Update July 2012: Salesforce annoucnes enterprise social networking update to include enterprise "REPUTATION and INFLUENCE"
UPDATE Feb 2012: Some people have stated that they follow everyone so they can dip in and out of the knowledge pool, and that they actual use "lists" to read who they "want" to keep up with. This is completely backward. A follow is an endorsement. List are where you dip in and out.
There are 30 million reasons to care about your Klout, but for now, don’t. In the future (36-48 months) something like a klout score could determine your position.
If your name is not on this list please connect with Martin. The names are an arbitrary list of names of people using twitter who speak about ITSM. For the sake of full disclosure, you could add any person on twitter to this list who is an expert in gold fish and if they had a high klout score, they would be above all the other ITSM “experts”. To learn more about klout and the industry of influence, I encourage you to read on.
Digital Influence 2012
Do you remember when only CXO’s, Analysts and Speakers had any real sway over our organizations? Do you remember when we paid for advice that seemed like common sense?
The marketing of digital influence is a fools game, unfortunately many people love to play games for a living.
Let us first set some parameters before we have this talk.
Yes, I am in fact, an authority on the topic of social media and online influence. Why am I an authority?
- I have had the good fortune to spend four years watching every single person, organization and marketing team in the IT space joining in this social media game and succeed or just die.
- I don’t abuse social media (more on this later).
- Klout, Peer Index, Kred.ly and Empire Avenue say I am an expert, so THERE, I must be!
Yes even I laugh out loud a bit at number three.
Second, this topic is about as explosive as calamities in the catholic priesthood, and probably more so as it involves people e.g. humans.
Humans are a nasty bunch, they like to judge, list, order, measure all in the name of gaming some dissociative sycophancy they acquired while working through an oedipus complex.
Yes, I do suffer from a bit of sardonic misanthropy and it is shameful. Daily I struggle to allow humans back into my life. Sometimes I hasten the technological singularity just so I can get back to dealing with objects that can’t be programed in objective hubris.
Finally, we need to look a bit of history on the World Wide Web to understand how we ended up here.
The Rise of the Spiders
The rise of the search engine grew out of the need to find order in the volumes of information being shared on the web.
There were many search engines in the 1990′s. The first WWW search engine I ever used was yahoo.
I remember be so overwhelmed by the answers that I didn’t care if they were correct or not. This feeling of euphoria with “any” solutions rather than the correct solution can only last so long.
Finally as many people were celebrating the non-event of Y2K, they returned to work and found their peers were using this site called “Google”.
Google was so cocky in it’s early days, they proudly presented users with a button labeled “I’m feeling lucky”. The “lucky” button was basically just Google’s way of taking you to the first hit you found without looking at any others.
Google had so successfully indexed pages using an algorithm called PageRank, that people were flocking to the site to find information for most of the 2000′s.
This is where our story turns a little dark.
Remember those nasty humans I mentioned above? Well a small group of them said, “Hey, we can make money by being “Internet Search Experts” (read social marketing expert).
These Internet Search Experts quickly spawned an industry, a multi BIILLION dollar industry called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Business spent billions handing over their websites to these gurus who hacked and cracked their way to fortune.
Many people will still argue the merits of SEO as a real skill. Call me old fashion but I consider shoeing horses a skill, not jacking up HTML.
SEO WAS THE FIRST MAJOR PUNCH IN THE FACE THAT MARKETING, INDUSTRY ANALYSTS AND PUNDITRY TOOK IN THE FACE.
The SEO industry changed a lot of people’s lives. Developers were now in marketing, content creators were now experts on Google rankings and blogging was about to change the game again.
Between 2005-2010, blogging, YouTube, peer networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace), read “Social Media” threw the entire SEO industry into a tailspin.
Enter 2012, close to a billion 3G enabled handsets all sharing data, experiences and information.
Just as in 2000 with the vast amounts of data that Google conquered, today’s consumers are overwhelmed with information pumped from everything around them. The Internet of things has taken over and Google can’t keep up.
