Ascent of the social-media climbers

By Beth Teitell

Globe Staff 


After Valentina Monte accepts a date, the Boston University junior quickly goes online to see how many Twitter followers her suitor has. She checks her own follower count three times a day. When she meets someone who admits to following more people than follow him, she judges. “That means you’re a loser.’’


So when her Klout score hit an impressive 59 out of 100 recently, making it almost as high as Jay Leno’s score of 65, she was ecstatic. “I felt worthy.’’

Klout score? Learn it or, as Monte would say, be judged. Klout.com is one of a number of new status-measuring tools aimed at making social networking more like high school than it already is. Sites such as Klout and PeerIndex.net take public information from Twitter, and sometimes Facebook and LinkedIn, to determine a person’s influence on social media. Anyone can check her score or a rival’s by going to one of the sites and putting in her Twitter handle.

The companies use secret algorithms that go beyond simple numbers of followers — which can be bought in bulk — or friends or fans, and count retweets, the number of links clicked, and even how influential one’s followers are, among other indicators.

“A credit score for your reputation,’’ is how Dave Wieneke, director of digital marketing at Sokolove Law, in Boston, describes the Klout score.

Although many don’t know enough to worry about their Klout scores, for those keeping track, it can be one more ego boost or slap. “There’s a lot of emotion around this,’’ said Mark Schaefer, author of the “Tao of Twitter: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time.’’ “Generally it comes from people who have a low Klout score.’’

Garth Holsinger, vice president of global sales and business development at the San Francisco-based Klout, sees the desperation on a daily basis. “People call and say, ‘I work in social media, and I’m going to lose my job if my score doesn’t rise.’ We get celebrity managers asking how they can get their clients’ scores higher. We get people who are literally crying because their Klout score went down.’’

The stakes may only rise, Klout-wise. The company, which was founded in 2008, recently raised $8.5 million in new funding and said it plans to measure influence in more social networks — and beyond, to capture industry leaders who don’t bother tweeting or friending people.

Schaefer, an adjunct professor of marketing at Rutgers University, said the new score-keeping tools create a “disturbing’’ social media caste system that he dislikes. But, he adds, “from a marketer’s standpoint, they’re a dream.’’

Read The Rest Of The Boston Globe Article

9 Steps to Getting Hired in Today’s Digital World

Step 1: Analyze Your Online Presence
Search for yourself in Google. What do you find? Is there anything unprofessional? Are there any search results for other individuals who share your name that could potentially harm your job search?
Recommended resource: Vizibility
Comb through your social networking profiles. Take down anything that would be inappropriate for an employer to see, including photos, videos, notes, wall posts, offensive language, etc. Don’t rely on privacy settings to protect your content—clean it up!
Recommended resource: MyWebCareer
Step 2: Get Your Marketing Documents in Shape
Think of your cover letter, resume and other documents during your job search as marketing documents. What are they marketing? You.
Your cover letter is the first thing a hiring manager will see. It should be more personable than your resume. Use it to convey your passion and interest for the job and to concisely state why you are a good match. Always make it about what you can do for the company—and customize each cover letter in your job search.
Your resume is the driving force in landing you an interview with the hiring manager. It should be concise, tailored to the job opening, and convey how your skills and expertise fit the job description. Only include experience that directly relates to the open position.
Your business cards make you look like a professional. They also come in handy while networking. Be sure to include on them your name, title or area of expertise, e-mail address, phone number(s) and website or blog address.
Step 3: Join & Engage in Professional & Social Networking Communities
It’s often not what you know but who you know (and who knows you) that lands you the job. During and before your job search, join professional and social networking communities in order to meet new people, build mutually beneficial relationships and strengthen connections with contacts.
Step 4: Create an Online Portfolio
In today’s online world of personal brands, you need to stand out by having your own website to showcase your work. No matter what your field, a portfolio can help you land a job if it’s done correctly.
Find out if your personal domain name is for sale and buy it. Begin building a portfolio on a site that you’re comfortable using – make sure to include an “about me” page, excellent portfolio pieces, and a “contact me” page.
Step 5: Start a Blog
Blogging is a great activity to boost your job search and increase your visibility. Not only are most employers impressed when you have a blog, but you become easier to find online and build up your professional network in the process.
Important steps in starting a blog:

  • Choose a blogging software
  • Decide on a topic
  • Create a blogging plan
  • Think about how you’ll publicize your content
  • Start writing!

‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Jobless’

Shira Hirschman Weiss

Last Thursday, the Labor Department released data stating that the number of new unemployment applications is at its lowest since July 2008. While this indicates the economy is picking up speed, the news can either be a beacon of hope or salt rubbed into wounds for the presently unemployed. Faith is in a precarious perch for the religious and jobless. While some become despondent from repeated rejection and thwarted efforts, others cling to faith and turn fervently to prayer.

Deirdre McEachern is a career coach who says she sees clients “whose faith has been enhanced and re-affirmed by the job hunt.” One of those clients, Jennifer Bindhammer, was a flight attendant with United in September 2011. “She came to me in early 2002 re-evaluating her life,” explains McEachern. “We worked together for several months and in the process she reconnected strongly with her personal faith. Once she deciphered her life purpose, she felt as if God was opening doors for her — helpful coincidences kept appearing — like the sign she spotted on a subway platform advertising an MBA program.” This literal and figurative ‘sign’ led the flight attendant to pursue her MBA.

In the process of contemplating the switch to a corporate profession, Bindhammer — no stranger to the friendly skies — turned to the heavens. “I enjoyed flying and I enjoyed my job, she writes in a testimonial, “It just wasn’t the challenge that I wanted it to be, and realized that I needed to be challenged. When I thought about changing careers, I prayed about it — I actively prayed.”

Bindhammer followed her passion, received her MBA and kept praying. She is now working with an international air transport consultancy that focuses on aviation.

While the former flight attendant’s faith was reaffirmed, Fiona (not her real name) reflects on how she sunk into a deep depression when she was laid off from a Public Relations start-up during the late 90s “dot bomb” era. She stopped praying and began spending Friday nights at local bars instead of the synagogue. She could have benefitted from an organization like Project Ezrah, had it been around at the time. The North Jersey based organization was founded in 2001 to aid members of the Jewish community (and now helps Jews and non-Jews alike) who were suffering from the hardships of unemployment.

Rabbi Yossie Stern, Executive Director of Project Ezrah, has seen individuals like Fiona who have been turned off to the synagogue experience, who are angry with God, and who are depressed about their situation to the point of losing faith. His organization has put together programs to help those who feel despondent. Notably, it developed initiatives to professionally retrain unemployed baby boomers.

“When your brother is impoverished, you have to be able to empower him to be self sufficient,” he explains, “The highest form of charity is being able to afford someone a job, to help him achieve the same sense of self-esteem and quality of life that you have.” His organization provides a wide range of services including a popular job board, career counseling services, financial counseling, mental health counseling, job training, and “in the box and out of the box services. We try to provide it all,” Stern says. There is also a LinkedIn group that includes seminars on how to use social networking to find a career and much more. “We empower people to network, which is the best way to find employment.”

Fiona eventually found her way back to a public relations career and to the synagogue, but admits that she felt at odds with her faith when things were uncertain: “I didn’t feel it was God’s fault,” she explains, “It was related to a sudden, dark depression, which came about from my unemployment.” And which, she admits, also may have been related to the fact that she was in a bad relationship at the time. “When life is unstable, it contributes to the instability of unemployment.” Rabbi Stern stresses that it is critical that spouses be encouraging and not place blame due to unemployment. He emphasizes that a support system and building of confidence is essential to one’s job hunt.

While Fiona received counseling for her depression, she realized she needed to make significant efforts to find a new job. “The Hebrew word Hishtadlut kept flashing through my head,” she says. Hishtadlut means that one must make their own efforts. It relates to the universal concept of “God only helps those who help themselves.”

