Fun with Klout

I’m not going to bash Klout. plenty of others have done that already, and besides, I like getting free stuff, so, more power to them!  I just want to have fun with them.

A few weeks ago, I did a post about Wikipedia’s fundraising ads, entitled Jimmy Wales, Serial Killer?, which got retweeted by a few people. Well, thanks to that, Klout decided that “Wales” and “Serial Killer” were topics I was influential about (sorry, didn’t get a “before” snapshot). Now, they weren’t among my top 3, which were “Social Media”, “Internet Marketing” and “SEO”, but it was in my top 15.

I decided to have a little fun with it, so I posted on Twitter and Facebook, and sent out a shareholder mail on Empire Avenue, asking people to give me +K in “Wales” and “Serial Killer”. Within 5 minutes:



I think, though, I may have overdone it, because within an hour:


LOL! Oh well. makes for a great blog post. I wonder what kind of perks that’ll trigger for them to send me?

Feel free to +K me in Social Media and help me get back to normal. Or not. 🙂

UPDATE: In case you were wondering what happened to Klout, they got acquired by Lithium, which is now Khoros. They sunsetted Klout in 2018.

How NOT to Launch a Social Media Marketing Agency

I’m not in the practice of being overly critical, and certainly not mean or snarky. But sometimes someone does something so completely, utterly incompetent or misguided that it’s worth pointing out, for their own good as well as being an example for the general public.

That happened yesterday. Short version of the story: an established PR and marketing agency is launching a new social media marketing agency – “Buzzphoria”. They announced themselves with an advertisement on HARO (Help A Reporter Out), an email newsletter with about 50,000 media-savvy subscribers.

Only problem is, they weren’t ready – not even close. Their blog (once you find it) still has the default WordPress “Hello, world!” post. They don’t have a Twitter account. They don’t have any social media links on their site to connect with them. They didn’t do themselves any favors with that ad.

For the full story, with screenshots, see Buzzphoria Social Media Reality Check on my personal blog.

Building a business by leveraging the talents of autistic people

I recently learned about an entrepreneur with a very clever business model: Thorkil Sonne, founder of Danish software testing company Specialisterne.  The 55-person firm’s clients include CSC, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Specialisterne claims to be the world’s first company focused on leveraging the unique talents of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  Sonne started the company in large part to ensure that people with ASD—including his own son—would have employment opportunities.  ASD, the most common form of autism, affects close to 1% of the population, but only 10% of ASD adults obtain any form of employment.

Software testing is a repetitive role which requires high attention to detail, and is an excellent fit for the typical ASD personality. 75% of Specialisterne’s testers have Asperger syndrome or a form of ASD.  Sonne estimates that 1% of all the tasks executed in a given large company are suitable for autistic workers.

What I particularly like about this is that Sonne identified a community of talent almost unused by the labor market, and has built a successful firm on that insight.  From the point of view of both profit and of social welfare, he has built a powerful model. He is now expanding internationally.

Writing the Perfect Email


A constant complaint we hear around the office is that emails we receive (and sometimes send) are poorly written or unclear.  According to “How to Write a Perfect Email”, when writing an email that warrants a reply, there are four key components to get a quick and valid response:


1. Brevity– Keep it short.

2. Context– How do you know me/where did we meet (Give information that would make a person remember you) and put it in the subject line.

3. Something to Act On- Make the request clear and ask closed ended questions.

4. Set a Deadline- Set a date when you need the information, give one follow-up email and then pick up the phone.


My colleague Michelle Reicher observed that the guidelines set in this blog are a good standard to follow, but, “I disagree with the blanket advice to ask closed ended questions. Keep the request and question clear and concise, but allow the responder to give as much information as is necessary to move forward. When one sends an email with questions, the goal is to solicit a response, but it is important to have a complete, comprehensive, and useful response not just a yes/no answer. Yes/No responses answer the immediate question, but do not allow farther explanation that may answer future questions or give farther insight into the matter at hand.”


In The Cranking Widgets Blog: “How to Construct the Perfect Email Subject Line”, the blogger observes that a good subject line is imperative for a successful email:

“There are 3 simple tips that, if implemented properly, will make your email subject (and, subsequently, your email) much easier to read.

1.      Use Keywords [to identify the purpose of your email.] All email messages fall into one or more of 4 possible categories:

o        Questions (or messages that elicit a response from the reader)

o        Responses (messages that are in response to questions or other inquiring messages)

o        Informational (or FYI – messages that are meant to inform but donÂ’t require a response)

o        Spam (jokes, pictures of your nephewÂ’s baseball game, etc. – as well as actual spam)

2.      Briefly describe the subject – This is best done before you start writing your message. Finding the right balance between vague and overly-specific can be tough. Personally, I think itÂ’s like anything else – you get better at it with time.

