All posts tagged Social Media

Peering Out Through The BlogHer Blur

It was only a week ago but it’s a blur. A blogging blur. Last week I attended a conference for bloggers. For women bloggers to be precise, 4,500 women who put their thoughts, rants, advice, and analysis of all things worth and not worth being analyzed out into the indefinable, indescribable, is it really real, blogosphere, to be exact.

I attended this conference because the agent who requested, read, and responded to my book proposal said I needed a platform. A platform, in publishing speak, is proof that you can sell your book. That there is a ready made reader, a group of ready made readers, that will be predisposed to purchase your book. Today, one proof of a platform is your social media presence, backed up by analytics. So I went to BlogHer2012 at the Hilton New York for three days to learn how to build and measure a platform.

If I wanted to feel my story was unique or that my perspective was unvoiced, I should have stayed home. Women writing about transition–done. Humorous takes on everyday life–written. Second acts in the making–ditto. Tales from menopause and beyond–please, they are written during the wee hours of the morning when sleep is on a break.

At least I wasn’t a mother with an urge to write during naptime or school hours. There were more mommy bloggers than breakfast bagels. Healthy food mommies, home school mommies, mommy divas, wannabe mommies, and mommy entrepreneurs. Mommies with tales of adoption, multiple births, special need children, single parenting, lesbian mothering, and probably pet parenting.  Although, I didn’t personally meet a blogger with that focus.

Thank goodness I took lots of notes because I don’t remember much these days unless it’s written down. This is a common theme in blogs from women of a certain age, so I will remember to not write about whatever I just forgot.

I won’t forget the expo center full of brand experiences, freebies, and sponsor corporations vying for the attention of a blogger-advocate. There’s something delightful about a conference where you can get your picture taken with the Dr. Seuss’ Lorax character and fill your swag bag with Poise® light bladder leakage pads and vibrators from either Trojan® or EdensFantasys®.

I will remember the presence of the three keynote speakers starting with President Obama, who opened the conference via satellite feed. (Romney was asked and declined.) The President reminded us that he was raised by women and is surrounded by women he admires and supports. He proved that he knows the source and value of free advertising by sharing how his presidency has positively impacted the lives of women.

During an interview with Martha Stewart an audience member asked, “What aren’t you good at?”

After thinking for a bit, Martha responded, “I’m not good at what I haven’t tried yet.”

I wish I was that confident. I’m not very good at being a fan of Martha’s. I admit to being an early member of the “I am not in love with Martha Stewart Club” back in the 80s. I don’t care if she is the very model of a modern media mogul. I have never fallen under her spell.

Katie Couric engaged the audience over the last luncheon. Before I talk about her, I admit positive bias. I am a member of the “I love Katie and want to be like Katie Club.” One day Katie showed up on the Today Show wearing the same J. Crew sweater that hung in my closet. This made me happy. Clearly, a little bit too happy if I’m still talking about it now.

A blogger in the audience asked Katie, “How did you feel during your interview of Sarah Palin?”

I will paraphrase Katie’s answer, because at this point I was not taking notes. “As a person, I felt sorry for her. She was clearly having a difficult time forming an answer. As a reporter, I felt I did a good job of finding out things that I thought the American public would want to know about a person who would be a heartbeat from the president­–the oldest president ever elected.”

Katie has empathy. Katie does a good job. I still want to be like Katie.  I guess I want to be like Martha, too–good at everything I try. After this conference, I know I am like President Obama too. I appreciate the women in my life, past, present and future and hope to build a platform of interest and service to all.

Looking for Clout with a Capital K





Her lack of Klout dealt a heavy blow to her self-esteem. “I feel depressed,” the twenty-something social media marketer and private-life blogger said. “My score should be higher.”

My heart ached for this young woman. Low Klout in a Klout obsessed world is no good. A Klout score is quantitative support for one’s qualitative state of being a go-to guy or gal. An expert. An influential. A VIP – literally. Event organizers use Klout scores to put together invitation lists to fashion shows and charity events. It has been suggested that a high Klout score on a resume indicates someone’s social media savvy and might open doors to a new job.

Clout has always mattered. Visions of the cool kids cafeteria table and mean girls with perfect curls come to mind. Cliques have self-defined clout. It was just a matter of time for clout to move online, for clout to become Klout, an online popularity rating. Another number to watch.

Numbers dog us from the minute we’re born. The Apgar score measures our newborn health. The ACT or SAT broadcasts our cognitive skills to college admissions officers. When the numbers stop the letter grades take over. Performance reviews grade us above, below or at expectations.
But who needs another number to live by. I have enough benchmarks to benchmark off of, thank you. I have my chronological age and my “real age” determined by my lifestyle and genetics. My real weight and my driver’s license weight.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that real earnings are falling or stagnant, not that I needed to anyone to tell me the obvious. Investment projections sit stalled on the launching pad. The value of my home? Let’s not talk about it.

So while I guess having clout is better than having no clout just like being popular is probably better than being unpopular – at least it was in high school and in one of my early jobs when having lunch with the boss was a sure sign of good things to come – I don’t want to play the popularity game anymore.

My online friends are real friends or at least someone I met once with whom I don’t mind sharing a mundane daily event – “gluten free pancakes today, not so bad,” or exciting news – “published!” I link in with people I know. Really. If I don’t know you the invitation sits in pending purgatory.

At this point you might be ready to say, “Liar, liar, pants on fire. You have a blog and it’s connected to your online networks. You love it if someone “likes” something you write or shares it with their friends.” Oh – maybe that’s my conscious speaking.

Yes, the above is true. Guilty as charged. But I much prefer increasing my reach organically versus strategically building my Klout score. For if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that if someone doesn’t want me eating at his table, then maybe it’s a table I don’t want to be eating at either. Or maybe I’m just not ready for that table. Or it’s his loss, not mine. Believe me, I’ve learned many things about this popularity game.

So, to the young woman with Klout score induced depression I suggest taking a deep breath and then getting back to doing what comes naturally. Reach out and respond to others. Share interesting ideas. Link. Friend. Like. Tweet like a bird. Yelp like a dog. Digg it or don’t. Just don’t push it. Real clout and influence will come when the time is right and not a minute too soon or too late.


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