Social Media Case Studies, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Events

Klout, the Super Bowl, and Our Addiction to Shooting the Messenger

super bowl social 46 Klout, the Super Bowl, and Our Addiction to Shooting the MessengerTwo weeks ago, I received a Klout Perk to be part of the Social 46, a gathering of Indiana’s top social media influencers. According to the Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee, Klout was used to help identify the participants, and the list was augmented manually with known local bloggers, gadflies, and connectors. I do not know how many of the 46 were “found” by Klout versus already known by the committee, and it’s not particularly relevant.

Last week, the group convened to learn more about the Super Bowl festivities – which have a breadth almost unfathomably far beyond the football game. (see the killer mobile app) In addition to a briefing by the host committee, we were exhorted to help make Super Bowl 46 in Indianapolis the “most connected” Super Bowl ever. What that means in practice was (and remains) a bit murky.

The original plan was for the participants in the Social 46 who created the most chatter to receive special prize packs for their social diligence. This idea was scrapped by attendees who almost universally expressed a desire to help shine the light on Indianapolis as proud residents, eschewing game mechanics.

Generally, the group has taken to the cause like a crafter to Pinterest, with dozens of tweets, photos, blog posts, and more popping up daily – and the game isn’t for another 10 days. Former reporter, now PR guy Tom Spalding is chronicling the blow-by-blow with regular Storify collections from the Social 46 trenches.

Personally, I’ve done very little on the Social 46 front other than live tweet the initial confab. There are three reasons that I’ve been on the sidelines:

  • I’m a new Hoosier, having moved to the state in August 2010. I don’t have as much of a connection to it as others in the Social 46.
  • I live in Bloomington, not Indianapolis. I’m about 75 minutes south, and still get lost in downtown Indy where the festivities are taking place. I don’t have a lot to offer in the way of insider tips.
  • My “influence” is not Indiana-based. 4% of my Twitter follower are Hoosiers, according to Peek Analytics (which I love for in-depth examination of persons in social media). This compares to 84% for Tom Spalding, for example.

I’ll do more next week, when I’m visiting the official Super Bowl Social Media Command Center (run by Indy social/content agency Raidious), and checking out Super Bowl Media Day, the Super Bowl Village, and NFL Experience with my family.

Shooting the Super Messenger

For now, however, I’m more interested in the burgeoning kerfuffle (a great band name, feel free to steal it) around the Social 46 itself.

isfJm 300x300 Klout, the Super Bowl, and Our Addiction to Shooting the Messenger

Social 46. Instagram shot from @meggiehd

In exchange for lending our time and personal networks to the Super Bowl cause, the host committee plied us with a laptop bag, a Super Scarf, a beanie hat, a time-specific ticket to the NFL experience, a ticket to NFL media day and the “right” to use the #social46 hashtag (which of course anyone could use if they want to do so). By my estimation, total value of $150, max.

Am I grateful to receive these gifts? Sure. The scarf is toasty. The media day ticket saved me $25 out of pocket, and who can turn down the joys of a special hashtag? But do these items influence how, why, or whether I participate in this program? Not really.

However, it concerns me that the host committee did not instruct any of the Social 46 on how to disclose that these items were provided for free, potentially putting the host committee and all participants in violation of FTC disclosure guidelines. A quick (albeit cursory) check of content created by the Social 46 shows that disclosure is mostly absent (good job by Bob Burchfield!). I have addressed it below through cmp.ly (which I love, am an investor in, and very much wish the host committee would have adopted).

(EDIT: Ashley from Klout reminded me that on the Web page where you accept Klout Perks (all, not just this one) is a note about making sure you disclose promotional items. Thanks for pointing that out Ashley. FTC does state thought that the party responsible for compliance is the brand or the organization, not the blogger. Thus, I’d still argue that the committee probably should have mentioned it at the meeting. Could have been just a 10-second aside, but would have been a good CYA.)

Beyond the fact that the host committee dropped the ball on disclosure, there is a truly extraordinary amount of vitriol within the Indianapolis social media “community” about who was (and who was not) asked to participate in this Social 46 program.

Some of the complaints are simply misguided – like this post from local communications consultant Allison Carter – who seems to believe that companies and organizations should be required to publicly state how they determine who to include in outreach programs. I’m sure Wal-Mart will gladly publish their blogger outreach criteria. Ford too. And Dell. Just ask. Maybe a Wiki? Should companies also publish the rationale every time they send a targeted coupon in the mail to high efficacy consumers based on past purchase history? Ridiculous.

In other cases, the ire is downright nasty, with all manner of name calling and reputation questioning occurring on Twitter and elsewhere. I guess I’m fortunate that none of it has involved me personally, but I’ve never been happier to NOT be part of the Indianapolis social media “community” which is making that label look more and more like a misnomer.

As Ms. Carter states in her post:

And I’ll be honest: I would have loved to have been chosen. But this isn’t about me. This is about helping our city come together to show the world what we have. However, this program is causing divisions, cliques and confusion. I hope this program is a smashing success and Indy becomes a social media darling. Social 46? Prove me wrong.

