasperatingly arguing that Klout doesn’t matter and that the only thing these numbers are doing is giving people who otherwise don’t really matter an inflated sense of ego. The people on this side of the argument aren’t exactly encouraging you to continue using Klout. Instead, they’re encouraging you to stop ranting about it or making proclamations of your need to quit.

A very good example of someone on this side of the argument is Jason Falls, who recently write, “Please Don’t Quit Klout. Or At Least Don’t Announce It.” In this post, he writes,

And canceling your Klout account means nothing other than you were upset your score went down. The algorithm changes attacked your sense of self-worth and you can’t face another day being a 37 rather than a 42.

Guess what? 99.9 percent of the people you really care about in the world don’t measure you with a number. Neither do most people who have half a brain. So why be a 0.1 per center? Ignore the score.

Jason goes on to make a very good point that if people leave Klout (as they have been doing recently), the platform is even less useful than it is now. Measuring tools like Klout need data to be successful. If you really don’t care about your score, don’t care about it…but don’t ruin things for people who do find use in the score. Or, at the very least, stop belittling them with a “I’m better than you because I don’t care about Klout” attitude (something that I don’t think Liz has, by the way, just so we’re clear).

The Klout Advantage

What I think is interesting about this debate is that everyone seems to be talking about how others are perceiving their Klout scores and few people are actually talking about how they’re looking at their own score. That’s how I’ve always used Klout, and why I’m hesitant to leave. I find it extremely useful in this way – in fact, I’m going to write a post for tomorrow about how I use Klout that you might be interested in reading.

In any case, I find the whole Klout debate one of the most important and interesting topics in our industry right now. Which side are you taking? Are you still using Klout or did you quit?

10 MORE Social Media Posts Everyone Should Read


A little while ago, I compiled a list of the 25 Social Media Posts that I think everyone should read. If you haven’t checked it out yet, do so – there are some fantastic posts on that list from bloggers who live around the world.

Life keeps truckin’ on, and since then there have been some absolutely brilliant posts published about social media. Let’s take a look at 10 MORE social media posts that everyone should read. Note: this list is in alphabetical order, not in order of important/value.

7 Ways To Craft Your Facebook Posts For Maximum Shares by Mari Smith (@marismith)

Facebook recently changed the way users interact with content on fan pages: any user, including non-fans, can now post on fan page walls and like/comment/share fan page content. In other words, a Facebook user does not have to first like your fan page before they can interact with your content. This is a good thing!

Since this change, the emphasis has shifted slightly from gaining more likes (fans) to increasing the number of shares on each piece of content. When you craft your fan page updates in a manner that naturally inspires fans and their friends and visitors to your page to share with their networks, you set in motion ripples of viral visibility. Basically, free additional exposure.

Facebook is not my social media strong point, so I love reading posts that give advice on how to best share content on this network. Mari is the queen of Facebook advice, and this is a great post from her blog!

10 Laws of Social Media Marketing by Susan Gunelius (@susangunelius)

1. The Law of Listening

Success with social media and content marketing requires more listening and less talking. Read your target audience’s online content and join discussions to learn what’s important to them. Only then can you create content and spark conversations that add value rather than clutter to their lives.

This is just the first of ten super smart “laws” when it comes to using social media for your business. I’m not a fan of rules that people say you have to follow, but these are really smart guidelines to use if you want to grow your network.

17 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Top Tips, Tricks, and Tools by Tamar Weinberg (@tamar)

With the breadth and depth of social media services out there, it’s no wonder that we often find ourselves lost in the vast array of services. Further, those who are seasoned may seem at a loss in the apparent “simplicity” of it all. I took the opportunity to contact some of my esteemed friends and colleagues who are experts in their field and asked for their advice on their favorite little known social media secret and social media tools, including their own if they had them.

I love a great list within a list! Tamar did an awesome job compiling this one, which includes social media advice from some of the top influencers out there and even a number of past BlogWorld speakers, including Jason Falls, Chris Brogan, and Lee Odden. Each person on the list gives a little known social media secret and a little known social media tool – and these tips are fantastic. This is a must-read post.

