Tag Archives for social media
Brian Stetler, the NYTimes journalist who made his name by covering the Arab Spring via Twitter, lost 90 pounds by tweeting about the food he ate.
This confirms two suspicions — losing weight is not about a special diet or a special technique. Weight and body image is an almost entirely social construct that depends on how we think others see us. The other thing it confirms for me is that people hire social media to get jobs done that are at first blush antithetical to our perception of social media as a mere broadcast channel for our thoughts and the media we consume.
Social media, as Whitney Johnson eludes to in her examination of how we hire social media, is only a tool because of “how” we use it. It is nothing on its own. You can find that article at our Jobs-to-be-Done Quora board.
This conversation on recent privacy concerns about Klout is one of the edgier and sometimes loopy discussions about the topic of how people use Klout in their everyday social media use. After submitting a comment two weeks ago, I must have received over four dozen new comments in my inbox, and they keep coming. So, I know how people use Klout is an important discussion, and it’s not just because people are vain, which has always seemed to me a throwaway answer to the question.
Klout recently changed its scoring algorithm, causing on average a drop of about 12 points for people with high influence scores. The reaction has been, typically, to pan Klout as just another piece of broken social software.
I sit on an advisory board called the Klout Squad, so I just want to get that out of the way, because that needs to be evaluated to judge my bias in my commentary on Klout. I wanted to link to this recent discussion about privacy on Klout because gems, like this one quoted below, always pop up when people discuss how they use Klout.
The issue is not really about privacy.
Here’s two reasons, from a recent commenter calling himself Dylan_LW:
I used Klout for two reasons but after the big “make-over” and migrating to the “new” klout I read up on what the controversy was all about and found the disadadvantages by far outweigh the advantages (as to how used it). Was unaware of these privacy issues (esp minors).
Primary reason to use Klout, to me anyway, was to be able to give a/o receive +k, even though this did not at all influence anyone’s score. Giving +k to someone was a nice way of (unexpectedly) giving someone a compliment. It also offered others an option like an ice-breaker, opening/pick-up line. That’s all.
A secondary reason to use Klout, or rather stats in general: check back if scores/stats plummeted. If so that mighta been an indicator that (unintentionally) I may have pissed a lot of people of. Let’s say I have a change in topics or use more tongue-in-cheek and the score plummets, it would tell me: “people don’t get that.”
As to actual Klout score itself. I found Klout was rather quirky to say the least in the month prior to the big change. But I just thought, well heye, these guys are working on something new so I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Either way in my opinion the actual graphs were buggy and did not at all represent actual influence values.
The issue, I think, is that people are learning that all of these online systems are very open, and that eventually, any algorithm that measures our back and forth between people, or our conversations and our personal reflections, is going to to be able to reach into the darkest crevices of our online life and measure it completely. I think we are uncomfortable.
How we do that will have to change, once we begin to realize that anyone, at anytime, outside the conversations or context in question can find out how we do what we do. How we use Klout says as much about our interest in social media as it does about our awareness of how people perceive us. What we call privacy concern is really an anxiety about how people see us for who we are. There is always a conflict between who we say we are, who we want to be and how we want people to consume us.
So, this is not about how we consume Klout. This is about how Klout consumes us, andhow that relationship is extremely symbiotic.
Are we prepared to work and socialize on an online environment that does not allow us to segment our personalities as much as we like to do IRL?
We often ask, what is the job that a consumer is asking the product to do for him?
Facebook should consider this kind of questioning. If you look at this infographic by WordStream that we first found at Mashable, you might get the impression, as I did, that Facebook’s executives seem to be thinking that Facebook should become the one place on the web where you do everything you do anywhere else on the web.
Has that worked for Facebook? Adding lists; launching daily deals; competing with Foursquare; and so on.
Here’s a list of failures that may suggest that it has not.
As we have pointed out before, the advertising and marketing professions are slowly coming around to the fact that what worked for traditional media in terms of reporting on numbers, performance in media, and overall impact of messaging just doesn’t work the same way in social media.
That’s not the only industry where you see this kind of disconnection. You also see it in the tech startups industry, especially in the social media apps sector. Take this article in TechCrunch, for example. It suggests that concierge app Alfred has delivered a resounding success to the market. But drill down, do those numbers actually mean that?
Here’s a slice from the article reporting on the latest numbers issued from Alfred’s founders:
…and they’re looking good. Thus far the application has given 7 million recommendations to users in less than three months. And users have ‘Liked’ two million venues within the application (you can use a Pandora-esque thumbs up or down to further train the app’s suggestions). Apparently those recommendations ring true, too: the app has 550 ratings and a 4-star average on iTunes.
The most important stat, though, concerns the way people are actually using the application. Namely, the fact that some 94% of the requests that go through Alfred are based on ‘Serendipity’ versus only 6% that are explicit searches.
So what does that mean?
I don’t think they mean what the writer at TechCrunch says they mean, which is:
These few-tap queries are what Alfred means by Serendipity, and their popularity show that people really don’t want to have to deal with typing things in manually when they can avoid it (it’s also a good sign for Siri, which similarly lets people avoid typing).
To commemorate their progress, Clever Sense has put together an infographic showcasing several stats, as well as the density of usage in San Francisco and NYC. To see the whole infographic, click on the image below.
But it doesn’t exactly mean that Alfred is a success. Here’s the comment I wrote at TechCrunch. I think that in order for someone in social media apps to prove a success, they have to prove conversion, not that the app was successful in passively suggesting recommended dining venues. The problem is, what happened next? Did it suggest and then did the person look at the suggestion and say, “No, I’d actually rather have pizza?”
The same problem haunting traditional media measurement haunts social media apps. Where is the conversion, the engagement and the Return on Interest and Engagement?
I don’t think we know. If you are the founders of Alfred, we would certainly like to know what you think of this, and what those kind of drill down numbers look like, for instance:
1. What is the recommendation to place actually visited ratio?
2. How many recommendations are to the same venue? To how many people?
3. How many recommendations per user, per day? On which days?