Funny, I’ve never been to Colorado nor do I remember posting anything about it, but according to my latest notification from Klout I’m influential there. And if the great and powerful Klout says it’s true, it must be. Right?

That brings me to my big announcement: I’m moving to Colorado.

Just kidding. I’m not moving but I did delete my Klout account.

Klout is a service that was thrust on most of us social media users as a way to measure our social media influence. It assigns users a fluctuating number (0 – 100) based on a mystical algorithm that’s already changed at least once, setting off a firestorm among passionate scorekeepers who worry they might miss out on job opportunities and other perks because their numbers dropped.

Since then I’ve noticed more people not only deleting their Klout accounts but also blogging about why they deleted it.

You can read other examples here and here and here. (The last one has instructions on how to delete it.)

I’m joining the fray and blogging about it because as a journalist I’ve found my reasons differ slightly from others. Here they are, but keep in mind these are just my reasons. I don’t hate Klout and I’m not trying to encourage others to drop it.

1. It promotes, directly or indirectly, behavior that makes social media less useful and fun.

Continue reading ‘Want to know (why I deleted) my Klout score?’

Nothing beats a great scoop.

There isn’t a cup of coffee anywhere that can match the adrenaline rush you get when you know something before most everyone else. The anticipation, the urgency to beat the competition: It’s a high.

Until the last decade or so, that feeling was mostly reserved for journalists. We had control of all of the info and we protected it with every fiber of our being until it was time to unleash it.

Now, everyone with a social media account or a blog can broadcast breaking news not just to their friends but to the world. That’s an awesome power to have and one that should come with some responsibility to make sure it’s right.

I love the new information age but the rush to be first allows hoaxes to ripple across the internet faster than an earthquake.

I can’t stand hoaxes. The truth never spreads as quickly or as far as the original lie because people generally aren’t as quick to admit they were wrong. You can just feel the nation’s collective IQ drop a few points each time one of these unattributed memes appears on yours news feed.

So just take a few more seconds to make sure what you’re about to tell everybody is right.

Here’s some tips to spotting a hoax:

Most people I know go right to Snopes, which is a virtual warehouse of documented Internet hoaxes. But what if it’s not on Snopes?

Is there a link?

The lack of a link from someone other than a credible news sourceĀ  is a major red flag. This item, headlined “A TRUE STORY,” was shared more than 20,000 times on Facebook. 20,000 times! That’s a small city.

Off the bat you can see why it fueled so much emotion. I mean, there’s a dead girl hanging out of the windshield. People are crying.

The text that accompanies it purports to contain the real words the teen told a reporter moments before she died in a DUI-related crash. I haven’t seen it appear on Snopes yet so let’s scrutinize it a bit:

She told it to a reporter? There must be a link to the story, right? Nope. Nothing on Google, either.

If that’s not enough, let’s look at the photo a little closer.

Continue reading ‘Retweet and share responsibly’

When Google+ launched last month we could all see the Facebook bashing coming from a mile away.

Afterall, Google+ pretty much has the potential to do everything Facebook can do, and it’s newer and sleeker, whereas Facebook has been a bit complacent and slow in addressing what its users want.

What I didn’t expect was the sudden twitter bashing. In case you’ve forgotten, and some people have, up until a few weeks ago Twitter was the relatively cool and progressive social network.

Since then, Twitter has been labeled “silly” and “boring.”

The Facebook trash talk was predictable and immediate.

Some say Google+ poses more of a challenge to Twitter

than it does Facebook.

While all of those folks are much more seasoned in the world of social media than myself, I just don’t see it.

Yes, Twitter is simple and a bit archaic-looking when you match it up with the shiny object that is Google+, but Google+ hasn’t shown me much potential toward being able to do what Twitter does.

I’ve had several friends join Google+ and immediately ask me how do they search for the local news, such as using the hashtags on Twitter. The answer: You don’t.

Continue reading ‘Twitter bashing way too premature’

It took a couple of weeks but I identified my first real problem with Google+ and it’s only going to get worse if something isn’t done about it.

As it stands right now, everyone I allow into my circles go into my main stream. This makes for a lot of scrolling through a very cluttered stream full of discussion, news links, large photos and reams of comments about all of the above. Of course, Google+ allows me to view streams for each designated circle but the main stream is the default stream and gives me a taste of what everyone in my circles is posting about at that moment. and it’s the only one I can view from my phone.**

Google+ has taken some of the best features from both Twitter and Facebook and made them their own, but the cluttered stream shows they can’t quite have it both ways.

Continue reading ‘Islands in my stream: My first issue with Google+’

I regard social networks much like I do my car: I get a lot of mileage out of them but don’t ask me what’s under the hood.

HTML? Might as well ask me to rebuild a carburetor.

I can, however, tell you how my car handles and what makes it better or worse than other cars from a user standpoint.

This brings me to my layman’s review of Google+, which you may know by now is Google’s answer to the social network. As of this moment, the network is still invite-only but there are plenty of invites to be had. I, for one, have been handing them out like candy.

The question I keep getting is, “Is it worth my time?”

My answer: Depends.

Are you in the market for a sleeker, newer model with improved, albeit subtle, features? Or are you comfortable with your current vehicle that takes you back and forth to the grocery store and already has your favorite radio presets? (Yes, I’m continuing with the car analogy.)

A lot of the people snatching up the early invitations to Google+ are either searching for the next big thing or champing at the bit to get away from Facebook and it’s sketchy privacy settings, relentless Farmville invitations and its relative inability to let you talk to your friends about last night’s exploits without exposing your church group to all the gritty details.

Google+ addresses all of these issues: The photos are brighter and fun to edit; the video chat, “Hangout,” is already more expansive than the chat Facebook unveiled just last week; and there isn’t a Mafia war in sight (but who knows how long that will last.)

Continue reading ‘Is Google+ worth your time? A layman’s look at the newest social network’

Someone asked me the other day how you can post directly to your Facebook page using the Facebook for Android app.

The best answer: Don’t bother. Download Hootsuite or Seesmic instead. (Tweetdeck doesn’t allow pages.)

But, if you really want to know how here is the quickest way I’ve found. (Let me know if you know of another):

Continue reading ‘Just nine simple steps …’

When is news still “breaking”? When is ALL CAPS appropriate? Do your readers want to know you pierced your nipples?

I’ve compiled my own rules of twitter etiquette over the last couple of years based on my own experiences as a tweeting journalist and through reading more than 100 other local, statewide and national reporters posting their own tweets.

Below are some of the most common issues I’ve seen. Full disclosure: I’ve been guilty of a couple of these myself. Here’s your chance to learn from my mistakes.

Continue reading ‘Don’t twit where you tweet … and other tips’

Hello, I’m Andy. I’m a journalist.

The job is pretty obvious: I talk to people. I listen. I observe. I find out what people are talking about and then I try to separate fact from fiction for a story.

That’s what the job was before social media. That’s what the job is since social media.

So why does Facebook, the world’s largest social network with 750 million members, encourage journalists to create pages that basically leave us on the outside looking in?

Continue reading ‘Stuck in Facebook page jail …’


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