Brian Shaler

Occasionally Interesting

Gravity is for chumps

Archive for March, 2008

Calculating Your Value on Twitter

There are several ways you can calculate your value on Twitter. The method with the most merit does not include the number of people you’re following OR the number of people who are following you. The latter seems to be the obvious way to gauge someone’s value. If people subscribe to your updates, then you must be worth listening to. Unfortunately, I think the best proof to the contrary is my own Twitter account. According to some lists, I am currently the 13th most-followed user on Twitter, where there are over 14 million registered accounts (but probably only about 1 million active users.. Wait, did I say “only”?).

Choose an adjective: funny, interesting, thoughtful, intriguing, fascinating, entertaining, etc. No matter which adjective you choose, I guarantee I am not in the top 0.000001 percentile of people. I think it is fair to say that this is reasonable evidence that the number of people following someone does not correlate to the value of the information they provide.

Robert Scoble recently wrote about the value of the number of people you follow, and how he thinks it is more important of a metric than the number of people who follow you. I definitely do not disagree with the importance of listening to many sources (I even wrote about and agree with Sean Tierney’s thoughts on people who subscribe to many RSS feeds). However, the number itself is not a metric of the value of one’s content. Anyone, especially uninteresting people, can follow thousands of users on Twitter.

The Real Metric

These numbers obviously mean very little when it comes to measuring the content of a Twitter user. There is, however, a way that I believe you can. The value of a Twitter user is in the amount, depth, and breadth of interaction with other Twitter users. Users who start global conversations and provoke discussion from others seem to have the most value. For people who need a concrete method of tallying this can start by performing searches on a given user’s Twitter name using tools like Tweet Scan.

Still, it is not as simple as counting the number of replies. For example, social media princess “iJustine” could post on Twitter that she is eating ice cream and receive dozens of replies. The replies that matter are ones that include thoughtful commentary, progression on the topic, or even redistributing the thought to one’s own followers. It is also important to see the user in question engaging in conversation with the people who are replying. When Twitter is treated like a distribution mechanism for a user to push messages to fans, the user loses value.

While quantity of interaction will definitely be on the side of the highly-followed users, it is easy for users closer to the average to carry on meaningful discussions with a diverse group of users. I personally think there are many, many users with between 100 and 1,000 followers that have much more value in their thoughts and conversations than the majority of the top 100 most-followed users.

Photography Video Tutorial – Daring LA Rooftop Photoshoot

It would be great to accompany this video with a screencast of the post-production, which is definitely at least 50% of the work for a photo like this. Unfortunately, that would be additional time for a project that took over 4 months to wrap up as-is. Yesterday, I finally edited and posted footage from November of Adam Nollmeyer of Acme Photography and myself taking photos from a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles.

The resulting photo:

Los Angles Downtown Panoramic City Skyline Photography

Impromptu, Unsanctioned “Social Media Breakfast” in San Francisco

It is Friday, and I am half-way through my March trip to San Francisco. I made sure my return flight is Saturday night so I have all day Saturday to hang out with people I know in the area and meet some new people.

I missed the first Social Media Breakfast in Phoenix, AZ, and noticed that San Francisco was not listed as a SMB city. I figured Saturday morning would be a great time to try it out!

8:30am-10:30am Saturday, March 22nd, 2008
Town’s End Restaurant & Bakery
2 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA

To RSVP, go to the Upcoming event: (You can still show up if you don’t RSVP, but if we can’t get a bigger table at the last minute…. Oh well..)

Here is a map: Town’s End Restaurant & Bakery

Breakfast is on me (within reason, like $20 each) for the top 3 most-followed Twitter users who show up. Ideally, we’ll verify by sending a text message from your phone to 40404 (Twitter) with “stats” and see what number it returns. It’s a good way to verify that you own the account and that we are comparing the latest stats on your account.

Some People Don’t Like Brian Shaler

Special thanks to Andrew Hyde, Brent Spore, Daniel Burka, Gary Vaynerchuk, Willo O’Brien, Jim Long, Justine Ezarik, Joshua Strebel, Ward Andrews, Marcus Nelson, Rob Sandie, Matt Mullenweg, and Thor Müller for not holding back!

Who Are You?

Believe it or not, that was a rhetorical question.

Personal branding has always been around. During the last decade, we have experienced the birth and rise of technology that will change personal branding. This technology is social media. Social media has completely changed the games of branding, marketing, and networking.

Everyone should examine this shift and figure out how it affects them. Everyone needs to develop a plan and a new set of goals built around the utilization of social media for personal branding, marketing, and networking.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Today I watched a video of Gary Vaynerchuk giving a talk at Strategic Profits Live 08 on personal branding and what he calls a Gold Rush. “You can hit big. You can be a maven in your field.” In the wine world, Gary is a celebrity, thanks to the success of his web site Wine Library TV. Who would have thought a web site about wine would land its host on network talk shows? If Gary can do this within the wine industry, what’s to keep you from doing it in your own industry?

Douglas Welch

In December, I had lunch in Pasadena with Douglas Welch, who I met at PodCamp AZ the month before. We had a long talk about the subject of personal branding, and he uses an excellent phrase to describe the movement, “2008: The Year of Visibility“. You want and need to be seen. This involves creating a brand for yourself and marketing it (yourself).

For social media to go mainstream, a small number of sites had to become extremely successful (e.g. Myspace, Facebook). During the next few years, we will continue to see diversification of the social media space. What does that mean? That means there will be many smaller sites instead of few large sites. It means sites will focus on a niche and become popular for certain groups of people.

In addition to his success in personal branding, Gary Vaynerchuk has a clear view of this shift in the social media space because it is happening today around him. Look at Cork’d. It is a social network focused on wine. Even if you have never heard of Cork’d, you can probably answer the following question correctly: “Who, at the time of this writing, has 1,100 friends on Cork’d?”

Yes. Gary Vaynerchuk.

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