"Will you be my contact in the world of home-baking?"* and other online influence conundrums

Social media happenings I will never understand:

1. Farmville: Agri-vation of the worst kind
2. Twitter rage: Just unfollow Piers Morgan if he annoys you that much
3. Measurements of online influence

Take Klout (‘the standard measure of online influence’, according to its biog); a tweet from Mo Krochmal asking if anyone understood +k sent me to the site this evening to see what he was talking about.
I still don’t know what +k is, but I found myself in a section that told me what I was influential in and how long for.
Just have a look:

Oh yes, I am influential about Cupcake.
I’ve never baked them, I certainly don’t tweet about them – hell, I don’t even eat them – but I am influential about them.
It’s possible Cupcake is a geographical place where tweets are enshrined in tablets of stone and Cupcakeians (Cupcakealonians?) live their lives according to 140char observations, but… possibly it’s because I have two Twitter contacts – @Cupcake_Rev and @Cupcakesincity? I genuinely don’t know how else to explain it.
Drilling down further into this ego-bruising data, my influence in Cupcake lasts 33 hours – the same as it does for Journalism.

The other topics are broadly there (not sure about ‘business’ but maybe my UCLan course links have played a part) and there may be a deeper moral here but, for me, the lesson is simply this: When it comes to social media influence measurements, take it all with a large pinch of chocolate frosting.
* If the admittedly-obscure title of this post doesn’t ring any vague bell, I urge you to go and buy Pratt of the Argus by David Nobbs. Forget McNaes – this is the definitive book a regional news journalist needs to know by heart.

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About Alison Gow

I'm a journalist, particularly interested in story-telling, networks and digital innovation.
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