Tech Tuesday: Do You Have Klout?

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Venn Diagram of Social Media

In this day and age, it’s become slightly tiresome to stay on top of all the Social Media Trends; there are just so many ways you can connect with people that websites can either become redundant, overwhelming or in the most severe cases – both.  Several of my friends coyly admitted that they’ve become discouraged to use social media because it’s just “too much” for them to want to handle (their words, not mine).  And to a point, I completely agree with them.  How you pick and choose your social networking sites is slightly analogous to picking where to sit at lunch during your first day at a new school; your environment, the information you choose to share and the connections you cultivate are all indicative of this choice.  Each Social Media site that I use has their eerie similarities, but also pronounced differences.

Everyone and their mom’s dog has a Facebook and at a very base level understands the purpose: sharing your life and ideas with a predetermined group of people and one rarely exceeds the 420 character limit of a status update.  With the new “Subscribe” option, one could make their Facebook relatively public – but I know very few non-Celebrities that have ascribed to this.

A website like Path is similar to Facebook with the types of things you can share – music, links, photos – but you’re limited to engaging a group of roughly 150 people. Why this number you ask?  Well, I’ll tell ya – it’s because of Dunbar’s Number, which basically states that the number of people one can maintain a social, stable relationships with is somewhere between 100 and 250, but scholars believe it’s at about 150.

And then there’s Twitter – you can elicit control over your audience by toggling whether you want your page public or private; at a basic level, hink of these two options as either the Facebook option or the Path option.  When public, anyone and everyone can read, and search for, your tweets – while private, your tweets are only seen by a select audience that you allow. Twitter is wonderful for being succinct and witty, but any and all responses are limited to 140 characters.

I love examples, so let’s throw a few out:

Let’s say you want to share a link to an important cause (the upcoming election, Superstorm Sandy, adorable kittens, etc)….

  • Do you have an opinion you’d like to share?  If so, something like Path, a blog like WordPress or Tumblr (or Blogspot…or Xanga…or, well, you get the picture) or Facebook is your best bet. If not, you could simply post your link to Twitter with the title of the article.
  • Do you have an audience that you’re trying to reach (or, avoid)?  If you want the biggest reach, I’d lean towards a public Twitter profile;  if you’re only interested in your pre-existing social circle, go for Facebook; and if you want your post to reach a niche crowd, go for Path.

Let’s say you’re out to eat at an amazeballs restaurant and want to share your meal with your friends…

  • Do you want to post a picture of it?  Then navigate towards Instagram – snap your shot and share away at your leisure.
  • Are you eating with long lost friends? Check the group into Foursquare or Facebook – hell, even post that picture you took with Instagram while you’re at it.
  • Did you have the best time ever and want to tell everyone how ridic the food and service were?  Log into Yelp and write a formal review of your swanky time

When you’re part of one or two sites – it’s fairly easy to understand the entirety of your audience:  if your Twitter account is private and you don’t allow subscribers on Facebook, you have an excellent idea of who your target audience is when you post.  But what if you’re playing a juggling act with social media accounts here there and everywhere?  That’s when you use Klout.  Klout takes someone from a Social Media Queen to the Social Media Queen Bee by aggregating data from a number of measured social networks

When I joined Klout a little over a year ago, I had no clue what I was getting myself into – and adding another social media site that was an aggregate of the others seemed more than redundant.  But, what I’ve discovered over time is that Klout is to Social Media what Google Analytics is to Webpages.  By factoring in multiple social networks, Klout’s goal is to discover how many other users are engaged with each and every post you make, regardless of the source.  Your Klout score is between 1 and 100 and takes into consideration two factors: the topics you’re considered influential on and your social network (the people that influence you as well as the people that you influence).

As of today, these are the Social Media Networks that Klout considers relevant (and as a sidenote, I believe because of it – these are also the most important social media sites to be involved with): Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr, Blogspot, WordPress, Last FM and Flickr; however, they’re currently looking to integrate Quora, Yelp, Posterous, Livefyre, Disqus, Bit.ly and BranchOut.

Last, but most definitely not least, there are perks of being involved with Klout.  Those perks aren’t whimsical, idealistic badges (*cough*foursquare*cough*) – they’re actual, tangible, physical, hold them in your hand and covet them Perks and all because you are considered influential!  Below are some of the wonderful ways Klout has thanked me for being a social media maven and I’m beyond blessed to have the opportunity to both enjoy and share them.

Argo Premiere with treats, drinks and delectable snacks!

Fair Trade USA & Klout Perk:
Allegro Whole Coffee Beans
Alter Eco Mini Dark Noir (chocolate bar)
Choice Organic Teas Roobios
Coco Cafe Cafe Latte with Coconut Water and Espresso
Honest Tea Half and Half Organic Tea with Lemonade
Lärabar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough food bar
Near East Quinoa Blend Rosemary and Olive Oil
Stash Roobios Tea

Klout Perk from Fit Frappe: Samples of each flavor and a huge container of my choosing. Plus, a jumprope!

