Author Archives: dmccrate

Klout?

I have to admit that before taking this class, I had never heard of Klout – like ever.  I was surprised and more than a little skeptical that a website would give me some kind of score based on how “influential” I am.  Influential to whom?  How did this work?  (as it turns out, there actually is an algorithm behind your Klout score).  Klout basically asks for your permission to access social networking sites that you are active on, and uses this to calculate a score based on the number of followers you have, as well as their reaction to your contributions – as the site says, they take into account “over 400″ variables based on your network.

Capture

So I decided to kick the tires and signed up for a Klout account.  I ended up connecting my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profile to get started.

Here’s how I stacked up:

MyKlout

As it turns out I am way more active on Facebook.  Well, relatively.  I only post something maybe once a week at most.  (Hey – don’t judge.  The TMMBA program workload curbs my inner social networking butterfly).

Pretty pleased that my Klout score also happened to answer the ultimate question of the universe, I decided to see who had a “good” Klout score.  As it turns out, I had a lot of work to do if I wanted to catch up with the likes of the President, Britney Spears, or the Bieb:

KloutInfluencers

Want to know when you posted something awesome and influential?  Klout tells you based on the number of folks that interacted with your posts.  Here’s my top post for April (I think I got 4 likes).

InfluentialMomentPast90days

So how would one use their Klout score?  Mind boggling enough – it’s become the new hotness in with tech savvy companies.  According to this wired article, a job applicant was actually passed over because he had too low of a Klout score.  Yes friends, now you have one more thing to worry about when applying for jobs.  Klout’s aspiration is that your Klout score will allow the “little guy” to have influence, instead of only celebrities with a billion Twitter followers.  Given that the top Klout scores still belong to celebrities, it may take some time before ordinary MBA students hit the big Klout big time.

Overall, I found the tool interesting, easy to use, but I am still experimenting with this.  Guess when I graduate I should tweet more.

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Confessions of a Redditor

reddit-alien

So what exactly is Reddit?

Some say Reddit is the seedy underbelly of the internet – a wretched hive of scum and villainy.  A place who’s only function is to suck workplace productivity and birth memes.  Others see it as one of the greatest online communities ever – a place where you can learn literally learn anything about anything, or have the Physicist Neil Degrasse Tyson drop by to chat.

I tend to fall in the latter camp – I came up on the internet when browsers were in the their infancy, and the most common way to get online was to access BBS (Bulletin Board Services) sites.  These were the very earliest online communities, and Reddit is very much a descendent.

At it’s core, Reddit is a social news site. Community members post links to websites, newstories, and images on the internet – if the community finds value in the item, it will receive “upvotes” – the more upvotes an article receives, the higher it’s ranking on the page.  The most coveted spot is the landing page of the site called the “frontpage” – which can garner millions of views on Reddit’s heavily trafficked site.  Upvotes also earn the user “Karma” – a type of metascore that shows the Reddit community that you typically post good stuff.  Conversely, stories of poor quality or items created to generate controversy and comments (called trolling) will receive downvotes and rank lower on the page.  This type of self curation works amazingly well, and should be a little familiar if you have ever visited Digg.com.

Reddit is also hugely diverse in in its’ content and members can actually create their own community sites within Reddit (called subreddits) that can cater to virtually any interest or taste.  Popular subreddits include TIL (Today I Learned) where users share new facts that they picked up, and AMA (ask me anything) where people with interesting occupations or celebrities will drop in and answer questions from the audience.

According to Quantcast, Reddit has an average audience size of around 22 million users per month in the US – this is a sizable audience.  Interestingly enough, Reddit eschews most traditional advertising – they serve some house ads, and allow 1 promotional post per page (always clearly marked).  In 2010, Reddit started to offer premium features called “Reddit Gold” which members can purchase for $29.99/year.

Over the past year, Reddit’s cachet has been growing by leaps and bounds.  Steven Colbert is a self professed redditor, and the AMA subreddit has become a powerful social media and marketing tool.  During the 2012 elections, President Obama did a celebrity AMA and answered questions for half an hour – during that time, Reddit saw over 200,000 visitors – a new record.  Since that time, it has become common for anyone promoting something  – whether it be a product, movie, or president to do an AMA.  Reddit is the new digital town hall meeting.

Obama-Reddit

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The Oatmeal & Nikola Tesla

The Oatmeal is a popular web comic series developed by Matthew Inman of Seattle that covers topics ranging from everyday problems like grocery shopping when hungry, to a heart tugging editorial extolling the lovable weirdness of the family dog.

grocery_hungry

One thing that the Oatmeal gets right is their savvy use of Social Media for promotion.  Although Mr. Inman has been critical of social media sites and some of the surreptitious practices of social media promotion, he effectively uses social media channels such as Facebook (917,775 likes) and Twitter (366,151 followers) to promote his web comics and causes he finds worthy. 

Last August, Mr Inman used his web comic and social media channels to help a non profit organization purchase the Nikola Tesla laboratories in Shoreham, NY.  The campaign was amazingly successful, and employed a 3 prong approach to build awareness.

The Oatmeal had already created a Nikola Tesla cartoon praising Tesla’s contributions to science and technology.Nikola

  1. On July 31, the Oatmeal posted a preliminary post to his Facebook page asking if he should start a campaign to raise awareness. This initial post drew over 10,325 likes.
  2. Next, Inman created a page outlining the goals of the campaign, and why it was a worthy cause.  Inman used his site to host a Kickstarter like campaign, using Indiegogo to collect donations.  The page was eventually updated with Kickstarter type rewards for increasing levels of contribution.
  3. Finally, Inman leveraged the power of the Oatmeal’s fan base through Twitter and Facebook.

The response was overwhelming, and Inman ended up raising $1.37 million for the museum – far exceeding their $850K goal.  What I liked about this campaign was that it married high quality content, to drive awareness of a cause that the creator felt strongly about – it was totally authentic.  TIL that Social Media can buy a museum.

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