Remember those nasty humans I have mentioned twice now? Well a small group of them have created another billion-dollar engine, this time around “Social Media”.
There is a minor difference in 2012 from the SEO experts of last decade, Information democratization.
You don’t need to teach people how to share (although we should while we have a chance add digital literacy to every high school, university and corporate environment).
We are at the beginning of a change in the way we do everything and by 2015 we will have close to two billion people sharing just as much if not more information because of the rise in mobility. For more information on mobility and big data, I have a slide deck here.
Wait, you still haven’t talked about klout or this “influencer list”.
Much controversy has been generated by Klout.
On one hand Klout could be a very easy way to know with a fair amount of certainty that a social object (in this case, a person) is sharing and sharing information “correctly” that is relative to your search.
On the other hand, Klout could just been seen as an arbitrary algorithm that is making some people “better” than others and lacks any real transparency.
Sound familiar? Yes, these were the same arguments made by proponents and opponents of Google circa 2000.
Personally I understand the klout backlash; I understand the misgivings about any influence system.
For the first time in my professional history, we have the BEGINGINGS of a way to measure KNOWLEDGE WORKERS.
This scares and it SHOULD scare you (Open the FUD gates). This should scare you more if you are in Information Technology or any type of knowledge sharing field.
We are at the beginning of being able to ascertain via algorithms, “how you share” and if you are practicing “good digital etiquette”.
This is the most revolutionary thing to happen to human kind since we became able to share books in codec form to the masses.
THIS REVOLUTION WILL BE THE SECOND AND FINAL BLOW TO THE FACE OF MARKETING, INDUSTRY ANALYSTS AND PUNDITRY.
Unfortunately hubris, greed and ego are fighting very hard to beat back the systems such as klout.
Humans don’t like to be told how to share. Humans want to act they way they want period. Think of the first year of school. Kids don’t share and have to be taught, how to share and WHAT to share. Teachers measure students “social” skills early in school to let parents know how their child is progressing, or if that same child is in America, how much to drug that child into submission.
Hopefully nothing, but personally, I do hope people take more time to start acting less like children and more like “CO-operative Knowledge workers”
Klout and all the influence systems, have very little to do with how many “followers” someone has.
They are about WHAT is done with the information that is shared by a person.
This presents two very distinct problems for “Social Media Experts” and the rest of us.
- How do we separate out what we share so it’s relative to the people following us(our customers)?
- How do we know what is good ” digital etiquette “.
First, as Christopher Poole stated during a keynote, at the web 2.0 summit in 2011, “It’s not ‘who you share with,’ it’s ‘who you share as,’”
Therein lies the first key to this puzzle; currently we don’t have the complex systems to sort out sharing. So folks like myself, share as different people, multiple twitter accounts, multiple Facebook’s, etc.
I respect my audience. This respect is real therefore; I know it is absolutely impossible to follow more than 150 people per Dunbar’s Number.
If you are following more people than 150, you are lying to yourself and those people you are following.
There is a major benefit to following everyone who follows you, you get MORE followers.
In this case QUANITY doesn’t equal quality or substance, and klout and the rest of the systems see right through you.
The second problem, How do we know what is good digital etiquette?
Again, it’s a lot like real life, you don’t steal, you don’t brag and you don’t talk needlessly. If you really care about digital etiquette, I have three blogs you can read here.
In summary, follow less people, before you post anything to ANY social network, say to yourself, Is this of interest to anyone outside of my mother and spouse? If that answer is no, back away from the mobile device or keyboard.
You can do this, I would not have taken time to write this piece if I didn’t believe and see first hand many knowledge workers who are starting to respect the time of their customers (followers).
You will be met with doubters, these are the same people who don’t care about, reply to all emails, klout or any digital influence system.
Deep though, in the darkness of their cube, will stare wildly watching their blog stats, their Facebook notification indicator, their likes, their YouTube views and their unread inbox count.
These are the knowledge workers of yesterday. These people don’t care about actual klout, they are the game players who never shared and will never share without a fight.
See you on the playground, and until then be kind to each other.