[Tech Tuesday] Socially Savvy

Back in the day, way back in elementary school, my 4th grade class was given the amazing gift of AOL.  In 2012, I’m sure this doesn’t seem that awesome but back in 1994 this was the jam. At the time, they had one of their headquarters in Palo Alto, one of the cities in the Silicon Valley that I grew up in, and I was lucky enough to have a classmate with parents who worked there.  They waltzed into our class one day when we sat down for “computer lab”, which meant walking to the left side of the classroom and pairing up with a group of friends in front of a Mac II, and loaded the application onto our computers.  At the time, we used AOL to talk to participants in the Iditarod. We talked them up about their dogs, the history of the event and how goshdarn cold it must have been. At the end of the day, we got to take home a trial version, which found permanent places in all of our hearts.

As I grew up, so did the social aspects internet.

AOL introduced the “Chat Room” shortly after my parents signed up; I spent an exorbitant amount of time IMing old friends, making new ones,  manipulating my user profile and enjoying their integrated news and media feeds. AOL turned into AIM and my friends and I branched out into blogging on sites like Xanga, LiveJournal and DeadJournal.  MySpace and Facebook became public around the same time in 2003; only Facebook was still an elite social endeavor, rolling out first to Ivy League schools in 2003. In September of 2004, the beginning of my sophomore year of college, UCSB was added and I dove in head first. The social video sharing site, Youtube, emerged in 2005 and  Tumblr, one of the best microblogs around, made it’s first appearance in 2007.

Tumblr was, and in my opinion still is, the best of all social worlds – I could add Videos from Youtube, news articles from whatever source I chose, audio files, photographs and regular posts. I jumped on the Tumblr bandwagon immediately; I purged through my old posts, transferring some, removing others and ultimately deleting my other blogs.  In 2008,  I finally deleted MySpace and picked up one fabulous internet addiction after the other; first came Twitter, then the onslaught of Yelp, Instagram, Hypem, Foursquare, Spotify, Pinterest, etc, etc. Now, in 2012, Social media is more about promoting the individual – whether it’s a person, band or product – and less concerned with connecting individuals into a community.  On both Twitter and Facebook, brands have the ability to pay for – or promote– posts to larger audiences. But,it’s hard to argue with these tactics as a consumer, since these ventures are (relatively) free.

Over time, the number of nuanced networking sites have grown exponentially and older sites have gone on missions to rebrand themselves, with hopes of both gaining new demographics and restoring popularity amongst new and former users.  Unfortunately, we’ve reached a point where the supply and demand for social networking sites is skewed; when you go and “check in”, do you check in on Facebook? Or do you check in on Foursquare or Yelp and integrate it? As a heavy user, it’s a valid question. The market is more or less over-saturated with social media and it’s forced my generation to pick and choose our battles wisely.

Out of my group of friends, I’d say maybe 5% still use MySpace – and that’s a generous 5%; those that use it primarily go for the music and then don’t find a reason to stay.  But there’s a chance that this could all change!  MySpace has undergone extreme rebranding in attempts to reign users (back) in.  The only question is: with all of the social media ventures that have emerged in the time that MySpace was more or less out of the game, will users care enough to cultivate new interest? If I hadn’t deleted my page, I might be willing to go back – but the idea that I’d have to start from scratch is a major deterrent.

Over in the Tumblr camp, they’re preparing to roll out contact analytics to users come November.  Amongst the tracked metrics are – volume, overall engagement of a post, post performance and reblogging. Currently, it’s in beta – but if you want to get your tumbling little paws in on the action, head over to the Union Metrics website and sign yourself up!

This morning, I was trying to search for a few Twitter friends on Instagram and I was greeted by the following message – “Twitter no longer allows its users to access this information in Instagram via the Twitter API”. Say what?!  Apparently I’ve been hiding under a rock for the last few weeks because this change was implemented back in August.   The good news is that we’re still able to post our pictures to our Twitter account and applications like Foursquare still have API access, but it raises the question – was Instagram banned from the API because they were bought by, and integrated into, Facebook?  Today also marks the launch of the Twitter User Directory, which was added to the bottom of the home page, letting users and non-users alike earch the Twittersphere.

Wednesday Watercooler

Hello, hello and congratulations on making it through to the mid-week mark once again  There are a few incredibly significant things about today, October 3rd.  First of all, did you know that today is Mean Girls day?  If you’re anything like me, you didn’t – but hey, now you do.


Politics:

Reason number two that today is super important is that today is….(drumroll please)… debate day! Yes, that’s right – today marks the first of three debates between the Obama and Romney camps.  Truth be told, most of my interest in politics came from watching talking heads and CSPAN with my mother when I was younger.  As I left for college, I had an idea of why voting was important but I didn’t exactly give a damn.  That all changed once good old Dubya was reelected to a second term; so I don’t fly off the handle – all I can offer about him is that at least he said some stupid stuff that made me giggle…and then it made me sad, because we elected him president. ANYways, and per usual, I digress.  Every election pushes this country in a different direction – with new obstacles and different trajectories; they exemplify both our national, cultural similarities and dive into our vast differences.  Democrat, Liberal, Republican or Independent – I know there’s one thing I think we can all agree on: we all support parties.

