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Influence Versus Wasting Time

Posted by on Nov 1, 2011

Anyone who’s been checking out this blog for at least a year knows that I talk about the concept of influence on a fairly regular basis. I’m one of those people that believes that not only will influence allow you to have a voice in what goes on around you, but it offers you the best possibility for future financial success. You probably find influential people a happier lot as well, though I know someone’s going to pull out “I know so-and-so who’s not very happy”. Doesn’t apply to everyone but I’m betting it applies to the majority.

As this post goes live I’ll be at a live event that I briefly mentioned in this post hoping to increase my influence locally by hopefully giving a presentation that will at least put my name into the light. It’s a long and hard road to get yourself known by more than just a few people, isn’t it?

The same goes for being online. It’s really hard judging how influential you are online. Sure, there are lots of ranking services, but none of them seem to agree just how well you’re doing. One of the problems with being a social media consultant is having clients and potential clients wanting you to tell them all the things they can or should be doing to become more prominent online. I’ll say this; no matter what it is one hopes to do, it all takes time. And some of that time, in my opinion, is wasted time. What do I mean? Let’s take a look at some of these major time wasters.

I’ve talked about Klout a few times now. It’s supposedly one of the top online ranking systems to tell people just how influential you are “across the board.” I put it in quotation marks because it doesn’t look at a lot of things. One, it doesn’t look at blogs or websites at all. Two, it doesn’t follow your comments, even on sites that it checks on such as LinkedIn and Facebook. And three, if you’re engaging in conversation but with only one or two people on Twitter at a time, it doesn’t give you any bonus points for that. It pretty much follows two things; how much you’re participating in the couple of things it’s following and how much others are passing your stuff along if you happen to put stuff out there.

And no one really knows how it works; I’m not sure they do. Back in the summer when I had my post on 21 Black Social Media Influencers, my Klout ranking soared. Now, they’ve made a change and my score has dropped drastically. Not that it wasn’t slowly coming down anyway because who could keep up with the amount of activity needed to keep a Klout score high? How much time would I have to consistently waste on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, doing specific things, to get my score up? And I hear there are employers that are judging people based on this; ugh.

A couple of weeks ago I talked about Empire Avenue. At that time my score kept going up, but truthfully I had no real idea what it was all about; I still don’t. Turns out that the only real way of keeping your score up is to promote your site and have people buying “stock” in you. Sure, you earn your fake income by acts you do, but that doesn’t influence what your stock price is.

I mention Empire Avenue because in my previous post I wondered how it helps with social media, or even if it was supposed to help. On that front I’d have to say it has helped some. My Facebook business page has had a lot of folks from Empire Avenue sign up, and a few people have visited this blog and left comments; that’s pretty neat. So it hasn’t been a total waste of time, but for the amount of time one would have to put into promoting yourself, which in essence is promoting the site, I could write 3 blog posts for each blog I own.

Then there’s Technorati, Delicious (is it still going by that name?), StumbleUpon, etc… all those intermediary sites that people seem to love but I seem not to love. Like many other people, when I first started trying to get more recognition for my blogs I tried social bookmarking. And once again I found myself spending lots of time trying to get good rankings on these sites, only to learn that it not only takes a lot of time but you never know what any of those rankings mean anyway.

For instance, I just took a look at my Technorati account. This blog has an authority of 450; my business blog and finance blog have an authority of 101. I’ve never listed my other two blogs and won’t. Traffic has drastically gone up on my finance blog, but the way Technorati works, people have to “name” your blog, or at least a post, for you to get recognition. You can add a link on your own, but it still only works if others decide to tag along.

The same goes for all those other sites. I hate when I click on a link on Twitter and it takes me to StumbleUpon or any of those other sites, with those big clunky toolbars. And it’s people posting their own links; why not post the link to your blog instead of one of these other sites? Isn’t that a major waste of time? Someone please school me on this one because I’m missing it.

There are so many other ways of spreading your influence online that don’t take a lot of time wasting. And of course one can spread their influence without worrying about these rankings all that much. We all get so caught up in the numbers; I know I can from time to time. But you know what? This past Saturday I took a day and basically sat in front of the TV watching DVDs. I had my laptop, but I rarely checked it. And it felt good; the chase was over for at least one day.

If you’re going to waste time, waste it in making yourself feel better. If you want influence, don’t restrict it. Find ways that fit into your schedule that don’t become overwhelming. Get out there and have fun with it, while getting things done. This is one of those dreams/goals I’m shooting for as I retool what I hope to do in 2012.

I’m Mitch Mitchell and I approved this ad. 🙂

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Klout topic is very trendy for about a week, if I am not wrong, because there was some error their latest algorithms. I personally don’t pay much attention on static tests like Klout, Website Grader and website authority tool from SEOMoz. Technically data can be useful, but practically it doesn’t mean anything as there are a lot of ways of promotion which can not be traced.

November 1st, 2011 | 9:36 PM

Carl, I get a notification here and there and that’s when I check stuff, but I don’t take any of it all that seriously. Still, these things do waste time.

November 2nd, 2011 | 1:20 AM

Absolutely, Mitch and I think that internet marketers are spending too much time on this tests and unfortunately major part of them take this metrics as absolute.

November 2nd, 2011 | 1:54 AM

Mitch, you know what man? I had used almost all of these services at some point and plum just FORGOT I signed up for them.

I forgot I had “claimed” my blog on Technorati or that I set up that Delicious account. My blog is at 350 I think…I’m not sure what the scale is. Is it out of 1,000?

I only recently got into Klout. Watching the fallout from Klout-acalypse 2011 has been pretty entertaining for me. I’m not sure if I should bother investing too much into it because I haven’t seen anyone make any decisions regarding me based on Klout -at least not that I know of.