A True Measure Of Influence by Tom Webster (@webby2001)

An influence score makes assumptions about the value of your follower count, how many people click on your links, etc., and then bashes those assumed values together with yet another set of assumptions – their supposed relationship to each other. Yes, there are mathematical functions involved, but just as the “likely voter model” many pollsters use for pre-election polls can never predict whether or not a specific individual will actually vote, the influence score will never be able to predict the impact of an individual on the behavior(s) you are trying to influence.

If you’re a stats geek like I am, this is the post for you. Do numbers like Klout score really matter? Yes – but if you actually want to measure influence, you can’t stop there. As Tom suggests, you have to develop your own performance measures if you want to truly understand your social media influence.

An Honest Look at Being a Social Media Consultant by Mack Collier (@MackCollier)

Over the past few months, I’ve had several discussions with people that are working in this space as the umbrella term of a ‘social media consultant’.  What prompted me to write this post was because several times I have heard from friends that are struggling, and they assume that since they are struggling, that it’s a direct reflection on their abilities as a consultant.  They also assume that most consultants are doing extremely well, so if they aren’t, that further cements the idea that they just aren’t ‘cut out’ for this type of work.

If you’re considering leaving your job to work in the social media industry, this is a post I highly recommend reading first. Mack’s post doesn’t just talk about the fact that it isn’t all unicorns and rainbows out there; it also gives some pretty great advice for becoming successful in this industry.

Conversation Isn’t Hard by C.C. Chapman (@cc_chapman)

I firmly believe that if you talk and act just like you do in the real world when face-to-face with people you’ll do well. Sure, that is over simplifying things, but at the root of everything I do believe this. Of course this means that if your a jerk in person…well you know what that means. *grin*

Having a conversation shouldn’t be a chore. You either enjoy talking with people or you don’t. Twitter and social media are not for everyone.

I really dislike it when people assert that there’s only one right way to do social media, so this post resonates with me. I think one of the reasons my personal network is continuously growing is that I’m totally myself online. I’m a little more outgoing, perhaps, but what you see is what you get – and people like that.

Cyberbullying is Not a Joke by Matt Ryan (@mattryan) with video by Chris Pirillo (@chrispirillo) and Christopher Burgess (@burgessct)

Social networking is one of the latest challenges facing parents today. As both a common form of communication between peers and a source of information, social networks are becoming increasingly difficult for parents to ignore or shrug off as a simple trend. Parents are challenged with not only reading the signs of their child’s mood and general demeanor; they have to maintain awareness of what they go through online.

Cyberbullying is a big deal, and the ramifications of it can last well past a person’s high school years. In 2010 alone, 34 teens committed suicide as the result of cyberbullying that took place on personal Web sites, social networks, and various other forums across the Web.

What I’d like to add to this is that it isn’t just kids who are bullied via social media. Just because you can say something anonymously doesn’t mean that you should say it. Think about the things you post online, especially as they relate to other people. Build people up; don’t break them down. Kids look to us as role models, so it’s up to us to set a good example and refuse to take part in online bullying.

Search Engine Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing: The Showdown by Kristi Hines (@kikolani)

When it comes to driving traffic to your website, there are a variety of ways to get visitors. The primary two that individuals and businesses almost always have a struggle with investing their time and money into are search and social. Sometimes the issue is convincing people why these are a necessity for a thriving business. Other times, the conflict is whether to invest in one marketing strategy more than the other, or to only pursue one marketing strategy but not the other.

I think this is an awesome post about two of the very best ways to drive traffic to your website. Of course, you don’t have to choose one or the other, but determining where it makes sense to focus your attention can help your site (and by extension, your business) grow.

The Next Layer of Social Media by Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel)

Personally, this is the easiest way for me to think about innovation in media: Is it passive or active? What’s the percentage? Can a passive media become an active media? Can an active media become a passive media? Is this what the public wants? How will passive and active media play together in a marketing mix? How well will brands be able to blend those two types of media together?

