Partly Klout(y) With a Chance of Reign

If you have Klout and you know it clap your hands.

If you have Klout and you know it clap your hands.

If you influence your friends, past your network it extends,

You’ve got Klout, now you know it, clap your hands.

Its really as simple as a nursery rhyme.   If you are an active member of the social media community, and your friends and followers respond to your actions, you have Klout; which means brands want to give you the royal treatment.

Klout: A website designed to measure influence online.

HOW IT WORKS

  • You link your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Youtube, WordPress, LinkedIn, etc…) to Klout’s site and it monitors action and reaction, based on algorithms it has created.
  • The site then gives you a score that measures influence based on your ability to drive action. Every time you create content or engage, you influence others.  It measures this in three ways:
  1. True Reach: How many people you influence
  2. Amplification: How much you influence them
  3. Network Impact: The influence of your network

When you go to your Klout profile, it has a dashboard to monitor your activity over the past day, week, month, and 90 day period.  It will also show you where you stand relative to others in your network.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

To the best of my knowledge, its cool for three reasons:

  1. It quantifies someone’s social media influence, which helps people promote themselves in marketing, sales, and other professions that rely on networking.
  2. Klout offers “Perks” to its most influential members, which earns them exclusive products or experiences based on their influence.
  3. Brands benefit by running Klout Perks to measure their own success on social media. Klout Perks enable brands to reach influencers and create interest around a Perk.  Influencers create thousands of pieces of user generated content (UGC) and millions of impressions for a brand’s new product, initiative or campaign.

So, you may be a casual participant in social media now, but as you become more active your online presence will grow, and become visible to brands like Disney, Audi, and Turner who use Klout Perks to engage with influencers.  The higher your Klout score, the more power you have, which means more Klout Perks for you.

REACH + INFLUENCE + IMPACT = KLOUT = PERKS.  Its good to be the king.


Music to my Peers

You want a song?  You got it.  Want an album?  Its yours.  Want every playlist your friend has ever created?  Done.  Sound like something you want?  It already exists.  It’s called Spotify, and it recently arrived in the US to fulfill your every musical desire.

The socially-integrated, music-streaming service has already enjoyed incredible success in Europe, but had problems closing deals with American record labels concerning licensing agreements.  Spotify executives brought in Napster Co-founder, and former Facebook President, Sean Parker to help them in their effort to convince the labels that the service would be profitable.   A deal was reached, and Spotify launched in the US this past July.  The service has been has been incredibly well-received, a result that Parker attributes to a trifecta of benefits (convenience, accessibility, and selection) that he believes will be “the answer to piracy.”

Here’s how it works:

  • You sign up and create a profile.  They have three subscription options:
  1. Open (free, commercialized)
  2.  Unlimited ($4.99/mo. Commercial-free, unlimited streaming)
  3.  Premium ($9.99/mo. Commercial-free, unlimited, and mobile).

I recommend going straight for the premium because you’re going to upgrade anyway.  Sure,   they’re gonna start you off with that free Spotify, just a taste, just to see if you like it.  But in practically no time, you’re going to get used to those awesome features, the euphoria you feel as you easily access music.  You’re gonna want that bump (musically speaking, of course), want it anywhere, want it now.  And that’s only available on premium.  The free version allows you to use the interface from a computer, but has limited downloads, in addition to commercials. Bleh.  Premium is mobile, commercial free, and unlimited (Parker breaks down Spotify’s strategy in this interview).

  • Connect through Facebook and import your friends.  It will instantly synch with anyone you know who also has a Spotify account.  A list will show up on your homepage with your friends’ FB profile picture.