3.      For PeteÂ’s sake, never leave the subject blank – This is something IÂ’ve mentioned before, and it bears repeating.”


The body of the email will never be read if the context of the subject line does not act as an icebreaker or a contextual reminder. If the subject line merely says, “Hi” then it is synonymous to a cold call, but if the subject line identifies the business or how you know this person it becomes analogous to a warm call or a referral, which are generally more fruitful and productive than an unsolicited call.

If You Want to Be Known as an Expert, Act Like One

Seems like a simple enough concept, right? If you want to be thought of as an expert in your field, besides just knowing your stuff, if you could figure out how experts — not wanna-be experts, but true “A-list” experts that people respect, quote and hire — act, then acting like them, rather than acting like a wanna-be, should boost your credibility even more.

Fortunately for you, there actually are a few things that those A-list experts have in common regarding how they behave in online communities, and this has been a key focus of my study over the past five years. I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while and finally have as part of the launch of the new collaborative blog, Tribal Seduction:

5 Ways to Act Like an Expert in Online Communities

Now please understand… this isn’t about gaming the system to pretend to be an expert when you’re really not. This is about making some smart decisions about how you use your time and how you engage people in online communities. You’ll find, as you put these into practice, that not only will they slowly but surely enhance your reputation, but they’ll also give you more time than your typical engagement pattern. You can use that time to go do the same thing in another community, or to go do other things to enhance your expert reputation, like write a blog or better yet, a book.

How to Manage Virtual Employees

In our latest FastCompany column, we summarized best practices in managing virtual employees:

…Daigle observed that the virtual structure eliminates many political issues: “Not only do we not have much of the water cooler, idle time type of communication, and resulting issues — we don’t have time for it. I think there is some truth that the four of us [of the EVS management team] have got by without serious conflicts over 6 full years because we’re somewhat forced (by geographic non-proximity) to stay out of one another’s way, trusting each other to execute. Despite being geographically dispersed, all four senior managers are actively involved in both sales and operations, in touch via email, instant messaging, and phone daily. However, because we are distant we are forced to act independently and to focus on execution.”

Free Job-Search Ebook

Via Barbara Safani, a no-cost job search ebook from Career Hub:

I’m excited to announce our very first eBook! The book, which features in-depth job search advice from 17 career marketing experts is available for download now.

We put this book together because we know that so many job seekers feel lost when they start out on their search. Having put all their time and energy into making their employers successful, they’ve had neither the time nor the need to keep up with the latest in job search strategies.

The Career Hub contributors are career coaches, recruiters, consultants, business executives and resume writers and all have valuable knowledge to share. So I asked each of them to contribute to this free eBook in order to share what they know with those of you who are working your way through the job search process now (or plan to do so in the future).

Please feel free to share the book. And tell us what you think, either by email or in the comments. We plan to issue more free eBooks and your feedback will help us make them as useful as possible.

Download here.

Microsoft Office online—without Microsoft

Do you want to break free of Microsoft’s grip? Use exclusively web-based apps, most of them free?

If you do, try reviewing Ismael Ghalimi‘s list of ‘best-of-breed’ web apps, which together provide a reasonable approximation of the Microsoft Office Suite.

Google SMS

We haven’t talked much about SMS on this site, but I’ve been playing with Google SMS, which is a useful service. (Yes, I know i’m late to the party with this…)

Google SMS is a new service that enables you to search for certain kinds of information with Google from a mobile phone or handheld device (such as a Blackberry), and returns your search results as text messages. Get phone book listings, movie showtimes, weather, facts, dictionary definitions, product prices from Froogle, and more.

For example (via Speakernet news): send “Pizza 91320” to the phone number 46645 (GOOGL spelled with the numeric phone keys) and you will receive a text message back with all the pizza joints in that ZIP code.

Google SMS

New Management & Career Blog from Miki Saxon

My long-time virtual friend Miki Saxon has finally started blogging at MAPping Company Success. She labels herself quite a Luddite, and tends to be very resistant to new technology. Of course, I’ve always found that incredibly ironic, since she and I have only known each other virtually, and some of my first interaction with her was through her weekly hosted online chat sessions. She was also one of the first people to take my Virtual Handshake course a couple of years ago.

I’ve been encouraging her to write a blog for a long time, since she’s such a great writer, and I wasn’t disappointed. She writes on company culture, employee motivation, communications, hiring and retention. Here’s a selections of some of my favorite recent posts:

Miki’s blog is especially targeted at executives, senior managers and board members, but there’s a little something there for everyone. It’s also a great example of how a blog can be used by consultants to showcase your expertise and increase your reach.