Authority on Twitter: Based on what?

The topic of the weekend is Loic LeMeur’s call for “search by authority” which people like or dislike. Arrington today put this down as a simple feature request, namely being able to sort twitter search-results by number of followers/following/# of tweets. I think most people have no trouble with the latter, but are hung up on calling this “authority”.

I agree for once with Robert Scoble that the metric is highly game-able. However, even if not, I wouldn’t all a mix of “followers/following/# of tweets” authority: The beauty of twitter is that there is a bunch of data out there, but the usage you derive from it is completely up to your behaviour.

Whom you follow, what do you track, how do you tweet. Not without thinking people have decided to have groups with tweets by @arrington, @jowyang, @scobleizer and @stevegillmor in one subset, another with @wayne_gretzky, @eklund and @thehockeycardshow. A CEO might have a lot to say, but only choose to follow @dbfarber, @rands, @cc_chapman and @stevepavlina. Where does that put his authority? In my view this contradicts the notion that it is not important how many readers a blog has, but who reads it.

Sure, a search results page with the “followers/following/# of tweets” would help you get a first impression. But does that help you? Lately, many people have added me who have loads of followers. But I have never heard of them. That is not a bad thing, but there is no trust based on numbers, and to me, authority has something to do with trust!

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What’s the value I create?

The last couple of days I have begun assessing the last year, looking at what happened, what did I achieve and produce, where did I create value. At the same time, I started jotting down some goals for next year (C.C. Chapman recommended starting early, not January 2nd, and what C.C. recommends gets done in this household).

If I mention the word value too often for your taste, please excuse, but I am still reading Steve Pavlina’s book Personal Development for Smart People and value is one of the topics.

One reason that inspired me to write this post is the question, why do almost 1,000 people follow me on twitter.com? What is their reasoning? Am I providing them with value? How? Do the like…
to see the constant conversations with @rednix or @rbw?
to not miss me critizising everything that doesn’t work according to me thinking?
to read my tweets because I am so funny?
to read about my work or my podcast projects?
to read my tweets because I am a running encyclopedia for Friends quotes?
to read about my son, my iPhone or my cooking?
to read my tweets because I have so many followers and the can’t be wrong?
to read my tweets because I am ranked high on some lists (here)?
to read my tweets because I am sometimes quick to post upcoming stories?
to read my tweets because I have such great taste in music?
(feel free to post an answer in the comments)

You see, I have tweeted quite a bit, and just by looking at any list, many tweeple around me, have something the general public knows them fore. Successful reputation management and communications consultant, speaker, author, none of the above but interesting hairdo, software architect, CEO, conference guy, journalist and so on. In your eyes, what is my area of expertise? And if you don’t know how to answer that, what is your interest in my writing/life? By all means, I don’t want you to go away, please stay. I am just wondering if I should get more crisps or post another book report, metaphorically speaking.

Well, now that I know, back to the last year and next year. I like Timo’s post about his reading list. That’s close to two books a month. Not bad at all, though I think we should challenge him to read even more next year. I was just looking at my Visual Bookshelf but it turns out there is no record of “when did I mark this book as read” (and now, I am not going to search the mini-feed). Why is it that one only sees the bad stuff later?
I used to read more, but with the offspring hopping about and unsteady sleep cylces, I think I am about to 20 books for 2008. That should increase in 2009 though, and “Join the Conversation” needs to be among the first titles done in 2009. I wrote a 5-year-plan after reading Getting things Done in 2004/5 and “authoring an article” is still open. While I am happy that an episode of the Kanal 14-podcast was circulated in the current t3n-issue, and that the Speaking English Podcast was part of an ad campaign, and that it is now available via satellite tv, for some reason I want that article published.
Last year was great for the English Podcast as a whole, now doubt. I don’t have the daily figures, but my estimate is that we’ll have 750k total views for the year. And with this number in the back, there has got to come a sponsor aboard. Period. And maybe I’ll do some English teaching too, I am just not sure how that would scale.
Oh, and I think I should be speaking too. Coming back to the intro question, what do you see me speaking about? I have a pretty good feeling it will have something to do with going green. We’ll see. For now, I have decided to speak truthfully to my followers:

Stat of the day: I lost 1/3 subscribers with career move post

To be honest, I had hoped for some feedback on my announcement that I moved from the PR unit into the advertising unit. That I had chosen to work with clients from the renewables sector. But I guess I did not anticipate that almost a third of my readers (aka 40-50) took that as a cue to unsubscribe.
I mean, it’s not that I constantly wrote about PR before, so I am not foreseeing me constantly writing about advertising now. But hey, that is the freedom of RSS.
I’ll just have to write more compelling posts that lure new readers.

Career changes: From PR to renewable advertising

I realize I had hinted at changes in my podcast and in previous blog entries, but I guess I never actually articulated it. A recent conversation with a friend brought that back to attention so I guess it is time to spill the beans, even if that is half a year late. I only made subtle changes to my Xing/LinkedIn profiles so that didn’t raise attention.

The short version is that I moved from the PR team to the advertising unit of our agency, also taking on more internal organizational work.

The longer version begins with November 2002, when a student job in a PR/advertising agency turned into an internship into a full-time position. I never planned for a career in PR, it dropped in my lap and I ran with it. Not bad, too, I’d like to think. But you know as well as I do that you can only achieve so much when the heart is not 110% in it. Passion. Missing. Ever since it became clear that one of the accounts I was handling was not going to be continued at our agency, my motivation was down. That client was sort of the last straw. It also proved to be a topical connector to what I am doing now.

Because, apart from the fact that I got tired of PR, I was looking to work on something with more purpose. A topic. Therefore, an intercompany change proved to be a logical conclusion: Since 2004, the ad unit of WBN (there, I said it) has been gaining a strong foot in the renewables market in Germany, handling clients from pv, wind and biomass sectors. I am still communicating with clients and 3rd parties, just more on an organizational scale than with an interest in selling, if you know what I mean.

Internally too, the time was not only right then, but high to relaunch the agency’s homepage which we did very efficiently and quickly (Thomas Gigold did the CSS and troubleshooting). Two weeks ago I have begun publishing almost daily "green links" on the site (I know, another blog…), merging passions.  Of course, there is an RSS feed which you can subscribe to, too.

As for the Web 2.0 stuff, you may have noticed that I am no longer writing the blog for Ligx which leaves fring as our only active account in that area. However, being on the ad unit gives me way more options to consult clients on where it is possible, feasible and sensible to integrate social media tools. And naturally, the knowledge is still here and will be applied, if needed…

As I tweeted yesterday, I massively added "green/environmental"-feeds to my RSS-reader to expand my scope, and as stated earlier today, I totally intend to be more active when it comes to CO2-reduction, power-saving and other environmental issues.

That is it in a nut shell. Already, I made great connections, worked on motivating projects and we have two very cool announcements to come hopefully this year, so stay tuned!

And if you’d like to check out projects we have done, you may click here. Some logos have references linked.