I agree that doggedly chasing after “validation” like this is a waste of time. Just going out and engaging with other people is probably a better (and more fun) way to spend your online time.
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November 2nd, 2011 | 4:03 PM

John, I’ve signed up for things I’ve forgotten as well. However, I have Twitter to remind me of things these days. Technorati does seem to be out of 1,000, but I have no idea how the metrics work anymore. I mean, my one blog is ranked in the top 200,000 yet it only has a Technorati rating of 101; I mean, what’s that about? That and the six months thing; nope, don’t care anymore.

It seems overall that I have more enjoyment on my blogs and Twitter, and if that’s not enough for some of these ranking services, well, I’m not chasing any of them around.

November 2nd, 2011 | 9:51 PM

Great post, Mitch. I have to admit. I’ve never been a fan of all the ranking/influence tools. I think it’s waaaay overdone and people get obsessed with it – just like Alexa, PR and others.

Now, I understand that a lot of people have built their business with social media and companies may use these tools when considering candidates for a job, etc. However, overall I think people put way too much stock into rankings.

Now I could go into a tangent on how narcissistic this world has become (and these tools often magnify that) but I’ll save that for another day. lol
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November 2nd, 2011 | 4:15 PM

Lisa, I don’t obsess on any of it, but I do keep my eye on it. I know in general what’s considered good and what means things are way off base; overall, if I have the opportunity to make a dent on something legitimately, I’d rather be ranked higher than lower, because I know that at that point I have a better chance to compete, make money online in some fashion, etc.

As far as using some of these things for employment… I think that’s a bit extreme. If you want to see a website someone designed to determine if that’s the person you want to make your website, I get it. Anything else and it’s just being goofy.

November 2nd, 2011 | 9:54 PM

Social Media promotion and optimization is a much broader topic than SEO, I believe. As you felt, it indeed is a time consuming activity to build a brand on social media and they are now coming up with different roles for such specialty jobs. For bloggers and freelancers it can be a time consuming activity.

Having said that, I myself am not a big fan of overdoing the social media. I love to write and my take is that if someone likes it let him share. I do not really go about overmarketing it.
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November 2nd, 2011 | 11:43 PM

It’s a great way to go Ajith. Actually, I’ve found there are other ways of getting good results on my blogs and websites. Still, these things are out there and some people take them really seriously, like page rank, so I felt it had to be addressed.

November 3rd, 2011 | 9:44 AM

Hey Mitch, I’m not one that makes a lot of fuss over so called influential people, unless they’re wearing a low cut blouse, short skirt and have the figure to do their attire justice that is. 😉

I don’t bother all that much with Kloiut anymore and I can’t remember the last time I visited Technorati, speaking of which I notice they gave me an authority of 1 so that shoots their credibility all to hell 😀
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November 3rd, 2011 | 12:14 AM

lol Liked that first para.

Technorati is useless. I doubt if anyone is really bothered about it anymore.

November 3rd, 2011 | 6:36 AM

Wow Sire, a whole 1? I hope you hear the trumpets blaring! lol I check into many things here and there, but I’m not obsessing over any of it, though some people will. It’s easy to get caught up in the hype though, as you well know.

November 3rd, 2011 | 9:46 AM

This is a good thought on influence or wasting time. While SEO is a big ocean, it is not very easy to understand how it works for most IM newbies and that is the reason people tend to use all these marketing tools because who knows which one would bring in some traffic. However, experienced bloggers know where to draw a line. Though not concerned with this post, I like the domain name, imjustsharing and this talks about your positive attitude which is why you are looking to share thoughts and not going for SEO and keyword stuff. Am I right?

November 3rd, 2011 | 2:40 PM

Pretty much Hendrix. I look to share on anything, not just SEO or keywords or technology or blogging. Sure, I talk about that stuff more often than anything else, but I’ll go off the grid here and there.

November 3rd, 2011 | 5:43 PM
Wes Towers@Graphic Design Melbourne:

Hi, Mitch.

Saying that it’s been a while since I’ve been here could be an understatement, but I am saying it nevertheless. And, I’m really glad to finally make it back here.

I haven’t wasted my time on Technorati and while I might have looked into Klout, I didn’t stick around to really dig it the way others do.

I haven’t been around much online because I’ve been busy taking care of clients and the offline aspects of business. And, with that and with what you have been saying here, it seems I didn’t miss something that could have been gold for me or for anyone in that matter.

Good to see you again, Mitch. 🙂

November 4th, 2011 | 5:45 AM

Glad to see you’re still around Wes; I’d wondered where you had gone to. Yeah, some of this newer stuff has to be taken with a grain of sand and just for fun, but controlled fun, otherwise one can waste tons of time.

November 4th, 2011 | 10:35 PM

This is a good thought on influence or wasting time. While SEO is a big ocean, it is not very easy to understand how it works for most IM newbies and that is the reason people tend to use all these marketing tools. | 😛
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November 5th, 2011 | 11:05 AM

Thanks. True, people can get caught up in the wrong things easily and waste a lot of time in them.

November 5th, 2011 | 11:45 PM

Hi Mitch! Actually I’m not really into pushing myself to be known in social media. It feels like you are so obsessed in getting more followers. For me, it’s better to write on something which readers may like and appreciated.
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November 14th, 2011 | 6:24 AM

Jasper, it all depends on what each person wants. I have determined that I do want to be known in social media circles, because influence means income. I’m not obsessed with more followers as much as getting the word out. For those who want to stay in the background it’s fine; that’s not good enough for me.

November 14th, 2011 | 10:24 AM