Sociial Media Exploration – Phase I

I’d have called it a project if there had been a plan. It started as a curiosity. I posted some of the material below to one of rarely used blogs on August 28th.

Early June I  found the Klout account I’d set up sometime in the past. Klout is an organization that assigns scores to people based on their impact or influence in social media.  Scores range from 0 to 100. Klout explains the score on their website. The average score is said to be 40 and it’s harder to go from 50 to 52 than 40 to 42.  Klout provides this graphic.

I had some idle time, so I decided to play around a bit. I started posting things I read online to Facebook and to a Twitter account I set up in 2012 but hadn’t used more than a couple of times since.

I read more than I usually do during this trial and admit to sometimes only reading headlines to gauge interest and accomplish a simple goal by posting a lot of web addresses:  I increased my Klout score.

It took four days for my score to get from 43 to 47, and it stayed steady for another couple of days. It wasn’t very exciting, and my energy flagged, so I  stopped posting articles.  My score drifted back to 43 over the next two weeks. Klout seems to go down slower than it goes up. Trend related, I’m guessing.

Klout favors quality over quantity; it makes sense. I decided to focus my effort and try again. I picked eight topics that interest me.  There were dependencies between the topics, so the eight combined to cover roughly three areas of interest.

  • Risk management
  • artificial intelligence
  • cognitive science

Risk management draws a large circle. I’m most interested in risk management as it relates to medical devices, a small part of the enterprise risk landscape.

The graphic below shows my original list of interests on Klout.

The second trial I spent a couple of days linking together my accounts before starting to post.  Twitter connects to Facebook and my site and my newly created Gravatar linked to more.  I didn’t have much presence on the photo sites and still don’t, but I added them just in case.

LinkedIn was my largest forum of influence at the time, according to Klout, and I’d only ever posted one thing there. I do “like” posts and make comments other’s entries, so possibly that is it. My contact list was smaller than it is today, but it was still five times the size of my Facebook friends list.  All the areas I could, except Linkedin, were tied to my Gravatar name, Leturos.

Once I was satisfied, I posted for five days then stopped again. That time my score rose from 43 to 47 in two days then it hit 48 a day later then held steady.  I continued two more days to see if the score would increase. It did not so I stopped the exercise.

During the second trial, I posted less than I had the first time and my score rose quicker. Focusing seemed to help. At this point, the author of a serious study would put in a disclaimer about the sample size being insufficient, etc.

I noticed the Google placement of Leturos while preparing for the second run of posts. It had captured 9 of the first ten spots. I wanted to see it expand, so I freshened up the backstory on and I brought attention to Leturos in posts during round two.  By the end of that round, Leturos had captured 19 of the first 20 Google spots. Luteros, coincidentally, returns Martin Luther.

My understanding of social media is not that in depth. While I now know the word analytics, I haven’t paid attention to this sort of thing to date. Klout suggested the topics above to me after the trials. I was surprised by some of them, and while I did give the Mr. Roger’s people a good race, I did not try to become a salad king. If you can’t wait for me to discuss such things, you can head over to my twitter post library, a service that the folks over at Kifi provide.

I have learned more about Social Media since these first attempts.  I’ll write about some of these things in future posts. One post will discuss a mock promotion of four brands and the post will touch on how emotional involvement can affect objectivity. I may even explain why I include #inisit in some of my twitter posts. I gained 2200 followers on one of my blogs in one day after posting my previous social media past was sent out. I mirrored the LinedIn post it that blog and apparently a few people were interested.  Who know?

One post may be about etiquette once I had that part figured out. It’s a jungle out there, and you need to watch where you step.  A recent close encounter of the net kind is part of the reason I waited as long as I have to write this second in what may become a series of posts. Every place has its power structure, I suppose. Note that I did not talk about what I had for dinner in this post in this forum.

OK, I’ll let on: I had analytics garnished with fresh content.

Painting by the numbers – A prelude to Social Media

Fifteen years ago  I marked the start of a new job in the SF Bay area by climbing into a treehouse the company’s founder had built for his son. After the initiation ritual, I went back to my spot in our three car garage become workspace and started work as employee four. Number five started the following week. She and I had worked together at a startup a few years previously in Montreal. The two of use, the founder and a couple of guys he’d  worked with at his last success were the start of a team that got it.

In the next ten months:

  • we moved from Menlo Park prime garage to an entry level showcase facility in Los Gatos;
  • the facility was FDA registered, we implemented a quality (doc in a box) management system, satisfied TUV’s auditor;
  • we play highly competitive lunchtime rounds or a tournament with no end on the foosball take out it rounds of foosball with the interim CEO
  • hired and filled the days of 30-40 additional people,

We did this while designing an innovative interventional radiology system demonstrating its safety, inferring its efficacy and getting the FDA head nod (you have to look close) for human use. It was fun. It was a challenge.

.We made it happen.