If your objective is to “show the world what we have” then why do you give a hoot about a free ticket, a silly hashtag, and a goddamn scarf? Is the subtext that unless you’ve been selected and anointed as part of the Social 46, that you are not eligible to help visitors enjoy the game? Where’s the community spirit in that? If you want to help, help. By tying reward to the behavior so intrinsically, you are supporting the very construct you rail against.

As Ricky Gervais says, offense is taken, not given. And the participants in the Social 46 didn’t request to be included. They were identified by a computer and/or by members of the host committee. To tear them down because someone – for reasons algorithmic, altruistic, or otherwise – selected them versus you or anyone else is the ultimate shoot the messenger scenario. If you’re not happy about being “left out” of the uber-prestigious scarf giveaway, take it up with Klout or the host committee.

Long ago, when I was a political campaign consultant, I learned a maxim that seems particular apt in this case: The smaller the stakes, the bigger the fight.

Klout Kan’t Win

I’m on record as liking Klout, and not just because it keeps me ensconced in beanie hats. (see my post: 3 Reasons critics of Klout are missing the big picture) Does its methodology have flaws? Of course it does. But you know what else has flaws? Having PR interns surf the Web to semi-randomly click on blogs and Twitter accounts to put together murky Excel spreadsheets of “influencers” that are then sold to clients as “research.” At least Klout provides half-truths with a side of mathematics.

And the reality is that whether it’s Klout or something else, companies and organizations WILL continue to make liberal use of social scoring data. It’s a shortcut, a way to find the trees in the forest. We are entering an era of bespoke relationships, whereby your real-time interactions with companies will be dictated (at least to some degree) by your purchase history, “influence”, location, and other factors. It’s the Delta SkyMiles program on steroids, and unfolding second-by-second. If you don’t think companies are going to start routing social customer service inquiries to different teams based on Klout score (or similar), you need to wake up.

Do I wish we were all treated equally? As a human being, yes. But that’s not the way the real world works, and it’s certainly not the way we’re headed in an era where every behavior is tracked, and Big Data can be used to filter and segment and optimize.

The Lesson of the Sneeches

Most Klout perks are of the product variety, or are national in scope so that the recipients and non-recipients aren’t personally acquainted. Do I bemoan the fact that I’m not eligible for free RoC Deep Wrinkle Night Cream? I guess, as I’m not getting any younger. But I don’t begrudge those who can use their Twitter habit to smooth their crow’s feet.

In the case of the Social 46, the psychology is altogether different. Because the participants were selected to be signal amplifiers and adjuncts of the host committee, there is a perception that we are “representatives” (albeit reps that are unofficial and untrained – as Ms. Carter wisely pointed out in her post, which was not wholly without merit). And conversely, that those not selected are not “worthy” of being representatives.

The reason people are bent out of shape (far disproportionate to the reward, I’d say) is that the “haves” and “have nots” are public. This is the lesson of the Sneetches, as delivered by the sneakily wise Dr. Seuss:

If the star belly Sneetches got their stars via email; or were notified 1:1 by Sylvester Monkey McBean when they logged on to his website; or just got a star shipped to them via FedEx, the Sneetches without stars would never have known about it, and wouldn’t have put up a fuss.

If you’re going to use Klout as a sorting and identification mechanism, think twice about doing so in a local or regional market (or any other closely knit community online or otherwise). And if what you want your group to do is shout about their participation publicly over a short time frame, be prepared for blowback.

That’s my view from ringside. What’s your takeaway from the Social 46?

(EDIT: I want to make it perfectly clear that I believe this to be on the whole an excellent program, and a darn fine idea. Was it perfectly executed? No. But that’s why it makes a good case study for others to learn from down the road. Viva Super Bowl.)

horizontal Klout, the Super Bowl, and Our Addiction to Shooting the Messengerhorizontal Klout, the Super Bowl, and Our Addiction to Shooting the Messenger

Related
  • chuckgose

    Thanks Jay. As a fellow member of the “Social 46,” I can understand why so many are questioning the process implemented. But unfortunately it’s coming at the expense of community relationships. As I mentioned earlier in the week. A few that were selected made too big of a deal out of the selection. And counter, a few that weren’t selected are making too big of a deal of being left out. Those being questioned and ultimately defending the group weren’t the ones who put the group together.

    But you do bring up a good point about the freebies given to the group. Without the prizes (which you pointed out the group was against from the beginning), the scarves, hats, tickets, etc, the host committee would have still had a turnout of support. When we all showed up that night, we had no idea what was in store for us.

    • JoelLesher

      @chuckgose Weren’t you one of the

    • JoelLesher

      @chuckgose I seem to remember you making a “big deal” about not being initially selected. No?

    • JoelLesher

      @chuckgose I seem to recall you making a “big deal” out of not being initially selected for the “Social 46″. No?

      • http://www.flexp.com/ cjtheisen

        @JoelLesher@chuckgose if memory serves he asked questions about the selection process to garner insight but I could be wrong.

      • chuckgose

        @JoelLesher Child please. I never made a big deal out of not being selected. I just wanted to understand the process. People said it was “all Klout” while others were saying it was random. Even now as part of the group, the selection process could have been communicated better.