Where is social media going? I don’t know that Mitch Joel knows the answers (and he isn’t claiming to know them), but I do think that this post is a really smart way of looking at the future of social media.

Top 10 Social Media Fears that Go Bump in the Night and How to Make Them Worse! by Liz Strauss (@lizstrauss)

It’s the middle of the night. The wind is blowing. The moon is high. Creaking noises are sounding. Memories of comments are running through your head, and you’re thinking of emails you sent that went unanswered.

You had such hope when you started in social media. It was daytime. You were always laughing then. Now you’re just shell of yourself in despair, dejected, and broken. Your socmed fears have taken over with the things that go bump in the night.

Fear is a paralyzing thing for some people, myself included. When it comes to social media, sometimes the fear of doing something wrong can keep us from being truly successful. This is an older post that Liz revamped for Halloween – and I’m so glad she did. I love it when bloggers bring old, awesome posts to the surface again.

Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment with the best social media post you’ve read in the past few months.

Overheard on #Blogchat: Start a New Blog (@lizstrauss)


Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This Week’s Theme: How to Write for Multiple Blogs (w/ co-host Liz Strauss)

The topic of writing for multiple blogs is one near and dear to my heart, since, like this week’s co-host Liz Strauss, I also write for multiple blogs. When I’m not here at BlogWorld, I also blog on my own career nonsense blog, write for JobMonkey, and even run an anonymous blog. Oh, and I co-founded a video game blog, have previously worked at three different blogs for b5Media, and help Consumer Media Network with guest posting. You might say I’m addicted to blogging. I love it!

Anyway, I wasn’t able to be super active at #blogchat this week due to other responsibilities, but I wanted to make sure to make note of some of the wisdom coming from the mouth of Liz Strauss, who I consider to be one of the indisputable queens of the blogging world. Here’s one of the tweets I loved from tonight:

@lizstrauss: How can I tell when it is time to start a new blog? When you want to write to a new audience or write something new!

As someone who has written for a number of blogs over the years, Liz’s advice makes a lot of sense to me because I think people hold on to a single blog for too long sometimes. Often, it makes sense to have more than one blog.

The key phrase here is “new audience.” It’s kind of a no-brainer that you should probably start a new blog if you currently write about celebrities and also want to write about gardening. Sometimes, though, your topic doesn’t change much, but you’re not connecting with your audience because you’re trying to please too many people.

For example, let’s say you write about Twitter. Other bloggers who are learning to use Twitter have different needs than small business owners who are learning to use Twitter. There might be some overlap, but a lot of your content will be irrelevant to half of your readers if you’re trying to blog for both of these groups of people.

Instead, it might make sense to think about running two different blogs – Twitter for bloggers and Twitter for small business owners – or to just focus on a single group and continue running one blog. You’ll cut your audience in half, but you’ll be more relevant to every reader with every post – and that’s a good thing, much better than have a broad audience who only cares about half (or even less) of you content.

Of course, you do want to make sure that your blogs are very distinct. Just like you don’t want to be blogging about two different subjects at the same blog, you also don’t want to be sending readers to multiple locations to read your posts. If you’re going to run multiple blogs, they need to be distinctly different if not in niche, in audience/tone/content.

Starting a new blog is scary, but don’t be too afraid to consider it. Yes, running more than one blog is a lot of work, but it isn’t as daunting of a task as you may think to add another blog to the party. Proceed with caution – but proceed. Having a second blog if you’re passionate about sharing your thoughts and experience about a topic might be one of the best decisions you ever made.

And remember, you can always close a blog if you find it to be too much work or it is otherwise not working out…but until you try, you’ll never know!

