2012 Tony Awards preview

The 66th annual Tony Awards are Sunday night, so I’ve curated some content to help you get ready for that.

And finally, a Storify with some links and videos to check out before the show:

[View the story “2012 Tony Awards preview” on Storify]

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Filed under Curation

Companies can’t afford to provide poor customer service

Super Punch had a post last week titled “Dell laptops are terribly low quality and you shouldn’t buy one,” and the post convinced me as much. The comments in response to the post are mixed, some agreeing with his point and some testifying they’ve never had problems with Dell.

I understand that equipment can malfunction, but I totally feel his frustration with the customer service. Dell is the big loser in this situation, though, because while the problem with the computer has gone away, the blog post won’t. The great thing about the Internet is we are able to share our experiences — good and bad — with our peers and other people who stumble upon our words. And that’s why companies can’t afford to give their customers bad service.

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Filed under Blogs, Social Media, The Internetz, What I'm reading

Be Nice on the Internet Week!

The Internet can be a cold, dark place. Something about anonymity and not having to actually look at the person with whom you’re conversing makes people a little meaner, ruder, angrier and overall unpleasant. But Real Simple is trying to make it a little brighter. Today kicks off Be Nice on the Internet Week.

I love the idea of encouraging people to be nicer on the Internet, but I’m not thrilled with Real Simple wanting readers to sign up for emails to learn about being nicer on the Internet. That seems like some sort of a ploy just to grab email addresses, which I know is a vital part of running successful email marketing campaigns. (Well, it seems like I’m not exactly starting this week off on the right foot.)

Anyway, be nice on the Internet — this week and every week! Criticism is valid and a constructive part of being connected to the world, but no need to be harsh with it.

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Filed under Magazines, The Internetz, What I'm reading

Resolve to learn how to code this year

I realize the new year is already a week old, but that means you’ve already broken your resolution, right? So here’s a new one: learn to code.

I was tipped off on this from Shana McDanold’s blog The Randomness That is Life, emailed to me by Sue Fensore.

For Code Year, you’ll be emailed a new lesson each week. The Code Year website states:

Make your New Year’s resolution learning to code. Sign up on Code Year to get a new interactive programming lesson sent to you each week and you’ll be building apps and web sites before you know it.

Oh, and it’s free.

If you’re interested in getting more lessons in code, Codecademy is a pretty great resource for that. It even shows your progress and gives you nifty badges for unlocking levels – kind of reminds me of a video game.

screenshot of my progress on Codecademy

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Awful Library Books blog

One of my favorite blogs is Awful Library Books, which spotlights — you guessed it — awful library books. Some books just need to be weeded from the shelves, but there are others that make you wonder why a librarian would have selected the item in the first place.

A recent entry in the blog is a case of the latter. The post on the book “I Am Wings: Poems About Love” is incredible. The poetry is terrible. If you need a laugh, check out that blog post (and go ahead, keep reading through the rest of the blog).

So what kind of libraries would have this book? According to WorldCat, “I Am Wings” is in 628 libraries, including Cleveland Public Library, which has 11 copies in CLEVNET. Tempting to put a hold request on this …

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Filed under Blogs, What I'm reading

Is Klout really ‘the standard for influence’?

I don’t want to just seem bitter about the drop in my Klout score when Klout changed how scores are calculated. But, boy, did my score take a hit.

From Klout’s blog:

Influence is the ability to drive action and is based on quality, not quantity. When someone engages with your content, we assess that action in the context of the person’s own activity. These principles form the basis of our PeopleRank algorithm which determines your Score based on:

  • how many people you influence,
  • how much you influence them and
  • how influential they are.

What confuses me about the calculation is the emphasis on quality over quantity. Surely having interactions of higher quality is more important in social media engagement than just the sheer number, but how does Klout determine quality?

I have two Twitter accounts — thus, two Klout scores. The Klout score associated with the Twitter account I use for my job — which includes quite a bit of social media — dropped several points. The Klout score associated with my social account is significantly higher (36 vs. 47, as of early Wednesday).

I use my professional Twitter account much more than my social account, posting tweets with links and information about happenings in the news and around the newsroom. I post dozens of tweets a day on my professional account. My social account, on the other hand, might see dozens of posts a week — and that probably will only happen if I’m checking in to Get Glue or conversing with my friends. Posts associated with my professional account are of much higher quality — breaking news, published articles, blogs, infographics, weather alerts, scanner traffic, etc. Isn’t all of that more valuable than the book I’m reading or a restaurant in Columbus I want to go to? The latter examples might spark conversation with my Twitter friends — both my IRL friends and those I only know through Twitter — but the former examples certainly are worth more, right? At least, that’s what I’d like to think, or else I’m going about using Twitter in my professional life all wrong.

(Yes, I know that Klout scores are based on more than Twitter, but that is the social network I use most frequently. My Facebook activity is mostly related to updating my professional page [linked with my professional-related Klout account] and “liking” photos of my niece posted by my sister and brother-in-law [activity related to my personal Facebook page, linked with my personal-related Klout account].)

I would really like to see Klout linked with bit.ly, a service I use 90 percent of the time I want to shorten a URL or link someone to another website. View my public timeline to see how many clicks my shortened URLs get. Yes, some of them get the big ol’ goose egg, but just recently, the links I shortened in a week’s time had nearly 2,000 clicks. Often the links I shorten are posted in multiple places (such as my Twitter account, my newsroom’s main Twitter account, my newsroom’s Facebook page, within text on blogs and stories on my newsrooms website, etc.), but that 2,000 clicks sure shows the reach I can have through multiple networks.

Here’s a look at my Klout numbers for my professional account (the one that matters [and I use that term loosely] to me] from early Wednesday:
Klout score
Score analysis
True reach
Amplification
Network impact

That big drop you see in the graphs is from a day about two weeks ago when I wasn’t at work and had an obligation that kept me busy and away from technology for the entire day. The drop looks a lot more dramatic than it actually was because my score has stayed in the 36-37 range for the past month. But it’s kind of incredible that I haven’t been able to recover from taking one day off from Twitter. What happens when someone goes on vacation? Becomes ill? Stops tweeting for the weekend? Do you really have to be connected 24/7 to just maintain your Klout score?

ReadWriteWeb published 17 alternatives to Klout, so those might be worth investigating if your social media reach is important to your professional or personal life. Klout calls itself “the standard for influence,” but it’s really just one way to measure the reach of your social media accounts.

I want to mention that — for all my complaining in this post — I think Klout’s perks are neat. I like the idea of getting rewards and special offers from companies just because you have obtained a certain Klout score. If you’re on Klout, be sure to check these frequently because they “sell out” after a specified number have been claimed. Right now I’m working on ordering custom mini business cards from MOO, and all I will have to pay is shipping. Pretty cool.

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Filed under Social Media, Twitter

Did you know 4.0

The video Did you know 4.0 posted on YouTube by xplanevisualthinking was produced two years ago, but I just came across it via Visual.ly. While some of the references are a little dated, the information presented is still pretty interesting and attention-grabbing.

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