Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How Do We Determine Our Value?

Everyone likes to think they have a wide area of influence. Especially if they're a writer or blogger.  Which I am.  There are several ways of measuring online influence, but do they mean as much as they're touted to?  And what does my thinking do for what I get out of life?  A few random but related thoughts.

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One of the things publishers look for in a book author is who he already influences.  One aspect of that is the author's influence on social media.  The same is true for bloggers.  A popular measure of that is a service called Klout.  If your online situation is unique, Klout's accuracy might not be totally accurate, though.  Let me explain.


I started on Twitter with one account.  I follow a lot of people with a lot of different areas of interest.  After awhile, it became too difficult to keep up with everything if they all fed into one account. So, I eventually branched out to four different accounts, each focused on a subject area I wanted to read tweets about and blog posts linked to.  All four accounts send out the same tweets, but to different audiences.  And that's where my Klout numbers get interesting.

My main account used to send out the tweets, then I'd manually retweet them from each of the other three accounts.  During that time, my main account's Klout went from 30 to 39.  The other accounts went anywhere from 10 to between 15 and 21.  It became clear that, as I was blogging more, ministering and holding down a "day job", it would be to my advantage to automate the tweeting process.  Just to cut down on the time involved.  So, I added Tweetdeck to my online armory.  Now, all four send out the same tweets, but none retweet.  And, if the avatar icons mean anything, Tweetdeck seems to randomly choose which account is the primary sender.  So, while all four accounts are adding followers,  my primary account's Klout number has dropped back to 30, but the others haven't increased.  Maybe because the other three are no longer retweeting my original content?  Even though all four are me?

Klout is also supposed to include metrics from Facebook in its measurement of influence.  I'm a little older, have lived in a lot of different places, have communicated on a lot of different forums about a number of different topics.  Most of them techie (Windows add-ons and utilities, linux, etc.) or relating to my phone geek side.  As a result, some from all of these parts of my life have reconnected with me on Facebook.  And I have a large and broadbased group of friends who get to see my status updates. Which are imported from my main Twitter account.  As well, my Facebook notes import from my main blog.  I'm not sure that any of the response I get on Facebook is counted by Klout.

So, is this really a good measure of my influence or not?

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If you're familiar with Darren Rowse, Chris Brogan and Michael Hyatt, you know they have huge followings on Twitter and other social media sites.  And they've auto-followed anyone following them on Twitter.  Which led to massive incoming streams of tweets, with no hope of sorting out anything in particular.  A lot like what got me to create the four topical accounts mentioned above, but on a much larger scale.  I always assumed that, when someone well known quickly followed me back it was his or her staff making sure I didn't plagiarize any of their material as my own.  Instead it is just an automated fake courtesy.  One that can make things pretty messy if you're actually trying to read some of the more important incoming stuff.

Another downside is that much of their Direct Message spam came in because they'd followed the account(s) they came from.  To deal with all of that, Michael, followed by Chris and Darren, decided to unFollow everyone, then manually add back the ones they really wanted.  Bravo!  But I may be one of a small group who likes that idea.  There was a lot of commotion because some were upset that their ties to communicate with these men were cut.

I know I don't have a huge connection with any of these gentlemen.  Other than that I'm following them because I'm going to learn things from them.  In 99.9% of all instances, I really have no need to privately communicate with any of them.  And this reminded me of years ago in my church.  There were those who made sure it was known that they were on the church staff or were connected with our founding pastor.  And the truth is that, if my sense of value is based on who I know or others think I know, then my perspective is totally off base.  I either have worth as myself or I don't.  And my worth can't be based on my actions. Because those can be performed to impress someone instead of coming from my inner resources.  Whether I'm Christian, Muslim, Agnostic, Atheist or something else, it's who I am on the inside that matters.  Not what I look like, not what I do, not who I know. And certainly not who I'm connected to on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any other online locale.  As Paul said in 1Corinthians 15:10a,  "But by the grace of God I am what I am".

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Jim Connolly recently wrote a blog post called "How to Take Your Business to the Next Level".  In it he made a great case for the fact that our thinking can't be totally tied to just meeting next month's bills.  Although that's important.  But there has to be room for freedom of thought.  You can read the whole post here: http://bit.ly/oTCfwK.  But I didn't include that here because of the business truth.  My feeling is that it applies to just about any area of life.  We have to have larger goals than just meeting the bills. If we don't, we stagnate.  And we end up always doing nothing more than just meeting the bills.  So, do something bigger today.

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So, what are your thoughts on these subjects?

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