  • Import your local files from iTunes or any other place they are stored.  This is any music you already own, along with playlists that you’ve already created.  You get to keep all of this.  When/if you stop using Spotify, you still own the music you previous downloaded.
  • Start searching for music.  They have a “What’s New” section where they’ll show you what’s hot right now, broken down into Tracks, Albums, and Artists.  Or you can just search the same way you would on iTunes, and a list will appear with the original, remixes, etc… You click on it, and it plays.  You drop it into a playlist, or start a new file and its yours.  No delay.  Its perfect for trying out new music because it makes no difference financially whether you download one song, or the entire album.  For instance, typically I wouldn’t buy Kanye West’s new  record, but there is no risk, so I just drag and drop.  If I like a song now, I usually just grab the whole album and give it a go.
  • Finally, share your music.  If you like a song or playlist you have, you can send it to someone’s inbox by simply dragging it to their FB profile picture on the right side of the screen.  You can also click on their profile, and subscribe to any playlists they’ve made public.  That music is now yours as well.

Of course, you can do some of what I’ve mentioned illegally through BitTorrent or other P2P file sharing sites, but they’re not nearly as convenient, and far less social.  Also, as a former LimeWire and Napster user, I’ve ruined so many desktop hard drives with P2P downloaded virus,’ that I’ve sworn off piracy all together.  Spotify is reasonably priced considering the bang you get for your buck, so  if you traditionally  lag when it comes to embracing new technology, I suggest you make an exception.  Adopt early, avoid the rush.


Jobs-less

When word broke yesterday about Steve Jobs passing, I was one of the many who gasped upon receiving the news.  However, after about two minutes, it was my own reaction to his death that caught me off guard, more so than the headline itself.  After all, I knew he was ailing, and he had recently stepped down as Apple’s CEO in August, so it shouldn’t have been such a surprise.  I’ve never been a Mac owner (though I did own a few iPods and an iPhone over the years), so I don’t consider myself an Apple fanatic, nor do I really have any vested interest in the company.  So, and I apologize for being so glib but, why do I, or we care?

We (based on the reactions flooding Twitter and Facebook) care because he represented the “big idea,” that inspired so many (perhaps subconsciously in my case).  It was exciting when Steve Jobs came out and announce a new product that Apple had been developing because you never knew how life changing this technology might be.  He’d hit it out of the park so many times, that we came to trust that whatever IT was, we’d love it.

From building computers in his parents’ garage, to everything that Apple is today, Steve Jobs is the American dream.  As Bill Wier put it on ABC News, he was “Thomas Edison meets Willy Wonka,” creating not only “useful machines,” but making them “artful” and fun.  His innovation was only matched by his drive, which in and of itself was incredibly inspiring.  In a commencement speech he made at Stanford in 2005 (which can be seen in its entirety here), Steve Jobs said:

“Remembering that I’ll be  dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life…”

“…most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

In his 35 years with Apple, Steve Jobs was able to create a suspense for technology that was unprecedented.  His vision will be sorely missed.


Fleshing it out

I think I may have found my niche in this huge blogosphere. My issue with blogging was that I didn’t feel like I had a ton to offer to the conversation on Technology, Social Media, or Business, because it is all so new to me. I was previously pursuing a career as an actor in LA, and waiting tables at a variety of restaurants, so I have knowledge and experience in those areas, but really didn’t want to focus on them anymore. As I come across new technology, and read about successful emerging business models, I get excited about them and try to really understand what they’ll mean for me and to the world. I’ve gotten good at relaying this to other people in my life who don’t necessarily have their fingers on the pulse technology, or who aren’t business professionals.
So, I will do my best through this blog to do exactly that: find news or updates about business and technology, and give my interpretation on what it means to the everyman who wants to keep up, without being a fanatic or expert. Hopefully my perspective will be relatable, and shed light on topics that may be confusing to the general public.
Again, I am not an expert, simply an observer, so I am definitely open to correction, or other interpretations about subjects that I discuss. Lets all get a grasp.


Goals

I’m still figuring out the theme for this site, but at the moment, I’d like it to focus on three things: Social Media, Business, and Technology. Peripherally I will discuss important (or at least interesting) things in my personal life, the town I live in and recently moved back to (San Diego, CA), and entertainment. I hope to also include a video post about a third of the time, as they are quick and more interesting to view than reading a few paragraphs. I needed to start typing because I was experiencing a bit of writer’s block, so though it was brief and not terribly informative, this will conclude my fist post.