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Social Scoring: Life changing?

If you’ve ever checked out and laughed at your score, perhaps it’s time to think again, if you’re the type who freaks out at “Next Big Thing” declarations from tech blogs.

Full disclosure: I’m a grain-of-salt, “duly noted” kinda guy.

The following five points were outlined in the latest melodramatic Social Media article I’ve read, a piece titled “Get ready. Social scoring will change your life.” Collectively, these points make a semi-compelling case for the idea that your ranking, whether it comes from Twitter, Klout, or elsewhere, will not only determine your online relevance, but it will also impact your offline, real-world life as well.

  • The Palms Hotel in Las Vegas is providing perks to guests based on their Klout score
  • By the end of the year, Twitter said their new analytics will provide influence scores for every user.
  • People are now curating lists of the most influential bloggers by Klout score.
  • Virgin Airlines offered free flights on a new route to people with high influence scores on Twitter.
  • Hoot Suite allows you to sort Twitter results by the influence of the people in the list.

I say “semi-compelling” because I don’t think average people will know or care about Twitter’s opinion of their friends, coworkers or potential mates. However, the article all but trumpets a New World Order in which your relevance ranking impacts everything from your employment prospects (“…more important than your resume”) to your love life (…”assign numbers for single people on the dating scene.”) and more.

He even suggests that the ability to manipulate these rankings will emerge as a business opportunity for self-proclaimed social media mavens everywhere. He may be right about that (and hey, points for trying to predict the future and identify a business opportunity), but aren’t the same type of people who are going to acknowledge this score those who are best-prepared to determine how to increase said scores themselves?

The author’s controlling purpose is a bit overbearing, but still, deserves some consideration: “It seems inevitable that you and ‘your number’ are going to be compared, analyzed and dissected by everyone you meet.”

A bit heavy-handed, no? More comical, however, is the accompanying graphic depicting an iPhone screen shot of people in the bar with their Klout scores superimposed over them in an augmented reality/face recognition mash-up concept. If there really will be an app for that, would Klout scores really be what a drunk iPhone-wielding patron really wants to get at? How about Facebook relationship status or that new-age Hot Or Not rating system he already suggested? People (read: creeps) would actually pay for that app.

Either way, in real-world social settings, “She’s cute, is she single?” will forever be orders of magnitude more relevant than “Would socially-savvy brands pay her to retweet their missives after she shakes off her hangover tomorrow?”

Privacy issues aside, this is an app that solves a real-world problem (helping boys meet girls) and like any innovation, introduces a host of new issues along the way (namely, awkward stares, stalking and fist fights).

Klout scores may gain relevance in digerati circles, and maybe a few Twitter stars will find ways to profit, but I’ll argue that John Q. Public will thankfully continue to lead a life less-examined, if you will.

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Facebook Messages…underwhelming so far

For all the hype Facebook Messages got last week, I’ve got to say I’m pretty underwhelmed after a day with the new service.

Yeah, I can make Facebook send you a text (if you’ve opted into the service) and yeah, I can give out my Facebook alias as a an email ( But is this really going to stop me from using the email account I’ve had for the last nine years as some have predicted? I doubt it, although I’m not sure I’m the target audience anyway. Maybe the younger set is less attached to existing online identities and more willing to consolidate their communications.

Despite using Facebook extensively for my professional career, in my personal life I err on the side of under-usage. Sure, I’ll check the main News Feed daily, but I’m often left non-plussed by updates from folks I haven’t seen in person in several years anyway; as for myself, I rarely feel the need to post my own updates. And as for old-school Facebook messages, I haven’t sent them often. The few times I’ve tried to use Facebook chat, I’ve found it to be clunky, whereas existing IM platforms are pretty reliable, offer A/V chats and don’t rely on a browser.

So what’s the value here? Text integration? I really can’t see myself wanting to check the “text message” button to send my FB message as a text. I mean, don’t I already have this person’s phone number? Chat transcripts? Not sure I want/need those. So where’s the game changer? Maybe I’m missing something…

Props to Facebook for trying to rethink messaging, but for right now, I’m not sure there’s much to talk about. Myopic view? Perhaps. Guess we’ll find out.

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Facebook Messages: E-mail marketing Terminator?

If Facebook’s massive user base adopts Facebook’s new messaging platform en masse and continues to abandon e-mail, marketers will have to adjust. If only it were that easy.

Facebook is constantly in flux, and the platform is evolving so fast that what was true even 2-3 months ago may not be true tomorrow. And with every change that FB makes, the implications seem to be more wide-ranging that the last time. But if email is going to go the way of dinosaurs and telephone calls (remember those?), e-marketing is about to undergo a seismic shift, especially if the only people you can contact are those who are your “friends” or say that they “Like” you.

While that’s seemingly good news for end-users who’ll hypothetically no longer be inundated with herbal enhancement junk-mail offers, it presents plenty of challenges for marketers who still have yet to master traditional e-mail.

Then again, some brands already have a much larger Facebook following than their existing email database, and “Likes” grow at a rate that email could never hope to achieve. So perhaps this change is already underway…

If Facebook really does kill the e-mail star, chief among the concerns would be Facebook’s spotty reputation with regard to security issues. Given the platform’s ever-growing functionality, security is just as important (arguably, more important) for the brand as it is for the unwitting end-user. Because while a user who carelessly clicks on a rogue app and gets hacked can likely recover, the potential damage a hacked brand would endure is orders of magnitude higher. Which begs another question, why are fan pages administered by simple Facebook user accounts? Seems like a huge security risk.

If Facebook ever goes Skynet on us and becomes self-aware, we’re really in trouble.

Facebook Messages is just one more thing to keep an eye on, and it seems like every day there’s a new development. The changes are coming fast and furious. It’s our job to keep up. And it’s a full-time job.

Worth a quick read: Facebook Messages: Email Marketing Analysis

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SportsNetworker Interview

Last week I did a quick email interview with about all things Celtics Social Media. Lewis Howes, who runs the site, seemingly spends every waking hour thinking about sports, social media, and networking.  And maybe not in that order.

Anyway, the interview, conducted by Brendan Wilhide, covers plenty of topics. We touched on everything from Facebook and mobile apps to what teams will be looking for when they hire digital marketers.

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Celtics named one of “five most socially savvy NBA teams”

Fast Company last month named the Celtics as one of the NBA’s five most socially savvy teams.

They ranked us at #3 behind the Lakers and Suns, citing our Facebook game, Celtics 3-Point Play.