So gather your friends – you know, the ones with political views that don’t make you want to maim a small animal – around, grab some brews and get your debate drinking game on.  Like most things, politics is better when I’m drunk.

Movies:

When’s the last time you went to a movie theater?  It hasn’t just been months since I’ve seen a feature film, it’s been almost a full year.  When even a matinee costs up to $10, it’s hard to convince myself that going to the movies is a stellar investment. First you have parking fees, then – I bet that butter  infused popcorn would be absolutely delicious with a warm pretzel and a large blue raspberry Icee; okay, good – so that’s about $25 a person and we haven’t even taken our seats yet.  Well, someone upstairs has obviously heard my grumbling because there’s not one, not two – but three movies coming out that I am so willing to shell out cash for.

My number one must-see movie for the fall is Cloud AtlasAs soon as I saw the trailer I kicked myself for passing over the book, written by David Mitchell.  Beyond being based off of a book I’ve been dying to read,  it stars my childhood role model, and top 5 girl crush, Halle Berry and the ever fab Tom Hanks; and to boot – it’s directed by Lana and Andy Wachowski, the ever dynamic duo behind the Matrix trilogy.

Then, there’s The Hobbit – I might’ve fallen asleep the first six times I watched Lord of the Rings, but the direction, production and acting were unreal. Over time, I eventually did see the movie the full way through, and the sequels – but I’m sure they would’ve affected me more if I had actually read the books.  I feel almost vindicated that they’re making a movie out of The Hobbit because it’s the only book by Tolkien that I actually finished.

And, last but certainly not least, the trailer for the highly anticipated Disney movie The Lone Ranger  was released this morning staring Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer, from The Social Network, as John Reid – the Lone Ranger.  Let’s get real for a second – Tonto is essentially Jack Sparrow meets the Wild, Wild West but no matter, I’m still super stoked for it’s release next summer.

Social Media:

See that political drinking game up there?  Well let me tell you a story about it – my friend posted it to her page, and I decided it was worthy of hitting that ‘share‘ button.  But then I was taken to my page and prompted to help “promote” the post.  What does that mean, you ask? Good goddamn question – and I wasn’t sure either so per usual, I turned to the interwebs.  According to Tech Crunch, a favorite news repository, the feature was just added to accounts in the US.  If the user is willing to shell out $7, the post can be blasted to a larger audience. Um. What?!  For special interest pages – like Brands, Bands and Big Shots – sure, it makes sense; but for us common folk, I can’t say I support the feature but it’ll definitely be interesting to see what people choose to promote.

Tech Tuesday: An App a Day keeps the Doctor Away

I’ve always been an Android lover; in fact, I can’t recall ever wanting an iPhone….granted, I’ve also had Verizon Wireless for my entire life so I didn’t exactly have the option of getting an iPhone when it came out…but, I digress.   I’ve watched the Android market evolve and expand over the past few years, and I’m almost in love with what I’ve seen.  The OS has gotten sleeker, potentially even sexier – if you could call an OS sexy, that is. Though the phones have gotten larger in height x length dimension, they’ve also become thinner, lighter and with better quality resolution on the display.  Not to toot the horn for the HTC Rezound, but beepbeep: it boasts the first HD screen for a carried branded phone in the United States.  How you like them apples, Apple?

Now,  originally – one of the great things about the Android phones is the fact that unlike the iPhone – it contains(-ed) Adobe Flash.  I have to phrase it that way because Adobe has decided to discontinue its use after this November, and has started with devices that have already upgraded to Ice Cream Sandwich 4.1  One of the draws of having Flash was that you could view any web page in its full entirety.  But who needs fully supported web browsing when there are so many fantastic  applications for the Droid?!

Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming figuring out which ones you should download. Not to mention, how to handle re-downloading applications after upgrading to a new device. Well, first things first -in the Google Play Store you have the option to view every single application you’ve ever downloaded on your phone.  Simply go to the Play Store, toggle the Menu button (the middle left button on the bottom of your phone) to access the pop-up menu and you’ll have an option at the top called “My Apps“.  Click through and swipe your finger from right to left to see “All Applications.”

The pink oval represents an application that was downloaded in the past, paid for even, yet not reinstalled when I upgraded my phone.  The blue oval is an application that’s currently on my Droid.

Now – onto the fun part, the applications. Some of these are pretty straight forward, especially ones for social media and some deserve a little bit of an explanation. The great thing about the Google Play store, is once your Google account is linked to your phone you can actually pick your applications out online in a more hunt and peck friendly atmosphere, and then send them to download on your phone.  It’s pure genius.

Hit the jump for my should have applications, and anything that is in italic or bold is a “must-have” – enjoy!

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