Read the rest of the Huffington Post article

Social Media 101, 202, 303: Self-guided training

By Cassandra Nicholson

These three sessions deal with a social media basic introduction, tips for journalists to use social media as a research tool, and strategies for cutting through the clutter of social media.
The free Webinar series, “Social Media 101, 202 and 303,” was originally held Feb. 8-10, 2011. At the bottom of this page, you’ll find self-guided training links.
Robin J. Phillips, Web managing editor at BusinessJournalism.org, presented these three Webinars. Each session provided tips for business journalists in need of jump-starting their social media initiatives, both personally and professionally. The sessions are designed to help someone with a specific level of experience with social media. But feel free to take any one or all three.

  • SOCIAL MEDIA 101: The basics for social media newbies
  • SOCIAL MEDIA 202: Tips for reporters about using social media sites as research tools
  • SOCIAL MEDIA 303: Filtering to contain the clutter

SOCIAL MEDIA 101:
How do you get started? Should you create both a personal and a professional account on Facebook? On Twitter? Can you join LinkedIn if you aren’t looking for a job? How do you find people to follow? How do you get people to follow you?
Don’t worry about it. Phillips will walk you through the basics of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. She’ll help you get started.
SOCIAL MEDIA 202: How social media can make you a better business journalist.
So you have a LinkedIn page and have been on Facebook and Twitter since the election. What now? Phillips will show you ways to:

  • turn social media tools into databases to help find local stories and sources,
  • distribute your content and track whether people are reading your links,
  • connect with your community,
  • find out what real-time conversation is happening about issues on your beat,
  • take part in that conversation, and
  • use Twitter lists to help you track what people are saying.

This session will also cover ethics, standards of practice and practical tips on using sources that you find on the Web.
SOCIAL MEDIA 303: Cutting through the clutter.
Most everyone hits a point where the information coming in on social media tools begins to feel overwhelming. It can become difficult to know what information is important, what’s worth spending time on, what links are worth clicking on, what articles worth reading.
Phillips will show you tools that help filter, ways to set up keyword searches, tactics for juggling your social media profiles.

Links To The Trainings

9 ways to reconnect with LinkedIn pals who change jobs

By Joan



When your LinkedIn connections change jobs, that’s the perfect time to reconnect.
But you might not always be aware of the fact that a guy you know left one company and joined another, or that a former co-worker was laid off from her job in corporate and started her own business.
That’s why I love the helpful photo chart that LinkedIn emailed me this morning with the subject line, “Joan, 245 connections changed jobs in 2010.  Did you reconnect?”

Chart showing photos of Joan Stewart's LinkedIn connections who've changed jobs

That got me thinking, how can I use this chart?
Here are nine ways to reconnect:

  1. Send one of your connections a personal email on LinkedIn acknowledging their job change and wishing them well in their new position this year.
       
  2. Write a recommendation for one or more people whose work you admire. But before you write it, email them, tell them what you want to do and ask if there’s a particular aspect of their work they’d like you to comment on. A keynote speaker, for example, might want you to comment on his excellent platform skills and his value to audiences and meeting planners.
      
  3. Reconnect by asking about their favorite LinkedIn groups.
      
  4. If you see that they use the Amazon reading app on their profile, ask a question about one of the books they’re reading, or a book they want to read.
     
  5. Offer to help them—for free. Everybody’s sick to death of being blasted by free commercials. So encourage your connections to call on you if they need help with (fill in the blank). Offering free advice positiions you as helpful, approachable and smart.
     
  6. Comment on something you see in her profile and ask her a question about it.

10 Ways to Enhance Your Facebook Clout

JD Lasica

Most people use Facebook for personal reasons: to maintain contacts, stay in touch with friends who live far away or to stay on top of one’s social life. Only 15 percent of us use it to maintain professional or work contacts, according to a 2010 survey by ExactTarget. Some people turn to professional networking sites like LinkedIn or A Small World for professional networking.
But for many of us, our professional and personal lives intersect and blend in deep ways — and this is the new multidimensional public identity we display to the world. That mashup of the professional + the personal is likely to grow, as Facebook rolls out new communications features and now lets you segment your friends into lists and groups, like family, co-workers or professional colleagues.
How can you get more mileage out of your Facebook presence? As it routinely does, Facebook declined requests to comment about how its EdgeRank ranking system for news feeds works. So a parlor game of sorts has emerged — a distant cousin of Kremlinology that combines rigorous analysis with a fair amount of guesswork. Whether you call it Facebookology or News Feed Optimization or “building edge,” it’s more art than science.
Let’s play, shall we? Here are our recommendations on how to become more visible in your friends’ feeds — helping you gain greater traction, influence and clout on Facebook:

