The Day I Broke the Twitters

Yesterday, Twitter had a well-publicized downage, causing many discombobulated social media addicts to step away from their smartphones and catch a rare glimpse of that yellow ball of hot light in the sky. Needless to say, #whiletwitterwasdown quickly became a trending topic and speculation was rampant about how and why such a devastating “epic fail” could happen.

While the official story is that the two-hour outage was caused by a “noteworthy” double failure in Twitter’s data center, I can smell a ruse a mile away. You see, friends, Twitter’s data center is functioning perfectly. I know this because I know what really happened.

Twitter is covering up the real culprit: me.

Yesterday morning I tweeted a note about JC Penny’s Foursquare promotion that will donate $1 to the USO for every check-in through July 31. As you’d expect when social media titans collide (a major retailer, the world’s largest location-based application, a nationally-renowned charity and yours truly), the ReTweets came faster and furiouser than a Vin Diesel car chase.

That’s 32 (and counting) RTs in one day! Though I have no quantitative proof, I have it under good authority that I smashed Twitter’s RT record. The people from the Guinness Book are on their way over. Mr. Ripley has left several voicemails. I’m kind of a big deal.

In all seriousness, one seemingly innocuous tweet reached nearly 50,000 people, which *is* a big deal for someone with “only” 582 followers. While my tweet was merely intended to call attention to the meeting of two subjects about which I am passionate (social media and philanthropy), my name, brand and ideas were suddenly in front of thousands. Pretty cool, huh?

The takeaway is that whether you believe Twitter is a broadcast medium, a two-way conversation mechanism or simply the quickest way to stay in touch with what’s happening around our increasingly small world, using it to share your passions – while sourcing your content and giving shout-outs as appropriate – can yield surprising benefits. I’ve picked up a bunch of new followers in the past day (approximately 2% of my total followers). And, let’s not forget, the huge Klout bump I could expect from having my Tweet shared all over the interwebs.

What’s that? My Klout score decreased 0.15 since yesterday? Stupid Klout…

NAUGHTY OR NICE: Listing Your Klout Score on Your Resume

Note: this week, I’ll be examining trends in social media and/or philanthropy and attributing a “naughty” or “nice” rating to them. This is the first of my five reviews.

These days, you don’t have to troll much on the internet to find someone ranting about Klout. Though it was widely well received upon launch, an increasing number of critics are popping about of the woodwork, declaring the online influence metric unethical and even opting out of the rating system. Still, as long as research points to a clear correlation between high Klout scores and CTR, page views, inbound links, etc, it’s safe to say the controversial service isn’t disappearing anytime soon.

Since I try to update my resume annually (even when I’m happily employed), I recently considered adding my modest Klout score to the standard name, address, contact information section. I already list my LinkedIn custom URL, which I know has been accessed by prospective employers in the past. Why not, I wondered, also let hiring managers know that I have been independently rated as having an “above average” online influence?

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one pondering that question, because last week I stumbled upon the #happo (Help a PR Pro Out) Twitter chat and the “Klout on the resume” issue was raised. To my surprise, it seemed like the majority of chatters thought listing one’s Klout score on a resume was a bad idea…and a few people went so far as to suggest it could hurt a prospect chances to secure an interview or get hired.

Why the overwhelming sentiment against Klout?

After reading his Tweets, I engaged Arik Hanson to get some answers. Arik, whose website offers some excellent PR content, was kind enough to simplify his take into this 140-character bite: “[Klout] A) is not entirely reputable/credible, B) screams “look at how cool I am”, and C) has little/nothing to do w/job performance.”

I pressed Arik further, asking him if his opinion would change if he were hiring for a job that required social media savvy (a community manager, for example). Wouldn’t a Klout score then be a good metric for evaluating applicants? Arik said that, for him, it still would not be valuable…but he deferred to Amber Naslund for her expert advice.

Amber, a social strategist and author, confirmed Arik’s take. She explained that “Community management success does not equal volume of activity, which is what [Klout] tracks.”

Since the Klout debate has only just begun, and early public opinion seems to be decidedly against, I have decided to forgo the addition of my score on my 2012 resume.

So if you’re keeping score at home, kiddos, listing your Klout score on your resume? That’s NAUGHTY.

What do you think? Has anyone had any positive or negative experiences listing a Klout score on his or her resume? So far, I’ve only heard about theoretical…but I’d love to know if anyone stumbled across this in real life.

Stop back tomorrow for an examination of a thoroughly modern take on personalizing your business cards.

What’s Your Social Media Routine?

Growing up, my dad was a creature of habit. He would wake up and “liquidate his assets” for what seemed like a ridiculously long time. Then he’d go downstairs, turn on sports radio and eat a bowl of cereal with one-quarter of a sliced banana (yes, we had quartered bananas in saran wrap in our fridge on the daily). He’d go back upstairs, have his daily constitutional, then get dressed and head off to work.

Why am I sharing details about my father’s internal waste management system? For some reason, I thought of him today after launching into my morning routine…a routine that revolves largely around social media.

When the alarm clock goes off, I hit snooze and get back in bed. The nine minutes of silence are usually enough time to check the overnight Twitter updates on my phone (I fave the Tweets I want to read in detail later). The second alarm gets me up and dressed to walk the dog, during which time I check out Facebook. After a shower, I get on my laptop to peruse sites not ideally viewed on my iPhone. This includes viewing my favorite daily deal sites (woot and shirt.woot), as well as checking out my Klout score and any new perks that may have popped up.

(Quick tangent that may be better served as its own blog post: how effing addictive is Klout? And why do I even care about the rating I’ve been given by some arbitrary algorithm? And why am I obsessed with Klout perks? And why are perks often posted before being publicized, causing freaks like me to obsessively check to see if we’re eligible for free stuff?)

Every day. Wake up. Twitter. Walk the dog. Facebook. Shower. Laptop. Get dressed. Go to work. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Is my social media morning routine indicative of today’s hyper-connected world, a world in which I know more about people I follow on Twitter than people who live next door? It’s certainly possible that my borderline OCD behavior is unique…but I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m not alone in making social media the center of my daily habits.

What is your social media routine? Do you lie in bed on your Crackberry annoying your significant other, or is he/she busy furiously scrolling through messages at the same time? How often do you check back on social media sites throughout the day? How regularly do you post? And how do you manage the insanity of thriving in multiple virtual worlds without sacrificing output in the real one?

I’m truly curious to learn how social media has part of your daily routines…just feel free to leave out the “waste management” information.