Posts Tagged: Measurement

What Can My Lack of Expertise in Waffle House Tell Us About Lazy Metrics?

Image from Wall Street Journal

As many of you know, I’m writing a book about metrics for John Wiley and Sons Publishing called Social Media Metrics for Dummies. What you may not know is the struggle I’ve had trying to figure out how to address the issue of services offering incomplete metrics that become some kind of standard for folks too lazy (or, to be fair, too pressed for time) to do much deep-diving on their own. Things like Klout, for example.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know what Klout is trying to do, I think. And they have adjusted their algorithm a number of times. My score was a 79 in the beginning (until I spent less time online, when it dropped to 72). It hovered at 69 through several more algorithm changes until it now is resting in the 56 or 57 range after the latest one. What bugs me about Klout is that it isn’t a complete metric. It doesn’t tell you anything about the person except, conceivably, how noisy they are on various services.

I’ll use myself as an example. This morning I finally “hid” a topic that Klout has dubbed me as “influential” in for two+ months now: Waffle House. I like Waffle House and all, but I don’t live near one, and I don’t go visit them when I travel. How did I get “influential” about it? Doing a little digging, it seems it began when I shared a tweet from a WSJ article several weeks ago about the Waffle House disaster plan and Waffle House trailer offices – how they handle natural disasters and get their stores open quickly with limited menus where possible to be a local source of food and comfort, and also how they use their online presence to spread the word.

By a sheer coincidence of timing, that tweet got re-tweeted a gazillion times and picked up on several Tumblr blogs*, entering the Tumblr share network. Shortly after that, it emerged as a topic I’m influential on in Klout, never having discussed it before or since. Now you tell me: is that an accurate measurement? I should be influential in a variety of things, like hockey, music, food, wine, football, mma, film, politics and other things I discuss and have deep conversations about frequently (none of which show up) or in social media, content marketing and emerging media (which do show up).

*To me, my “influence” in Waffle House was a better measurement of TUMBLR’s influence than mine. I don’t have a Tumblr blog, but those who did caused most of the impact. To not take into account deep conversation and conversions over noise indicates a failing on the part of Klout and narrow metrics like it. I’m sure they are working to address it – it’s plain they want to be the go-to metric source for measuring influence – but they have a long way to go (not to mention other problems with privacy and trust issues and some nefarious practices to solve first).

In the book, Klout gets a relatively positive mention, but with the double caveat of “use with caution” and “not intended as your sole metrics solution”. If the folks at Klout would like to have a conversation with me about this and discuss case studies or what they are working toward, I’d love to. I like to keep an open mind.

Meanwhile, if you want to put understanding your Klout on steroids, have a look at this nifty data set from always-insightful Chris Penn. It will rock your socks. Also, I’d love to hear what goofy thing Klout thinks you are influential in.

Aside: Single focus metrics options that show a more complete picture could include Smarterer, by the way. I really like where they are headed and hope they soon integrate with LinkedIn and other services. Disclosure: I wrote the bulk of their Twitter test and edited it during their private beta phase, though it’s now open to public edit.

SMBNH 9: Tracking Success

NOTE: THE EVENT IS ON February 19, 2010.

Ticket sales end on 2/18 in the evening. Do not confuse the Eventbrite ticket end date with the event date!


This month’s Social Media Breakfast is brought to you by Magnitude Media, DimDim, and New Heights of New Hampshire, with breakfast sponsors Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Carpe Diem Coffee.

You already know about us, since we are the breakfast maestro each month, and DimDim, who handles the periodic live casting of the breakfasts (note: this breakfast will not be live cast). Let me tell you a bit about our venue:

We’re excited to have New Heights – Adventures for Teens donating space at their Portsmouth Facility (we’ll be in the gym). If you’re not familiar with New Heights – Adventures for Teens, their mission is:

To assist Seacoast youth to develop the competence, character, confidence, and resiliency necessary for a healthy and successful adulthood.

Thanks to Salina McIntire of the Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce for helping with introductions to the venue team and sponsor this month!


Theme for the 9th Social Media Breakfast: Tracking Success

The ninth Social Media Breakfast NH (hashtag #smbnh) will be all about topics related to Tracking Success in Social Media. In this struggling economy and shifting paradigm we need to be working together to be more successful and better weather the storm. We should be pulling in all aspects of technology, new media, old media and social media to succeed. This meeting will help us lay the foundation for a richer, better education, tech and new media community in NH.

In addition to Leslie Poston (myself), who will be your host and MC for the morning, you will have three speakers giving three brief presentations on topics relating to the theme for the morning.


Opening Remarks by Leslie Poston (SMBNH founder)

Welcome Remarks by Wayne Moulton of New Heights

Sponsor Remarks by Grant from Portsmouth Regional Hospital

Maria Simos (@mesimos), CEO of, will talk about finding, measuring and analyzing econ data online.

Wayne Kurtzman (@waynenh), Senior Marketing Analyst at Hello Direct, will talk about the future of analytics, including augmented reality and more.

KD Paine, founder of KD Paine & Partners and often called the “Goddess of Measurement”, well known around the country for her knowledge on the topic, will be speaking on measurement in an online world.

This is going to be a great breakfast!

Social Media Breakfast History

On seeing growing demand in this area, I decided to fill the need with a new branch of the nationwide Social Media Breakfast in NH. It isn’t that we don’t love Boston, because we do, but our neighbor to the north is rich in technology and social media, and often overlooked when events are planned. I saw a need for networking opportunities that were easier to get to for the northern tech and social media crowd, and decided to step up and fill it. Because NH itself is a diverse and scattered state, the Social Media Breakfast there will be just a little bit different than the one in Cambridge/Boston. Our first meeting was in January 2009, and was a roaring success.

What is a Social Media Breakfast?

From the official description: The Social Media Breakfast was founded by Bryan Person in August 2007 as an event where social media experts and newbies alike come together to eat, meet, share, and learn. Marketers, PR pros, entrepreneurs, bloggers, podcasters, new-media fanatics, and online social networkers are all welcome to attend.

The breakfast series began in Boston and has now spread to more than a dozen cities throughout the United States and around the world.

How will the Social Media Breakfast in NH be different?

The main difference between Social Media Breakfast NH and other SMBs will be all-inclusiveness. I do not want only social media people and companies to attend, I also want technology types, programmers, coders, tech writers, tech companies and more to attend. As a state that is rich in technology but scattered in distance, I think the best networking and connection making effect will be achieved by combined our different cultures. You never know, as a social media type you might just meet the coder you’ve been looking for to create your dream project if we all come together to connect and to learn from each other!


Let’s make SMBNH crackle with energy and success! See you there!

PodCamp 4 Session: False Metrics vs Real ROI

Tom Beach of TRB Designs came to my session on False Metrics vs Real ROI at PodCamp 4 in Boston and made a video of it for the internet, in which he embedded my slides. I love the participation throughout, but especially at the end with the interaction between Chris, myself, the rest of the participants and Kat (we were encouraging her to stop selling herself short and get out there to get known for her expertise). I had intended to reserve the slides for the attendees, but since they are out there now, here you go, Tom’s recording of my session, broken into two parts for YouTube: