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The Social Media Echo Chamber Springs Into Action!

November 20th, 2010 · 24 Comments

If you read Thursday’s blog post about Measuring a Social Media Expert and the multitude of comments then you’re up to speed, if not go read it first.

Notice the 50 plus comments some filled with vitrol and personal insults about how this is the worst way to measure a social media expert.

Then take a look at the comments on this forum with a very different reaction by a different group of marketing people.  Notice how the pack mentality went in another direction?

  • Yeah, I’d pretty much go with most of that. I can certainly tick most of those boxes. I’d also however suggest that they should have a track record in publications – either books or journal articles as well. Of course, anyone who calls themself an expert or guru isn’t.
  • I’d also suggest that anyone who claims to be an expert/guru/whatever, probably isn’t one.
  • thought it was an interesting view from a clients perspective
    I’d too be wary of calling myself an expert / guru – thats for the client to decide and based on the blog stats, I’m not yet one.
  • The only one I fail on is having over 1,000 Facebook friends Crying or Very sad It’s a decent enough list to start with though.
  • I fail on LinkedIn (have around 200 contacts rather than 500) but plan on addressing that.  I’m also not all that strong on using multiple other social sites. I’ve primarily focused upon Facebook and Twitter…

So what’s going on here?

Why are the Social Media Experts reacting so strongly to this, when other groups see this as a reasonable proposal?  I believe that it’s because the social media echo chamber has lost the ability to view what we do from the perspective of an outsider.  If you view the problem as if you are seeing it for the first time you realize that you need a touchstone of  something that you are familiar with and which is objective.

Most of the comments on Thursday’s post about Measuring a Social Media Expert talk about using money or references or a body of work as the measurement.  Forget about the numbers because they are too easily gamed, you said.   It seems pretty easy to me to get a cell phone or Google Voice Number and stick a voice mail message on it that says “Thank you for calling Mr Bigg, Sr. Vice President of Ultra Huge Brand Name Company, we love Chris Kieff’s social media work!  He’s the best there is.”  (Yes Mr. Sucker I’m giving you Mr. Biggs private cell phone number so you don’t need to bother with that big company’s switchboard.)

It’s very easy for any snake oil salesman to say, “See that Doritos commercial on the Super Bowl?  I DID THAT!”  And it’s not so easy to check that out.  He can say I worked for Pepsi, and IBM, and I taught Tony at Zappos and Gary Vaynerchuck everything they ever learned about social media.  And they would all be lies.  And you would have a hard time figuring them out, if you ever could. And people have been faking this kind of stuff for a lot longer than they have been building BS social networks on Twitter and Facebook! That kind of crap doesn’t take any special computer skills it just takes a little time and the ability to lie.

Of course the numbers can be gamed.  So can the phone call to the references , the tax return, and a whole lot more- ask Bernie Madoff.

Suppose you are working for a mid sized company with a small marketing budget (which I’ve done).  And further suppose your boss said to you, “I know you don’t have any social media experience but we need to find someone to tell us how to get started.”   The first thing you will do is jump on Google.

My recommended numbers are a good place to start.  And a lot of people who are outside of the Social Media  Echo Chamber agree with me.  The numbers are not the whole story, or even the major part of it.  But I do believe in my heart that this is a good place for people to begin to judge someone coming in from the “Wild West”.

When you’re sitting down across the table from me you can and should ask me “Chris, why doesn’t your Facebook Page have 250 friends?”  And I’ll squirm a little bit and talk about how my page isn’t as important as my clients pages.  And this will give you an opportunity to read my honesty.  Where you can employ the best tool you have – your brain.

To the majority of my Social Media Expert friends who left comments on Thursday I say this:

It is far, far easier for people to game the references and contacts and experience than it is to game the numbers in social media sites.

Experts disagree every day.

And you and I do about this.

Give me 1 good reason why any of the other measures suggested in the comments on Thursday’s post can’t be just as easily, if not more easily gamed, than the numbers measurement I propose?

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24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 9 Point Social Media Expert Evaluation // Nov 20, 2010 at 9:16 am

    [...] My rebuttal to the comments here are in this post. [...]

  • 2 Ike // Nov 20, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Chris, please don’t take the criticism of your post as a personal attack.

    Your reaction here includes a question at the end that’s a false dichotomy.

    “I said this, and The Social Media Echo Chamber said That — which is better?”

    The “That” you are proposing as the alternative isn’t at all what was proffered as an alternative.

    But let’s get beyond this for a moment.

    I know a LOT of people who beat me on nearly every single one of your original metrics. And you know what? They routinely do and say really dumb things within this space. Some of them ask me for advice here and there. I’m ashamed to say that I often help them, or answer their questions which end up helping their clients.

    (Actually, there is one metric of yours I can’t rate. I just can’t bring myself to create a Fan Page for Ike Pigott. I guess that makes me a poser, right? No.)

    I don’t know that I’d use such a small sample size from Aardvark to buttress the position, either. The fact that a flock of sheep WANTS to take Nyquil before facing the wolves doesn’t make it a good idea for the shepherd to endorse.

    Bottom line — I appreciate what you were trying to do with that post. It’s a problem, because what we do is SO new it doesn’t match up to any of the previous organizational silos. There is no certification process.

    But what you’ve done is proffer a system that rewards complete self-promotion, and ignores results. You might as well pick your ad agency based on the awards it has won, instead of valuing a firm that spends its time on clients and not award entries. By relying so heavily on shaky quantitative measures, you create the illusion that More is Better. (If we did a poll of the same people who thought your list was reasonable, how many would admit to comparing the numbers between people, and assuming those with more followers/connections are automatically better?)

    I look at a guy like Josh Hallett, whose been doing this longer than virtually any “guru” you could name. He would fail most of the metrics you mention, because he’s not out there with his thumb pointing to himself.

    I suggest a different approach… develop a series of questions to ask of a prospective Social Media Consultant. That would be far more instructive, useful, tangible, and less prone to be gamed.

  • 3 Chris Kieff // Nov 20, 2010 at 10:18 am

    As experts in the field we see gaming the system as something that’s easy to do. And so do the the experts in any field.
    But the simple truth is that thieves and fakers are lazy and they take the easiest path success. Which isn’t learning enough about social media to game the system. But is rather to do the same things they’ve done before by faking references and taking credit for someone else’s work.
    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  • 4 Leigh Durst // Nov 20, 2010 at 11:13 am


    Nothing I said to you, or several others said to you in your last post was vitriol or a personal attack. There was plenty of respectful disagreement – some of which was painstakingly assembled and referred to each one of your points.

    What your easily discount here is a group of intelligent,people who are actively delivering in the field… who agree that you are wrong, Chris. Calling us an echo chamber disregards their contributions — snarky or not.

    As Ike points out, Fan Pages aren’t for everyone. You overemphasize numbers and tools and completely underestimate client delivery. What’s worse is that with these assertions, you also create a cookie cutter formula for “social media success” that is not reliable or accurate.

    We ALL deal with snark and vitriol. People get worked up about this stuff. However, your emphasis on those comments, at the expense of other comments, to me is patently unfair and smells a bit like link bait.

    I like you, Chris – but I don’t like what I”m seeing here. Especially since most of the people who left feedback are people who will (and who have) publicly defended you. However, I am surprised at your position here and find it undermines my faith in you.

    With regard to your question — anyone who would buy the claims of an expert showing a Doritos Commercial and claiming to work with GaryVaynerchuck deserves what they get. There are ton of people out there full of crap and a lot of them have NUMBERS.

    But that’s not how most reputable people source contractors, employees or agencies. I have a decent digital media footprint. I use Facebook for real-life connections, not social media networking. I don’t have a Fan Page because it’s not right for me. I’m also an admin on more than my share of very successful ones. 100% of my client work is word-of-mouth and every one of my clients – Fortune 100 to SMBs — will tell you that I deliver very solid results. That’s a helluva lot harder to game than a Facebook or Twitter following, and I don’t need a Facebook page, or 50 linked in recommendations to bring this to the table.

    The truth is, we all use the tools differently. In the end, the proof is in the delivery – not just the digital empire one creates for oneself. THAT is the true echo chamber and there are more than a few that are mesmerized by it.

    Seems to me that rather than deriding the echo chamber, you just chose one to live in. So, consider this my echo of one.

  • 5 Chris Kieff // Nov 20, 2010 at 11:40 am

    You are absolutely right that most of the comments on my blog are decent and fair minded. Many of the comments on other sites and in Twitter and Facebook have been much less so. I apologize for allowing my reactions to those comments to color my response here.
    As for link baiting, it would have been so if I had linked to Gary or Tony, or to any of the other sites talking about this topic. But I’ve not linked to anything. It’s sad that every time I write a popular post I’m accused of link baiting. I think it would be disingenuous to fail to respond to the 60+ comments I’ve received without a clarification of my thoughts. But it is clear that whatever path I take now will be criticized by some.
    I think that you and I both know that any one trying to fool a client wouldn’t use Gary or Dorito’s as their examples. And any fool who uses my blog post as the sole criteria to judge someone they hire is a fool who will soon and often be parted from their money. I think this should be one arrow in the quiver of the hiring authority. Nothing more and nothing less. The comments which treat this as the sole and dominant criteria for hiring anyone are foolishly oversimplifying this matter. Because in the real world people aren’t that simple or foolish.
    Leigh, I respect you and your opinion of me- I’m sorry that we differ on this concept, but hope to remain friends. Thank you for taking the time to tell me of your thoughts.

  • 6 Rich Becker // Nov 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm


    Paul Gauguin influenced Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, André Derain, Fauvism, Cubism and Orphism, among others. But he was less popular in his day than all of them.

    By your suggested measures, Gauguin was foolish to leave everything artificial and conventional. He could have painted in the classical style and made a living. Maybe he was foolish, but his ability to live by the values he set were admirable. And the world is a better place because it.

    My point is that unless you know the intent of someone’s personal account or the outcomes of their programs or the strategy behind their presence, you cannot place any value on it based on mere numbers. It could very well be that there are reasons for lower numbers across any group of numbers, such as keeping a Facebook account more personal as opposed to professional.

    I don’t think this so called echo chamber attacked your ideas as much as they pointed out that your quantifiable measures encourages the fakers and gamers to fluff up those numbers while never doing the hard work. And that’s sad.

    Sure, I see you point that people who don’t participate in social media are hardly experts if they don’t participate on some level. But setting benchmarks based on arbitrary numbers won’t open dialogues as you suggest and it won’t fix anything other than stacking the deck against brilliant upstarts (and there are some) much in the same way a talented young writer might be shunned for not having the opportunity to see he or her work in print yet. And that’s a shame.

    All my best,

  • 7 Michael Cohn // Nov 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm


    While your two articles did not nail down a strong definition for a social media expert, here are some lessons learned from your articles:

    1. Without controversy and disagrements there wil be no dialogs and the world would be boring.

    2. Good controversy and disagrements turns viral. You should capitalize on that and use it as a strategy in your social media marketing campaigns.

    3. Viral controversy generates traffic.

    Chris, you do get an A+ on this. Keep these controversial blogs coming.

  • 8 Steve Radick // Nov 20, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    +1 to Ike’s comment.

    I also have to add that you experienced so much pushback to your original post because you framed them as ways for people to weed through the gluttony of social media experts and filter the wheat from the chaff. In reality, the metrics you mentioned in your original doesn’t do anything of the sort. What it does do though, is give some good goals to people who are looking to build their personal brand. Read Geoff Livingston’s posts on the subject (http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/2008/11/06/i-dont-care-about-your-personal-brand/) for some frame of reference. Just because YOU have 2,000 Twitter followers or just because YOU have 1,000 Facebook friends doesn’t mean give me any indication that you can do it for me or my business. They’re just numbers, as everyone has made very clear in the comments, those can be gained. Your argument that people can fake references or claim work they never did also falls short in this day and age. Yes, for years, people have been able to do this, but in the world of social media, it’s really really difficult to fake this – in your own examples, if I claimed that I taught Tony and Gary everything they know, the first people to call me out would be Tony and Gary, not to mention thousands of their closest friends :). It’s not as hard to figure out if people are lying about their social media accomplishments as you make it out to be.

    Fundamentally, identifying the right social media expert isn’t done via the white pages and some checklist. It’s a referral business. Find people you trust and talk with them and see who they recommend for your unique situation. That’s the best and easiest way to find your social media expert.

  • 9 Let’s “de-friend” all self-proclaimed social media experts! | Human 1.0 // Nov 20, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    [...] Others, including Danny Brown weren’t quite as delicate in telling Chris that this was bad advice – and I really cannot blame them. Chris came back with a lame rebuttal, typical of self-proclaimed social media experts’ discourse with the pot calling the kettle black – calling the feedback he got coming from the “social media echo chamber.” [...]

  • 10 Martyn Hodgson // Nov 20, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    For the small simple tradesmen who doesn’t understand SM, he’ll grab the easiest numbers he finds to form an initial judgement – which are those outlined in Chris’ blog.
    We can debate all we like about how wrong it is but it’s life. And yes it opens the door to the wrong types.
    I climb mountains. Often the middle sized ones are the best value ones but everyone wants to climb the highest ones. We’re all human and are attracted by the biggest numbers.
    If you’re telling an SME owner he needs 250 Facebook fans and you only have 50, he may well wonder why you don’t practice what you preach. Despite you having plenty of recommendations.
    I agree the metrics are not the way to properly assess a SM “Expert”, a term I’d never use, but I’m conscious it’ll happen anyway until some other simple to understand metric exists in its place.
    Agree also with previous poster – really enjoyable and educational debate. Thanks

  • 11 Let’s “de-friend” all self-proclaimed social media experts! // Nov 20, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    [...] Others, including Danny Brown weren’t quite as delicate in telling Chris that this was bad advice – and I really cannot blame them. Chris came back with a lame rebuttal, typical of self-proclaimed social media experts’ discourse with the pot calling the kettle black – calling the feedback he got coming from the “social media echo chamber.” [...]

  • 12 Lucretia Pruitt // Nov 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    “Notice the 50 plus comments some filled with vitrol and personal insults about how this is the worst way to measure a social media expert”

    Oh Chris – I am so sorry if my comment came across in any way vitriolic or insulting.

    I feel very strongly on this subject because I have had the misfortune to *know* many people who are gaming these numbers. I know how they do it. I sat on a panel at Blogworld Expo in 2009 with Jesse Stay, Micah Baldwin, Aaron Strout, and Reem Abeido on how to game Twitter. I worked with Jim Turner in his investigation into it.

    I’m one of those people who once I know something has been done & can be done? Needs to go figure out how it was done. Unfortunately, that leads me to a lot of places I kind of wish I didn’t know existed. It’s like finding out how a magician does his tricks. Suddenly you stop being in awe and start looking for where the tiger is hidden in the cage.

    I don’t disagree with you that metrics are a good place to start. But the part of your post that I 100% agreed with is the “use your brain” point. And I think maybe because it was last, some people didn’t give it the weight it deserved.

    Anyone has to start somewhere in their search. Google? Word-of-Mouth? Other measurements like the ones you listed? They are all starting points. Anyone who doesn’t do their due diligence should expect that they may be dealing with a snake oil salesman, or they may just have gotten lucky.

    I hate that your post became a focus for the frustrations so many of us feel when we see someone with 100k+ twitter followers and 5k+ LinkedIn and 5k Facebook and we *know* that person is a gamer. And we *know* that there will be clients who don’t use your last point and the one you make here. And we *know* that all of our reputations suffer because of it.

    Unfortunately, that is what ignites such an extreme reaction. Not the post itself – but the knowledge of those who know that these are good starting points and so position themselves to be first in line, rather than best in line.

    I can’t get thru the link to the forum you quote above. It says not found on the server. But I wish I could.

    The echo chamber is a tricky place to live… there is a lot of knowledge and a lot of inspiration to be had there – but stepping outside of it often is a good reality check. Thanks for reminding us all.

  • 13 Jacob // Nov 20, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    If I wanted to hire someone to get my website to the first page of Google I would ‘interview” a few companies and /or consultants. If one company showed up on page one and another on page 1000 I would be very unlikely to go the the guy on page 1000.

    If you want me to hire you to plan and execute my internet marketing strategy and I can’t find you or your website/blog through Google, you have 50 Facebook friends, no Facebook business page, 12 twitter followers, and 15 Linkedin connections, I would have to be out of my mind to hire you.

    I find it strange that there is so much resistance to quantifying some sort of minimum standards or benchmarks that business owners could use when they are hiring social media marketers/consultants.

    So much attention has been paid to how easy it is to “Game the numbers”. Welcome to the real world. As Chris mentioned you can lie about anything and people have been lying forever about everything. If you are going to spend your money you do your due diligence and investigate a bit or you take your chances.

    Worth repeating, the 9 points are just one set of criteria to use. If my social media consultant has a puny social media presence I have cause for concern. The 9 points will get you in my door, but then you have to convince me that you have the experience, knowledge, skill, and integrity to produce the results I need for my business.

    It is clear to me that Chris has started a discussion that has a great deal of merit and should be continued.

  • 14 Chris Kieff // Nov 20, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    As I said earlier to Leigh, I’m sorry that I allowed my emotions take over in this post. The vast majority of people have conducted themselves with dignity, and you are very high up on that list. Please understand that it is not directed at you personally. It’s mainly a result of posts on other sites, not in this blog.
    I guess that I see it more simply. I think that people who game things will do it the easiest way possible and that’s not, IMO by using Twitter and Facebook to do it. It’s far simpler to game people with a fake reference letter from Coca-Cola than it is to wait 3 months to get 10,000 followers.
    I’m not saying it’s not done. And I’m not saying this the answer- far from it. But I think it is a valuable touch stone in a world where people have too little time to do the proper background checks to find out who they are dealing with.

  • 15 Rhona Bronson // Nov 20, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    The point of both blogs is “how to access expertise.” It’s similar to the age-old marketing questions of “how to measure success.” Measurement is always tricky as metrics frequently measure the wrong things and success then is either non-existent, or existent and invisible because of the lack of measurements.

    Point one — take a deep breath Chris and consider the blog post immensely successful, because the comments really measured up.

    Point two — there are expert used car salesmen with high numbers who are still considered hucksters. The goal is to find a way to access expertise in the social media realm and separate the hucksters with high numbers from the real experts — people such as Seth Godin who don’t even have comments on their blogs or dabble in Facebook.

    I’ve met many social media people in the last two years and yet can’t seem to find one who gives me a sense of confidence for investing in him or her for a very real project I have. Now, that’s a real problem.

    Many people have Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, and even Google rankings, but what can you do for me that would make me hire you for my project? That’s the real question that if answered separates the experts from the dabblers.

  • 16 Scott Allen @ OneCoach // Nov 20, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    You raise an interesting point, Chris, about some of the other measures suggested being easily… well, here’s the difference. The things you originally suggested are easily gamed, whereas the other things that were suggested in the comments that you bring up here are easily *falsified*. This is an important distinction.

    Someone saying, “I have 50,000 Twitter followers and can get that many for you, too,” is just misguided. Someone saying, “See that Doritos commercial on the Super Bowl? I DID THAT!” is outright *lying*. There’s a difference between lack of competence and lack of integrity.

    Regarding comparing the responses on the forum to the responses on your blog:

    1) There were only actually responses from four people on that forum — two were from the same person. That’s hardly a representative sample. You could easily pick out four blog comments that were in a more positive tone.

    2) Those are only the people who chose to reply on the forum. How many others clicked through and replied here on the blog? Which, I’m thinking, the more social-media-savvy ones would do.

    3) As far as “Why are the Social Media Experts reacting so strongly to this, when other groups see this as a reasonable proposal?” I’m not saying you’re wrong about the echo chamber — in fact, I think you’re absolutely correct that many in the social media world have a hard time seeing what we do from the perspective of an outsider.

    That said, I’ll still take Occam’s Razor — the simplest explanation is probably the right one: social media experts know more about what makes a social media expert qualified or not.

    A patient may be a better judge of a doctor’s bedside manner, but who do you think is a better judge of their surgical skill? A patient or a fellow doctor?

    Frankly, in general this is a problem with review sites. A responsible buyer should also look at expert reviews, not just customer reviews.

    It’s ironic — many of the metrics you propose reflect, to some extent, the popularity of a social media expert within the social media echo chamber. And yet, when that echo chamber disagrees with you, you’re getting defensive. Food for thought.

  • 17 Tweets that mention The Social Media Echo Chamber Springs Into Action! -- Topsy.com // Nov 21, 2010 at 2:51 am

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Chris Kieff, Daniel Chow. Daniel Chow said: The Social Media Echo Chamber Springs Into Action! http://goo.gl/fb/MVSoW #twitter [...]

  • 18 Chris Kieff // Nov 21, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Scott, thank you for the well reasoned and thoughtful response. I’ll give it some careful thought.

  • 19 Steve Woodruff // Nov 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm


    I think your original post provided some baseline guidelines to at least winnow out a certain class of folks who aren’t actively involved in social networking. The fact that such measures CAN be gamed does mean that, for many, it will be relegated to secondary status (confirmatory; or, as was stated above, enough to get in the door).

    Primary would have to be evidence of this: “Have you successfully delivered a desired business result using social networking as part of a larger strategy? And, can the people you did this for/with vouch for your character and competence?” A provable, positive response to this is way better than any other metric.

    And, of course, it’s the same metric we should always use – and have always used – for every endeavor – just swap out the social media part for something else.

  • 20 Jacob // Nov 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Chris wrote a blog that addressed the issue of how does someone go about hiring a company/consultant to do “social media” work for them. This is a very broad arena. The small business owner will probably have different criteria than the VP at a fortune 500 company. This is a very valid question and only a few of the responses really offered any concrete criteria. Many of the responses discounted everything mentioned in the original blog and a few acknowledged that it was a good starting point.

