Should You Care About Your Klout Score?

klout logo
Klout: the only way to win is not to play.

Do you know about Klout? It’s a company that purports to measure your influence online, based on your activity on Twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, Google+, etc. Klout then assigns users a score from 1 – 100 – the higher the score, the more influential you are. Supposedly, anyway. And in theory it would make sense to want a higher Klout score, right? After all, influence means people listen to you, and that’s helpful for all kinds of things.

But does Klout actually measure influence? Well, it’s hard to say. A large part of your Klout score is based on how active you are on social networks, which is important, but certainly not indicative of the quality of your participation, or how knowledgeable (aka influential) you actually are. After all, lots of retweets may take time, but it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of expertise. Klout also says that the number of networks you have connected to the service also determines your influence, so presumably Klout believes that doing a lot of social networking in a lot of places is a synonym for how important you are. It’s hard to say, really, whether there’s any validity to the Klout algorithm, since it’s secret. They’ve announced plans to make it more transparent, but we’ll have to wait and see.

What we can see is some glaring anecdotal evidence is that something is just not right with Klout. The TechCrunch writer with the same score as founder and industry tital Mike Arrington. At one point Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, had a score in the low 70s. Spam bots have been known to have higher scores than humans. There’s something about real-world influence that’s obviously not being translated to their algorithm. And even a few days away from the social media machine will cause your score to drop – but certainly a vacation doesn’t mean you’ve lost any actual influence or knowledge in the real world. So really then what Klout measures is how good you are at socializing in a way that’s good for your Klout score. Read More

Use Foursquare and get discounts on Back to School

Foursquare is going back to school in a big way! When doing your back to school shopping, be sure to check in and see if you qualify for any offers at the store you’re shopping at. Tons of retailers have lined up to offer discounts to students who check-in for their back-to-school shopping, from clothing to supplies to tech. Using Foursquare’s “Explore” feature is the best way to find deals at retailers near you. In New York City, for example, I found deals at H&M, the Gap, Bed Bath & Beyond and Old Navy. These deals are different depending on where you are, so be sure to search and see what offers exist in your neighborhood! Here are a few examples of current national back to school deals:

· Best Buy Sync your American Express card with your foursquare account to save $20 off a purchase of $200 or more.

· Old Navy – Use foursquare to get 10% off your entire purchase!

· American Eagle–  Take 15% off purchases when you check-into American Eagle!

· Payless ShoeSource – On your first check in, get 10% off your entire purchase OR if it’s not your first check in, take $5 off any $25 purchase.

Foursquare is available for nearly every smartphone out there, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and more. Download Foursquare today and save some money going back to school! And be sure to leave a comment below if you find any really great deals!!

3 Technologies from Education You Can Use in Your Small Business

David Egger is Lead Marketing Manager for AT&T’s IRU (Individual Responsibility User) Mobility Programs. You can find more blog content from David and other experts on emerging technologies and mobile application on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.


Educational institutions often lead the way in using new technologies, even developing much of it themselves in their own labs and computer science departments.  In this post, let’s take a look at a few technologies being used in education that can help drive more sales, more customer involvement, and more customer loyalty for your small business.

Social Media
The roots of truly large-scale social media lie in Facebook.  Most are aware that was once only for college students and started as a way for students to check out other students on campuses.  I’m actually quite proud that my account was started when it was still ‘’ and each campus had its own subdomain (

Whether using a business page on facebook or a business account on twitter to promote your new products or services and special offers, building a base of loyal customers on social media is essential to any consumer-focused small business.

To keep your following strong, include regular special offers exclusively for social media subscribers or occasional contests.  Not every post should be sales-y though.  I love how Coke Zero uses their facebook page to post random, funny Coke Zero musings such as “The mark of a true hero is indicated by his Coke Zero mustache.”  Keep your social media tone set to the same mood as your business’ brand.  Coke Zero is a fun, lifestyle brand, so they post jokes and funny pictures.  A law firm posting photos of pants-less nerf gun battles in the office isn’t going to get the same effect.  Think of your business’ brand as a person, and imagine the kinds of things that person would share on social media.  Read More

Ad-Free Social Network Exceeds its Fundraising Goal of a Half-Million Dollars

What if there were a social network that promised not to sell your personal data to advertisers? Would you join, even if you had to pay for it? That’s the premise of, a very bright idea from developer Dalton Caldwell, who felt that Facebook didn’t respect his contribution to their social ecosystem — or that of their users. logo

We all rely on the big platforms like Facebook and Twitter, either as small businesses reaching customers, or as developers looking to create the products that help businesses leverage those platforms. Generally, it’s a one-sided relationship, where the big platforms do what they think is best for them – and the rest of us struggle to keep up. was conceived as a way for those integral to the social process – the users and developers – to have some control over the process.

So, what is offering to set it apart from the other social networks? Read More

RockMelt Review: Better Social Media in Your Browser

Attention news junkies and Facebook superfans! Are you using the RockMelt browser? It brings all your social media and news inside the browser, so you can constantly monitor all your feeds without skipping a beat or navigating away from what you were doing.Rockmelt Browser Sample

Instead of opening lots of tabs, each with its own social or news site, RockMelt brings the sites you choose into the browser window. Think Chrome, but running apps on the side. So for example, Facebook notifications and chat are easily accessed from an icon on the side of the browser. Sharing is built into browser too, so it’s not just a one-way communication stream.