This was a #blogchat that I was sad to miss. Here are some other great pieces of advice from Liz throughout the night that I wanted to highlight:

  • “Collect ideas at one sitting. Write at another. Start blog posts that are unfinished so you can pick them up later.”
  • “Invite folks who leave great comments to write on that subject for your blog.”
  • “Your authentic voice might reflect the audience. We speak differently for CEOs than for teachers or accountants.”
  • “Blog your experiences not just information. Tell what YOU found interesting about the topic.”
  • “We compete with 200 billion blogs for visibility. A clear niche is important. For 2+ blogs, defining the difference is crucial.”
  • “Information is everywhere. You are the difference. People read your blog for you. Be there!”

If you were at #blogchat, I’d love to know your favorite tweets from the night too, both from Liz and from other tweeters of the night!

The Power of Twitter: How the Blogosphere Came Through for Liz Strauss


Liz Strauss

Last week, I learned that my friend and someone who I look up to as a mentor and bloggy role model, Liz Strauss, was in the hospital. “That can’t be fun.” I thought. So I contacted a mutual friend, Lucretia Pruitt, to see if I could get an address and room number to send flowers to Liz. Lurcretia and another very dear friend, Jenn Fowler, were literally boarding a boat for the Social Fresh cruise and they sent me a note – more than flowers Liz needed monetary assistance. Her insurance claim was denied and her bill was in the tens of thousands of dollars – and it could reach six digits before the final tally.

Mind you, Liz wasn’t in the hospital for something frivolous. She was dealing with pneumonia and kidney stones. Now I can get all political and tell you my real thoughts regarding this situation, but this is about Liz, not healthcare reform.

Like me, Lucretia and Jenn wanted to do something for Liz but they were about to get on a boat with limited Internet access. What they really wanted to do was have some sort of ChipInathon where we could rally the blogosphere. We might not be able to pay off Liz’s entire balance, but perhaps we could raise $500 to take a bite out of it. That was our goal, $500.

I told Jenn and Lucretia to leave it to me – and then I wondered if I could really pull it off. After all, I don’t have “Geek Mommy’s” reach.

I never told Liz this, but reading her blog everyday inspired me to change my thinking regarding the way I blogged at my own blog. At the first BlogWorld she told me that building a community is not about being an expert but about “coming down off my podium” and sharing with others. This is the advice I live by every day and I credit for my success as a freelance writer and owner of a blog network and community. I know others have been touched by Liz and her generous spirit and kind nature. I was sure we could surpass our goal of $500 and maybe reach $1000 by the end of the day, if I could only reach enough people.

I put Jenn and Lucretia’s plan into action with the Get Well Liz Fund.

I put up a blog post discussing Liz’s situation without invading her privacy. I registered with ChipIn and put the widget on the blog post. Then I hit Twitter.

I wondered if 5800 followers would be enough to spread the word on a Thursday morning. Yeah, that may look like a bunch of people, but would they come through?  Why would people listen to me? Instead of Tweeting a couple of times and leaving it at that, I decided to call a few friends into action. I have absolutely never DM’d anyone to ask for a retweet, but I felt this to be a worthy cause. I contacted Chris Brogan, Brian Clark, Mike Stelzner, Jim Turner, Jason Falls, Patrick O’Keefe and others and they all came through. Terry Starbucker even came up with a hash tag – #getwellliz. Soon the pros were sending in their donations and helping to spread the word. Jim Kukral, Brian Solis, Chris Garrett, Mari Smith, Denise Wakeman, Glenda Watson Hyatt and so many other friends Tweeted and opened their hearts and their wallets. As of this morning, 131 bloggers came through – but I know we can do better.

We reached our $500 goal in one hour and by the time I went to bed, we were at $3,000. The next morning when I woke up, I sent $3200 to Liz – and another $450 by the time I went to bed. This morning, we’re at $4,000! It’s a big, awesome get well card.

This is why I dig blogging so much. This is why I heart Twitter. I got into social media because I dig the vibe – so many people who want to help. I often think I don’t have enough clout to make a difference, which is my mistake. It goes beyond “me” and thinking about what “I” can do. It’s about us. It’s about the power of the blogosphere. Together, we can achieve anything. Together we can make a difference.

Click here to donate to the Get Well Liz Fund.

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