1. Find the right vehicle for your professional voice

On Facebook, you need to find the right balance of business and personal and decide what works for you. Several of my friends have created Pages for themselves — not their businesses, but their personal brands. For example, nonprofit strategist Beth Kanter has a Profile page and a public figure Page for her writing and work in the field, while Chris Brogan manages to do both on his Profile page. Note that personal Profiles are limited to 5,000 friends while Pages have no limit. You should decide what’s right for you. If you use Facebook for personal interactions with your family, you’ll want to create a separate Page for your professional identity. Remember: Creating a second personal account violates Facebook’s Terms of Service and, if you represent a business, nonprofit or organization, you should be reaching out to people with your Facebook Page, not your personal Profile.

2. Segment smarter

FB-friends-lists-feeds
You needn’t be captive to Facebook’s two main news feeds, Top News and Most Recent. Create Facebook Friend Lists and browse updates from contacts you target in your industry or sector. Create a Friend List by following these steps, then head over to the Most Recent link (pictured above), click it, then click the down arrow to reveal the feeds of the lists you’ve created. (Can this be any more well-hidden?) Your Friend List updates will appear with most recent posts at the top — a subset of your Most Recent feed. Although Facebook’s Home page remembers whether you chose Top News or Most Recent on your previous visit, it doesn’t remember the Friend List you chose, so you must choose it each time you load the Most Recent view.

3. Choose quality over quantity

One or two strong Facebook updates per day is better than a half dozen scattershot updates that fly by and don’t have the staying power to attract people’s feedback. One social media “expert” at a recent Barcamp said you need to have at least 20 updates a day per Page to get into a News Feed — that’s patently false (though it may be good advice for Twitter). Dan Zarrella, author of “The Facebook Marketing Book,” even suggests that posting just once every other day may get the best results. You want your updates to be sticky so that you jump-start conversations. Quality doesn’t mean an essay-length post. Save that for your blog — and write a short update linking to it. Or if you don’t have a blog, you can write a Facebook Note. Be selective about what you post: Don’t post a status update every time you mow the lawn. Include links to stories that are interesting, remarkable, sexy, funny or newsworthy, and include an image if possible. By stoking user engagement, Facebook will reward you for making people spend more time on Facebook.

4. Say it with the right media

Here’s the most important secret about building up more authority on Facebook: A lot of it has to do with what tools you choose. Upload videos, check in with Facebook Places, share some photos — hitting the Like button isn’t enough. It appears that Facebook assigns the most weight, or value, to these kinds of content types, roughly in this order:

embedding videos on Facebook

To embed a video on Facebook, enter the url, attach, then add a description and share.