    Its seems as if the strongest objections came from people who think that they are proficient in providing social media media services to their many customers, most of whom they obtained by word of mouth. These people are very fortunate, referrals are the best way to get business. This industry is in its infancy as it matures things will change. Word of mouth and referrals will not be enough to fill most of the social media companies/consultants pipeline. The market will be more competitive. Customers will be more savy. How will you compete with someone who exceeds all of the 9 points, has great testimonials and references. Are you going to tell a customer who needs a Facebook business page that you can set one up, although you don’t have one, (but your competitor does). When your prospect asks for your Klout score are you going to tell him it doesn’t measure your abilities on Twitter, (but your competitor has a 40+score).

    People have derided the term “expert” but, you know what, given the choice and the budget, I want to hire an expert.

    I think that his post hit a nerve because the other side of how to choose a social media expert is, how does a social media expert find new clients, close more deals, and generate more business.

    Chris, hats off to you for a very success post.

  • 21 Ike // Nov 21, 2010 at 8:58 pm


    I am not a Social Media Consultant. I have an in-house job in industry.

    But if I were hanging a shingle, and a prospective client asked me for my Klout score, I’d wonder why they’d want to hire me.

    My beef with Chris’ methodology is that it was almost completely quantitative.

    Now… if you handed this list to someone at a Rotary meeting, and let them use it to judge, who would they hire?

    A) with 8,000 Twitter followers; a 2-year-old blog; Klout of 55; and successful clients?


    B) with 30,000 Twitter followers; a 4-year-old blog; and Klout of 65.

    Chris’ list would point the uninitiated at candidate B, and you know it. “More is better,” right?

    I have no skin in this game, other than NOT wanting people to get scammed. Chris’ VERY well-intentioned list is Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket into scam-land. It empowers the posers more than it weeds them out.

    Think about that.

    Want to know what happens to posers?


  • 22 Jacob // Nov 22, 2010 at 10:31 am


    As both Chris and I have stated, these criteria are only one factor in the hiring process, perhaps equivalent to the education portion of a resume. Hiring based only on the nine points would be simplistic and foolish. References, work history, testimonials, etc would all be factors. Probably the most important factor for me would be a face to face interview where I would get a feel for who they are and do they really know what they are talking about.

    In your choice above I would make the determination based on all of the factors I just mentioned. What would you do if you had choice C) 55 twitter followers, no blog, and a Klout score of 2?

  • 23 Ike // Nov 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Jacob… that example is so low as to be laughable.

    I am a firm believer that most of our problems are really just the Unintended Consequences of well-intentioned but ill-suited “solutions” to yesterday’s problem.

    Chris is a smart guy, and he and I agree there is a problem here.

    Where we differ is not on whether his 9-Points will solve that problem — but rather if they will create more collateral damage.

    If potential clients started asking pointed questions about Klout scores and blog subscribers and whatever else became the Metric-du-Jour, then the Posers and the Fakes would just amp up those scores as needed, buying the followers if necessary. Additionally, they would kick those scores as high as they needed to prove competitive dominance over other practitioners — even though they would have NO bearing on the results achieved for the client.

    There are a crap-load of marketing and advertising firms out there, and they do splendid work. The last time I checked, there was no certification for them, either. I could hang a shingle and be an Ad Man tomorrow, if I so chose.

    Extending Chris’ logic, I should only seek to do business with ad agencies that have produced commercials for themselves! (Oh, you haven’t aired a :30 for your services? Sorry…)

    Surely if Widgetmakers who don’t know squat about traditional advertising can find a decent ad agency to promote their product, they can use the same common sense to find Social Media help, if that’s what they need or want. Throwing it all into meaningless metrics plants unfair expectations in the mind of the client, and creates a bogus baseline from which to start. That isn’t healthy for the client, and ultimately it’s not healthy for the industry… and THAT is why you’re seeing a backlash here.

  • 24 Ari Herzog // Nov 22, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Everyone is right and everyone is wrong, so stop fighting and start loving.

    Who cares what defines an expert, whether in social media or auto mechanics? I don’t. I will continue to turn to people who come recommended from peer review and ask them to perform a job. Are those people experts? It doesn’t matter. If they do the job well, they get recommended to other people. If they suck at it, their reputation by me will follow them around.

    It doesn’t matter what the social media echo chamber says, Chris, because the echo chamber is just a term as ambiguous as an expert.

    P.S. Please email me if you reply, for you don’t have any way for me to subscribe to comment replies.