If you’re not a Facebook obsessive, that’s fine too. RockMelt has chat built into the browser, plus Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, CNN and even Gmail. When there are new events, you’ll see a number over the icon in the browser to tell you how many updates there are to see. No need to open Gmail just to find you haven’t heard back yet!

Particularly useful is the customizability. Any RSS feed can be added as a custom tab, so Rockmelt can be a completely streamlined browsing machine bringing you what you need to know. Ditto for the iPhone app, though it lacks the complete browser experience, and sadly there’s no app for Android just yet. Here’s hoping it’s coming soon though. Overall, the RockMelt experience is fast, useful, and a time-saver for the news and social obsessed.

Google Acquires Wildfire, Plus an Inside Look at Their Biggest Competitors

Google’s acquisition of social media marketing firm Wildfire gives Google inside access to the analytics of some of their biggest competitors, most notably Facebook.Google Acquires Wildfire

Wildfire is social media marketing company with 16,000 customers across a wide variety of brands. Companies use Wildfire to create social assets, like customized Facebook apps, and drive user engagement through social media marketing campaigns. As part of their suite of tools they offer engagement metrics and analytics designed to let marketers optimize their messaging for the best results.

Given that Wildfire has said they will continue to operate just as they always have, that means Google now has access to an unprecedented amount of data about how users engage with brands across social platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and especially Facebook.

To be able to see how consumers use these services is an inside look at how these services work, and a unique vantage point for Google to predict new product developments based on current reactions, success, and feedback. After all, imagine if Facebook could see inside the social graph of Google+: they’d be able to copy what works there, while avoiding obvious pitfalls.

Perhaps this is Google’s strategy to try to beat Facebook at their own game by replicating what works at Facebook within Google+. Or maybe this is a vote of no-confidence in Google+ as executives realize they need to own social and their own network just isn’t going to cut it.  Either way, Google just learned even more about you – and your potential customers.

VIDEO: On @HLNtv I answer the burning question: Should I friend my kids on Facebook?

This morning, Robin Meade asked the question, “Should parents friend their kids on Facebook?” My answer? ABSOLUTELY! Just do me a favor — don’t ruin the kids conversations. You’ll just send them into online hiding if you do.

Kids today can be sneaky and they have some serious workarounds at their disposal, so I recommend a few steps you can take to better manage their computer usage:

–Put devices in your main living area. This isn’t the best way to monitor, but it’s better than them being in their room and out of view. Want the rest of my tips? Click here to read the whole article on!

Venmo To Vegas: A Simple, Free Way to Pay Your Friends and Associates

I’m at that age where everyone I know is getting married, and that means one thing: parties.  Specifically, for me as a guy this means bachelor parties, w00t!  So this week, according to Bing,  was the best time to book a July flight to Las Vegas because the prices would only go up.  No one likes to travel alone, so since my buddy Paul will be heading out to the same party we decided to fly together.

I hopped onto one of the “flight deal” sites and bought two round-trip tickets to Vegas with my credit card.  I told Paul over Gchat that I had booked our tickets, and asked him how he wanted to pay for his half.

“Do you use Venmo?”, he asked.

Well guess what? I do now!  Venmo is a simple, fun, and free way to pay your friends.  It took me less than 5 minutes to sign up with facebook, verify my bank account, and bill my friend for his part of our flight.   Read More

How to Advertise on Twitter

When I first heard about Twitter, I was skeptical.  However, I’ve really come around to it, and in some senses it has really come around to more pragmatic users.  Specifically, if you have ever wondered what it is that twitter can do for your business, especially something measurable and tangible, they have the answer to that question for you.  Over at their advertising blog they have announced a product aimed squarely at the small business market.

Last month, twitter partnered with American Express to offer its small business card members and merchants the chance to use Twitter advertising.  Initially, only a small group of had access, but access is expanding.

So what’s good about this? Read More

Could Going Social Save Your Life? Benefits of Social Media that You Might Not Think About

David Egger is Lead Marketing Manager for AT&T’s IRU (Individual Responsibility User) Mobility Programs. You can find more blog content from David and other experts on emerging technologies and mobile application on the AT&T Networking Exchange Blog. AT&T has sponsored the following blog post.

I’ve spent just about my entire life being the fat kid. Numerous crash diets, exercise regimens and scams have been tried over the years from the plausible to the ridiculous. I remember in 9th grade I tried eating nothing but sugar free jello for three weeks. That didn’t work out. In college I tried Atkins, and while I lost a bit of weight, the SAE house with its chicken wings, Marvin’s Garlic Cheeseburgers and school lunch pizza was far from conducive for a strict diet like that. Then I went on the road as an Account Executive for Apple’s Higher Education team, living out of Hampton Inns and on delivered pizza. Suddenly, I was 27 years old and 350 pounds.

I knew it was my fault, I just never had the willpower or motivation to make the real change happen. Everyone has felt this way about one thing or another, whether it’s losing weight, building a new website or mobile app for your business, or just needing to make a load of sales calls.

So there I was, 27, about to finish my MBA and so big that I was pushing the limits of Men’s Wearhouse’s big and tall department. Then I discovered RunKeeper, a mobile app and website that lets you easily track your physical activities. Read More