Why I still don’t care what your Klout score is.

This may be a spectacularly unpopular opinion. But it is just that, one opinion. I mean no offense to those of you who anxiously await your latest Klout score, I really don’t. That’s your personal choice, and I respect that. I just want to express why, for me personally, none of this is about increasing my Klout score. I’m not even signed up for Klout and unless someone can convince me that it’s essential to my further professional development, I intend to keep it that way.

The best, most candid article I have seen on the topic of Klout and other influence measurement tools lately is this: Twitalyzer and Klout. In it, Eric Peterson says:

“I personally think that any company or individual who is making a hiring or contracting decision based on our data, Klout scores, or any number is making a huge mistake! No disrespect to Klout, or any of the other measurement services out there, but there is no calculation that tells you nearly enough about an individual to allow you to make a buying, hiring, or any other kind of personal decision. At the point where we are making personal decisions based on a single number — one that even in a transparent system like ours people still don’t take the time to understand completely — our humanity has been lost and, in my humble opinion, we are better off turning the damn machines off and calling it a day.”

Amen, Eric. … Read more

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5 Simple Steps to Building an Awesome Blog Post

Your content is the most important aspect of your blog. But, how you deliver and present your blog posts often dictate whether a note a post will get read.

There are plenty of blogs out there just begging for attention, but they lose the reader with lengthy diatribes or perhaps they don’t even attract readers at all. Maybe that blogger is you.

Not to worry. We’ve pulled together five simple tips to help you take that killer content of yours and build an awesome blog post that’s more likely to be read and shared.

Let’s get started, shall we? … Read more

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Checking-in to the State of Foursquare

Last year at SXSW, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley joined Frank Eliason (previously @comcastcares), Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang and me on stage to discuss the shifting landscape of social engagement. While I focused on the sociology of engagement and the impact it is having on culture and society, I also sought to balance the conversation by demonstrating the impact of digital actions and interaction between people and businesses.

Whether intentional or not, Crowley and team unlocked the elusive gates that separated the last mile of engagement between local businesses and their customers and prospective patrons. The rising generation of social consumers embraced geo-location services to share physical experiences, connect with their social graph in the real world and also earn rewards for their check-ins, which is rapidly becoming a powerful form of peer-to-peer endorsements and recommendations. Crowley, quite literally gamed the system that was once solely controlled by giants such as the Yellow Pages,  Google and Yelp. The Foursquare team bridged the gap between people and places both online and offline.

Later in the year, we caught up again for a cover story I wrote for Entrepreneur magazine.

We discussed how Foursquare redefined the role of the patron and the relationship between businesses and customers.

“The network started to take on a life of its own,” Crowley said in the interview for Entrepreneur. “Foursquare gave everyday people, venues and local merchants a voice. It opened the doors for businesses to see a whole new way of seeing their customer.”

In the Game of Foursquare, What’s the Score?

Foursquare’s rapid rise from New York startup to media darling is quite remarkable. If you judge the service by its badge, or shall we say badges, you might miss the bigger picture. The essence of Foursquare is powered by its community. In this mobile Utopia, people earn positions of prominence by exploring and improving the experiences of other explorers. It’s a form of social hierarchy that’s alluring and rewarding. For a more recent example, it’s not unlike the fledgling blog darling Quora.  The ties that bind its users are woven through social ties and recognition that’s earned through participation and contribution.

Foursquare continues to evolve and the team recently released an infographic that visualized collective achievements and user behavior. To make it easier to consume and also appreciate its progress, let’s review some key milestones.

In 2010, Foursquare experienced 3,400-percent growth over 2009, reaching 6,000,000 users to date.

This year, Foursquare received over 380 million check-ins.

The largest swarm to date is the Rally to Restore Sanity, which saw over 35,000 check-ins on October 30th, 2010.

A Day in the Life

The team also revealed a “day in the life” of the typical Foursquare user.

Most people check-in to eateries, gaining momentum at 8 a.m. every day and thinning out just after midnight.

Check-ins to work or the office also follow a similar pattern. Work days typically seem to see the greatest volume of check-ins between 7 – 8 a.m. continuing to midnight. … Read more

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We are all Chief Marketing Officers!

No matter where you work, what your role is, or who you are, in today’s transparent social media world we have all become Chief Marketing Officers!

Every task you perform in an organization, regardless of your functional area, has a downstream impact on the customer. What makes you a CMO is that your firm’s brand and reputation rides upon everything you do, as well as the passion and personality you put into doing it. … Read more

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Alternative Currency Startup in Search of CEO

“If you could devise a better system of money than what we have now, to be more fair and equitable, how would you do it?”

This was the question Ammar Charani asked nobel winners, academics, and leaders in economics, business, permaculture, and finance in order to get a grasp on our economic future. The inquiry inspired him to to build a community platform for exchanging goods and services with an alternative currency, and now the search is on for a seasoned CEO to take the product to market.

