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Don’t make me come in there.

Don’t make me come in there. published on No Comments on Don’t make me come in there.

Originally posted on ReadWriteWeb

This one was prompted by a conversation in Google Circles about how certain people weren’t circling certain other people, and how scandalous that was.

Oh, for god’s sake. As Shortpacked! cartoonist David Willis would put it, this is so babies.

If a friend of yours hasn’t circled you, and it’s bothering you, how about asking them why? Write an email, pick up the phone, ask them to coffee.

Apart from “They don’t really like me, and are just pretending they do, and oh, Christ, it’s high school all over again,” here are five reasons people you know might not have circled, followed, friended or buddied you yet:

  • They’re just getting started, and haven’t systematically added their friends yet. Including you.
  • They’re being very systematic, and they’re only adding their closest friends so far. Or a few folks from work.
  • They’re using this network for a specific purpose, like keeping in touch with family, or colleagues.
  • They did follow you, but the network dropped you from their list. Twitter’s notorious for this.
  • Your posts on this network have put them off for some reason. Hey, it happens; you can’t please everyone. (See comment threads on ReadWriteWeb for confirmation.)

Points one and two just need you to have a little patience. Point three, acceptance. Point four, a polite (private) inquiry can do the trick.

For point five, look back at your last several posts to be sure they really do reflect the kind of value you want to offer your friends and followers; if not, adjust as necessary.

And if you’ve never considered what kind of value you’re offering people, get used to wondering why they aren’t following you.

Get thee behind me, Twitalyzer

Get thee behind me, Twitalyzer published on No Comments on Get thee behind me, Twitalyzer

Originally posted on ReadWriteWeb.

I’m a numbers junkie.

Oh, I talk a good line about how it’s the quality of the conversation that matters, and the connections you make… but you won’t see a day go by when I’m not checking on stats. Twitter followers, Klout score, blog traffic: if I can measure it, I’m counting.

And it’s not like those numbers aren’t important… so long as they’re measuring something that ultimately represents some kind of impact I can have on the world, or vice versa.

But that doesn’t explain why it’s such a compulsion for me – and, let’s face it, for an awful lot of people. I’ve subscribed to a number of theories over the years, most of them variants on “It’s all about making up for not being cool in high school.”

That still makes some sense to me. Yet it doesn’t seem to capture something even more primal: the innate attraction of just plain measuring. Especially when it’s measuring, comparing, and passing milestones.

For instance, this cartoon came about because one of the people I follow on Twitter mentioned on Friday that he was a single follower away from 3,000, and wouldn’t that be a nice way to start the weekend? I and a few others retweeted his request; he crossed the threshold; and then someone else tweeted to remind us both that what’s important is content, and not the number of people following you.

She’s completely right. But it’s also true that it’s human nature to watch as the odometer turns over, to commemorate 40th birthdays, or to take quiet notice when we ram-lap. (Ram-lapping? That’s when you finally get a computer that has the same amount of RAM as your first computer’s hard drive size.) And when my Twitter follower count passes its next round number, I fully intend to mark the occasion. (Not with anything royal-wedding in scale, but something more than just a cupcake with blue icing.)

Of course, as part of an online strategy, measurement should lead to actionable insights. But it can be a pleasure to measure. And maybe recognizing that is the under-appreciated first step in keeping metrics in perspective.


Social media: where you’re never a loan

Social media: where you’re never a loan published on No Comments on Social media: where you’re never a loan

Oh, sure, it would be neat if your bank (or credit union) counted your social media assets when they calculated your net worth. But you just know they’ll start skimming your followers as a service fee. And they’ll pull your gold card the moment your Klout score drops below 55.

If they won’t rise up and smite your enemies when you ask them to, are they really “followers”?

If they won’t rise up and smite your enemies when you ask them to, are they really “followers”? published on No Comments on If they won’t rise up and smite your enemies when you ask them to, are they really “followers”?

For a few brief, glorious moments on Monday, as Twitter responded to a security issue by reverting all follower counts to zero, we were all equals. The neoest of neophytes had as many followers as Oprah or Ashton. (Hell, I had as many followers as @awsamuel. When was the last time that happened?)

Now the old order has been restored, and metrics-obsessed mavens can go back to human-bean-counting (I’ll admit it, I’m one of them). But I would have liked to see how things might have worked out if the follower-count-outage had lasted a few days instead of a few minutes. How would it have changed how we interact? Would we have resorted to deciding whether to engage with someone based on the quality of their conversation, or would we have found some other proxy for their capital-I Importance?

Beating a hasty retweet

Beating a hasty retweet published on 6 Comments on Beating a hasty retweet

In the spirit of Twitter, I’ll make this brief. If you’re running a Twitter contest or promotion, then please – I beg you – have entrants do something more useful, more conversational, more interesting than just retweeting a link to your latest sale item or a message about how fabulous you are.

I thank you. Your participants’ followers thank you. And at the end of the day, your brand reputation will thank you.