There was more to do after that milestone to fulfill the terms of the buyout agreement but the work wasn’t in my area of expertise, I wasn’t interested in moving from R&D to (egad) making things, and I was ready to head home. I’d dated a bit but the personals life got old quick. I’d been spending my life on Usenet and, we said back then, Usenet had died in the mid 90’s.they just hadn’t paved it over yet.

Almost exactly a year after I got off a plane at the San Jose airport to start a year living the good life I was headed east, closer to the family.  Back into the future.


I was planning to use the power of the internet to form a consultancy. I had no idea how to accomplish it, but I was confident. I mean, I knew Eunice while Linus was in nappers and I’d been on the front lines of the Meow Wars, both sides. I’d been driving by for more than a year on my way to work, I saw the Yahoo van all the time, and NetFlicks had populated their build, also on my way home, while i was living there. I was down with the scene, I’d heard the rumors of stock splits, I knew tech.

I left San Jose at 10:30 PM on July 10, 2001, and headed east, towards the new old world. I was just west of  Salt Lake City, 700 miles into my journey the next morning when I got a call from a company in northern Arizona. They wanted to speak with me about working with them. I agreed if only to prove that I could resist the temptation to go where there was a solid foundation, sheltering walls, and a ceiling that would lift it you pushed on it a bit.

I pulled over just outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming to take the call. Given their location, I prepared becoming one with my inner  Muad’Dib . No, I am not serious.They told me about the company and what each had accomplished. No titles, minimal hierarchy, one of them was trying his hand at putting in a new facility. He’d never done it before and wanted the experience. : These guys were tracking to the next level in their flat organization. Some positions are flatter than others. There were no titles and minimal hierarchy.  It sounded like a real meritocracy. They ‘d It almost convinced me to turn the car around and plot a route to Flagstaff, Arizona for a longer talk, but I was determined. I had a plan. I was going to develop a plan.


I made it to the house of some friends in New Jersey approximately 40 hours after leaving San Jose.  I’d slept a couple of hours in Chicago, or I’d have gotten there quicker. My friends owned an ISP; that’s ’Internet Service Provider’ if you don’t recognize the acronym. They had all their servers in their house, and customer service was their landline.

My friends listened politely to my not even mixed well enough to pour into the tin plan. It wasn’t developed enough to be half-baked. I’d worked it out on the way from Chicago. I’d make websites for small businesses for cash flow until a got enough business for the virtual medical device development company to support me then I’d stop the website stuff and go from there.

They told me that they were losing customers to the cable company, and they thought they’d be out of business soon.

 The NASDAQ Composite index

I should have taken this as a sign, but I wasn’t ready to hear what I didn’t know about and what I didn’t know far outweighed what I did.  I stayed with them for a week, learned what I could when not catching up on a year with little sleep; and then I headed south to make a start of it. A virtual consultancy. I was ready.

I set myself up in a four bedroom apartment with my two new computers and enough office supplies I’d probably still have some if I hadn’t later met my wife. I got a Federal ID, a county business license and a mailbox just outside the Tampa City limits. Suite 121.  Sweet! I registered the domain name then got another six or seven domain names just in case. I even applied for a trademark for the business name. Clients?  They’d come.

Website development had progressed sinceI’d been spending my free time working. More people were moving into the market, and it was getting competitive. CAD had proliferated so 3D modeling skills weren’t what they’d once been. The first client finally showed. Called, at least. Early stage startup. Long story short, I used my cash, and they defaulted. I’d been at it for four months, and I’d burned a significant amount of money. I’ve even been ripped off by and ad agency that went out of business the day after they cashed my check and a week before the ad was to go out.

I may be naive, but I am not afraid to admit I was wrong, and it was quickly clear to me that I was out of my depth. Sales skills?  I didn’t even know where to start. I decided to take as step back into corporate America, work at a regular job and spend more time with our five children.  OK, that isn’t what I did. I went to another startup.

A small team that extended in Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and a city in Russia that was not on the map when it was part of the USSR developed the ImagiNail NailJet Proj,  We all cold called millionaires, measured hands, and tested coatings as we worked to get the product on he market. It finished working there in 2003. The internet was starting to happen. You could write about your ImagiNail experience on LiveJournal more maybe even see pictures of it on StumbleUpon. Search Engine Optimization was a dark art back then. We survived on a shoestring for almost two years after which I did return to corporate America, consulting, or both.

I had not even heard of the social media until late last Spring. I was talking with my daughter. She told me her idea for an internet based company. She and I have been playing in our spare time since. We’ve seen how the-the numbers changed and made a lot of contacts.  Some people have reached out to help us and more seem to be doing so each week.

The second part of this article will speak of these things. It will publish before the end of the week. I’ll discuss what we’ve learned, what left to learn I’ll draw some similarities will be pointed out at the time of change around the dot bubble-bomb and now. The virtual tectonic plates may be shifting again and perhaps this time I’m headed in instead of out. InIsIt you know.

I celebrate my Klout score becoming the first proper time today (61)  by creating some content.

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