I don’t have any deep insight here. Really, this post is mostly about pointing to a story, throwing up my hands in disbelief and wondering what the fuck? Continue reading #WTF moment of the year? Seriously, what was “racist PR director” Justine Sacco thinking? [UPDATED]
I have a Klout account. If you don’t know about Klout, it’s basically a new, high-tech way of stroking your ego and keeping track of how important you are. And I am all about that.
Problem is, I can’t figure out how it works. Oh, I get the basic concept: the more people like and follow and share your stuff on major social networks, the better. Especially Facebook and Twitter. But it professes to also count WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, G+, Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogger, Last.FM and Flickr. I don’t use all these services, but I have connected all the accounts that I do have.
My first issue arises with the fact that they’ll only let you link one account with each service. See, I run four Twitter accounts – one personal, one for Black Dog Strategic (my business site), one for S&R and another for 5280 Lens Mafia, the awesome new photoblog. I also have the bridge for my personal and business Facebooks as well as a few others, including the S&R page. And I host several blogs at WordPress, including Scholars & Rogues, my business site and Lullaby Pit, my personal site. There is some overlap here and there, but we’re talking about very different audiences in most cases.
Which means that you cannot conceivably measure my influence, such as it is, if you limit me to one account per network. You can’t get close. As I see it, this is a problem in the methodology. Not that I’m vain or anything. I just care about services getting it right.
Even if I accept the one account rule, though, the results I get still make no sense. You can change from one connected account to another and the results either don’t change or they change in the wrong direction. For instance, the S&R Twitter feed has more followers and gets more retweets than my personal account, so if I unhitch Klout from the docslammy account and hook it up to the S&R account, my Klout score should go up, right? Nope.
An even more baffling example: up until a few days ago I had Klout linked to my Lullaby Pit WordPress site. But I figured that if I’m using Klout, I might as well maximize it, because my future hangs in the balance. So I switched the connection from the Pit to the Scholars & Rogues site, which does massively more traffic. Heck, I might get less than 100 looks a week at Lullaby Pit, but S&R has been blowing the lid off lately. My recent life on Mars post drove significantly more traffic in a few days than the Pit did in the last year.
So this change should have caused my Klout score to go up, right? Like, by a lot. Nope. It actually went DOWN a point.
There are two messages in this for the folks at Klout. First, I’m whiny and I want everybody to pay attention to me.
Second, and more important, is that your service is of no value if people don’t know what the scores mean. You want recruiters and managers to employ your results in things like hiring decisions, but only a chimp is going to do that if the methodology is this unreliable. At an elementary level, if you’re measuring X, and X is good, when X goes up the score should go up.
Right now you have a useless metric that confuses and disappoints us hapless vanity seekers and provides no meaningful value whatsoever to that business community you really need to buy in.
Might want to look into it….
Ever since the Internet began gaining popular awareness in the mid-1990s, the topic of how businesses can productively use various new media technologies has been a subject of ongoing interest. Along the way we’ve had a series of innovations to consider: first it was the Net, and the current tool of the moment is Twitter. In between we had, in no particular order, Facebook (not that Facebook has gone away, of course), CRM, mobile (SMS, smart phones, apps), blogging, RSS and aggregation, Digg (and Reddit and StumbleUpon and Current and Yahoo! Buzz and Technorati and Del.icio.us and seemingly thousands more), targeted e-mail, YouTube, SEO, SEM, online PR and, well, you get the idea.
We certainly hear examples of businesses getting it right with new media, but in truth these cases represent a painfully small minority. Continue reading Business and social media: American companies growing up, sort of
Part 2 of a series; Previously: What Bell Labs and French Intellectuals Can Tell Us About Cronkite and Couric
The Signal-to-Noise Journey of American Media
The 20th Century represented a Golden Age of Institutional Journalism. The Yellow Journalism wars of the late 19th Century gave way to a more responsible mode of reporting built on ethical and professional codes that encouraged fairness and “objectivity.” (Granted, these concepts, like their bastard cousin “balance,” are not wholly unproblematic. Still, they represented a far better way of conducting journalism than we had seen before.) It’s probably not idealizing too much to assert that reporting in the Cronkite Era, for instance, was characterized by a commitment to rise above partisanship and manipulation. The journalist was expected to hold him/herself to a higher standard and to serve the public interest. These professionals – and I have met a few who are more than worthy of the title – believed they had a duty to search for the facts and to present them in a fashion that was as free of bias as possible.
In other words, their careers, like that of Claude Shannon, were devoted to maximizing the signal in the system – the system here being the “marketplace of ideas.” Continue reading Why American media has such a signal-to-noise problem, pt. 2
Like music? Got Twitter? If so, you might have a look at this expansive catalogue of musical acts on Twitter. There are a lot of bands you may have heard of, lots more bands you haven’t heard of (but might want to investigate, should you be so moved), and the whole thing is nicely organized, extremely searchable, etc.
Part two in a series
How did it happen? Why did it happen? There’s simply no way to measure how many hours have devoted to these questions in the ten years and four days since Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold opened fire at Columbine High School, and while we don’t (and never will) have all the answers, we do have some of them. Obviously a good bit of the discussion focuses on the individuals themselves, and other analyses cast a broader net, examining the social factors that shaped the individuals. In a way, the question we’re still debating perhaps boils down to nature vs. nurture. Were Harris and Klebold Natural Born Killers? Or are they better understood as by-products of deeper social trends and dynamics?
The answer is probably “All of the above,” but we can’t simply check C and be on our merry, uncritical way. Continue reading Ten years on: was Columbine the rule or the exception?
Election Day is nearly upon us. We’ve already noted some of the voter suppression shenanigans out there and there’s been a lot more since that posting. Frankly, I expect Tuesday to be a freakin’ circus on this front.
You can help make Election Day a cleaner experience for all of us. We’ve added a couple badges at the top of the column to your left for the Twitter Vote Report and the Voter Suppression Wiki. Our friend Tracy Viselli is volunteering on these efforts, and here’s what she has to say: Continue reading On Tuesday: suppress voter suppression
Post Updated at 4:35 PM MDT. Click on “Full Story” to read the update.
First, Ann Ivins reports that “traffic is starting to pick up along Interstate 10 coming in from Houston. They haven’t created evacuation lanes yet. Gas prices have jumped in the last two hours by a few cents.”
Second, Edmundo Rocha will be tweeting on Ike from a shelter in Houston. We’re still in the process of reloading our Twitter widget, which got zapped during our host move a few days ago. We hope to have it up this evening.
In the meantime, you can follow his coverage on the S&R channel here. Continue reading Ike updates: evacuation traffic and Edmundo tweeting Ike on S&R channel
If you look in the sidebar to the right you’ll see that we’ve added a Twitter stream. Plug us in, turn us on…