“Think eBay meets Groupon meets Berkshares,” I was told in the email notifying me of this opportunity.

With an advisory board that includes complementary currency advocates Bernard Lietaer and Margrit Kennedy, as well as experts in investment banking and electronic commerce, I’m intrigued to see what they roll out. … Read more

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Recalculating

Every once in a while, when we least expect it, life gives us a new turn, a twist and sometimes a shake. And we often don’t know what to do. Three weeks ago I was told something that would once again in the past 1 1/2years  change my life and my perceptions on how short and valuable life is. But what is most important, once I heard the news and got into my car to head home to soak it all in, my Garmin said something I had heard a million times before ( see I am geographically challenged and need my Garmin for directions) she said “recalculating.”

Normally this means, we are going in a different direction. Or, we are going to take a different route based on current input. But that day, “recalculating,” took on a whole new meaning. It meant, just that, Cd, we are still heading in new directions, you’re still learning to take a different route and most importantly based on input, whether it be health, finances, family or friends, you need to recalculate.

Recalculate > Rethink > Regroup > Look ahead > Yes it’s about you and what is happening now,  but use current circumstances (input) to rethink your goals,plans and dreams. … Read more

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Design Thinking 101 Revisited

If you’ve visited a bookstore recently, you probably noticed there’s been a lot written lately on the subject of design thinking. Whether or not you think it’s just another trendy buzzword, the topic has been gaining momentum in the last 5 years and is beginning to spark genuine interest from both designers and business executives alike. Big brand names like GE, Proctor & Gamble and Harley Davidson  have elevated design thinking to their management ranks and Stanford University has even created an Institute of Design lead by IDEO cofounder David Kelley that believes “great innovators and leaders need to be great design thinkers.”

Could design thinking really be a management paradigm shift or is it just a bunch of hype? Could it have an impact on businesses and help to solve the world’s most wicked problems? The following is a roundup on design thinking’s tools, methodology and why you should care. … Read more

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The “Wisdom of Friends” Powers Brand Advocacy

We are hearing so much now about how social media is creating a shift from the wisdom of crowds’ to ‘the wisdom of friends’, but what does that really mean for brand advocacy?  A lot.  It’s this ‘wisdom of friends’ that brings a new “social power” to brand advocacy.

Social power (the ability to influence) used to be determined by who had the most money, was the most intelligent, or was the most effective at impressing their will on others, but that’s changing thanks to social media.  Now social power comes through connections of friends, or the “wisdom” of friends, so Advocates have much greater influence.

Numbers still hold some power, and they always will, but the strength of connection is becoming even more powerful.   Consumers care about reviews, evaluations and what other consumers say about your product, much more than advertisements… and that is great for a brand.  What they care about even more is what their friends think about your product.  One or two friends’ opinions — the “wisdom of friends” – carry more weight than many other opinions combined. … Read more

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Thrive in 2011 By Making Social Sell

Blogging, engaging, listening to customers on Facebook or Twitter are all a necessary component of being online. But doing these things won’t help you actually make sales using social media. The idea of following customers into social spaces is smart. But incomplete without a means to capture attention and ultimately convert it into demand – leads and sales. Could the answer to selling more with social media be found in starting conversations that are worth having? And could conversing in ways that generate questions that you have the answers to be a better way to generate customer inquiries? Here’s my advice on making each social media marketing budget dollar go further in 2011. … Read more

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Research: Fastest-growing companies accelerated social media usage

Research released yesterday from The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth indicates fast-growing U.S. companies continue to out-shine the Fortune 500 on deployment of social media marketing initiatives.  The research effort, now in its fourth year, studies a compilation of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies compiled annually by Inc. Magazine.

Social networking continues to lead the way. The platform most familiar to the 2010 Inc. 500 is Facebook with 87% of respondents claiming to be “very familiar” with it.  Another noteworthy statistic around familiarity is Twitter’s amazing “share of mind” with 71% percent (up from 62% in 2009) reporting being familiar with the relatively new micro blogging and social networking site. Forty-four percent say Facebook is the single most effective social networking platform they use.

In terms of actual usage, Facebook also leads the way:

Blogging remains an important tool for the Inc. 500. Fifty percent of the 2010 Inc. 500 has a corporate blog, up from 45% in 2009 and 39% in 2008.  Beyond the actual adoption of this tool, there is clear evidence that companies are using blogs effectively.  There is a strong propensity to engage consumers through accepting and replying to comments and providing a vehicle for subscriptions. Thirty-four percent have developed social media policies to govern blogging by their employees. Approximately 20% of the Fortune 500 has such a policy and only 22% of the Fortune 500 have an active blog. … Read more

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