  1. Video. Facebook puts its finger on the scale whenever you share a video that you’ve uploaded to Facebook. With Facebook members sharing than 10 million videos a month (as of mid-2010), the company believes that multimedia increases engagement and time spent on the site. With options to record video with a webcam or upload a video from your computer, Facebook makes it super-easy to post a video. YouTube viewing is robust as well. A YouTube group product manager wrote the other day: “over 150 years worth of YouTube video is watched on Facebook every day.” (See above for how to embed a Vimeo or YouTube video on Facebook.) Does sharing a link to a YouTube video or embedding a YouTube video bump up your visibility? Yes. Does it count as much as uploading a video to Facebook? Nobody outside of Facebook knows — and Facebook isn’t saying.
  2. Facebook Places updates. If you’re a mobile power jock, you already have gotten into the habit of checking in with Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook Places. You can use Places on touch.facebook.com or the Facebook app for iPhone, Android, CrackBerry and other smartphones. Facebook sometimes tweaks its algorithm to give more weight to updates in its newer services, and so it’s now awarding extra juice to members using geolocation updates — a wise business decision given our increasingly mobile society. Chad Wittman, founder of social media management firm SBN, says, “Facebook Places definitely has a heavier weight than competitors” such as Foursquare and Gowalla, whose members’ check-ins carry little weight on Facebook.
  3. Photos and photo tagging. The next best way to elevate your Facebook juju is to upload photos to the site. Facebook members today upload more than 4 billion photos per month, making Facebook by far the largest photo sharing site on the Web. Does cross-posting to Facebook using an app like Posterous, Tumblr or Flickr bump up members’ visibility as much as uploading photos directly? Probably not. Says Facebook strategist Wittman: “We see more interaction with true Facebook applications such as Photos. We definitely see a bigger EdgeRank value for Facebook Photo uploads as opposed to Flickr uploads. Photo albums most likely experience on average higher EdgeRank values due to three times more exposure on the feed — three thumbnails vs. one.” One thing’s for certain: Adding a photo tag will immediately get your photo noticed, assuming the person is one of your friends or you have her email address.
  4. Share. Fascinating as you are, it’s not all about you. Use the Share button to share interesting updates from friends and Pages you follow. But don’t overdo it, and be sure to add your own personal twist or insightful, provocative observations. “An object created in Facebook — that is, sharing another user’s update — should weigh at least equally to, if not greater than, linking externally,” Wittman says.
  5. Link. Use the Link option to share content from the open Web, adding your own distinctive take on the subject, of course. According to an experiment by the Daily Beast, there was no practical difference in results between directing users to an external site vs. embedding YouTube videos on your Facebook Page. So Facebook doesn’t reward people just for staying within its walled garden. But does Facebook prefer links that you share directly on the site over links posted via third-party apps like Tweetdeck, Ping.fm and HootSuite? Facebook won’t say! But Wittman draws this conclusion: “Recently I’ve started to believe that links posted via third party apps inherently have lower weight. I just don’t see how they couldn’t. One thing naturally working against third party apps is the Top News feed auto-hiding updates in close proximity to each other from the same app. I find this to be direct evidence that the Top News feed ultimately punishes third party apps.”
  6.  Status updates & Wall posts. What riveting things are you up to? Be sure to let your friends know.
  7. Comments. If items you post attract comments from a few friends, it raises your visibility overall, particularly mutual friends. Comment in a helpful, friendly, engaging way. Add value. Just remember, it’s a process — you build up authority a little bit at a time, not overnight.
  8. Likes. Like away — it’s an incredibly powerful tool. Use it for news articles on outside sites that sport a Like button, on updates, even comments. Using lots of Likes doesn’t mean you’ll appear in others’ news feeds, but it will begin to solidify your reputation as a peer and supporter. Don’t be stingy about passing out Likes in your own comment threads. When you Like the comments of the people who chime in on your postings, you potentially draw them back to the thread (by sending them a notification), helping to keep it alive and growing, and you also encourage them to comment on your postings in the future. Adds Dave Awl, author of Facebook Me! (new second edition): “Although I can’t prove this, my sense is that Likes in the comment thread count as edges [EdgeRank juice] for the posting itself — so passing out those warm fuzzies may also be an easy way to add edges.” AllFacebook reported in July that 65 million Facebook users Like something every day, and the numbers have doubtless mushroomed since then. By the way, you’re ostensibly limited to a total of 500 Likes, though Facebook doesn’t enforce this rule.

5. Interact!

It’s not all about creating great content. Facebook rewards interaction. If there are certain friends or brands you’d like to see appear in your Top News feed, post comments on their Profile or Page and Like their updates and soon you’ll see their updates appear in your feed, regardless of whether they respond. To lure them into interacting — so that your updates appear in their Top News feed — use a wide range of conversational techniques: Educate, inform, entertain, be funny and engaging, say “thank you.” Be patient, this can take some time to show results.

Tips 6 – 10 and Complete B2C Article