        • JoelLesher

          @chuckgose I suppose that’s one way to look at it. Do you pronounce it “to-mah-toe” or “to-may-toe”?

        • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

          @chuckgose@JoelLesher Yes, it could have been communicated better, but I’m not so sure it should have been communicated at all. Does 40 under 40 publish the judging forms? I realize we are entering an era of transparency, but publishing the criteria GUARANTEES that there will be issues, and makes it about Klout instead of making it about promoting Indy. Happened anyway to some extent.

        • chuckgose

          @JoelLesher How’s your Klout score doing?

        • chuckgose

          @JayBaer@JoelLesher With the “40 under 40″ there is a nomination process and they do outline the process. With Social 46, it probably would have been better to just name the 46 all at once, instead of slow playing it so to speak. I think it felt like to many that they were just making it up as they went along.

        • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

          @chuckgose@JoelLesher That’s a good point. I think they didn’t want to make a public to-do, because it WOULD hurt people’s feelings. Also, I think (I don’t know, but I suspect) that they were working on it up until the end to backfill spots for people who couldn’t participate.

        • JoelLesher

          @chuckgose@JayBaer I think that they had to publicize the selection criteria in order for the public to know what the heck this “social 46″ thing is. That said, I get the sense that some feathers are ruffled because a portion of the criteria was subjective. Perhaps if it was solely based on a Klout score, less people would be offended (not that I believe Klout is the “cat’s meow”, by any stretch.)

          For example, an educated guess tells me that I would’ve been selected had it been based on Klout only. However, I know that I wasn’t selected because I am a Coldplay fan. That’s a joke, by the way. :-) In all seriousness, I am in favor of the “social 46″ idea. From what I have seen, those who “made the cut” are worthy and are contributing solid content. I just had to give Mr. Gose a hard time because NFL loyalty doesn’t lie within the Hoosier state.

        • chuckgose

          @JoelLesher@JayBaer Yep, I did not drink the blue Kool-Aid. (And I’m allowed to make the kool-aid joke since I went to Butler.) Who Dey!

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @chuckgose Chuck I’m glad you brought up people being selected making too big a deal out of it. I didn’t see any of that myself, stashed safely away in Bloomington, but I’ve heard tales. If they’re really a “social media influencer” they should know better. Because they lit the match. Silly, really.

  • SpaldoBusiness

    Thanks, Jay. I don’t mind anyone who wants to “right the ship” about the way a process. But don’t toss an anchor at the passengers, either!

  • SpaldoBusiness

    Thanks, Jay. Excellent post. I don’t mind anyone who wants to “right the ship” about the way a process works. But don’t toss an anchor at the passengers.

    • chuckgose

      @SpaldoBusiness Man, I love that “toss an anchor at the passengers” bit.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

        @chuckgose@SpaldoBusiness Consider that metaphor stolen. Tune in to Convince & Convert later to track its reappearance.

  • JustHeather

    As one of the “have nots” as you so delicately put it, I have to say this doesn’t touch at all on my feelings. My irritation has nothing to do with the selection process, a scarf or jealousy. It’s about the elevation of the group that’s coming from the Superbowl committee and the media. I have so far heard the Social 46 referred to as “Indy’s Social Media Elite,” “Social Media Gurus” and “Indy’s Most Influential” – that’s devisive no matter what’s at stake.

    Would I have loved to be chosen? Absolutely! I’m covering Superbowl activities on multiple, hyper-local blogs. I’d give anything for that kind of access. I’ve contacted the committee several times for details or more information on a couple different things. No response. If it were about involving the social media as a whole, they’d be more than happy to give a blogger the details I need.

    Instead, I’m left to feel unworthy and disconnected. Kind of the opposite of the goal I would have expected.

    • HazelMWalker

      @JustHeather

      Heather is that any different that the Oscar committee saying this movie and that actor is the “Elite” We see on Magazine Covers and TV all the time about so and so being the “Most Influential” Indy has the 40 under 40 group they are an elite group of 40, or IBJs list of women that are the “Most Influential” Every time Indy comes with one of those list I wonder by what metrics. When I have been nominated I am honored, when I don’t win I feel left out, but I don’t go on a negative word of mouth campaign against it.

      There are always going to be those that sometimes get recognized and those that don’t. There are always going to be people who feel left out, I never did get in the 40 under 40 but I am happy for those who did. I still have not been selected as “Influential Woman” like my friend @lorraineball has, but I am happy for her.

      Life is not fair, we can rail against it, or we can cheer on those who do happen to get the blue and white scarf of life.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

        @HazelMWalker@JustHeather@lorraineball When they release the March Madness field of 64 (or 68 now), there’s always 4 or 5 teams that feel like they got robbed. It’s unfortunate, but it happens. All of this gets magnified when you deal with “influence” because even with Klout scores, it’s all so subjective.

    • http://www.flexp.com/ cjtheisen

      @JustHeather so your biggest issue is with how the group is being referenced? Its like the mom blogger/ghost blogger/needing a title debates. You can’t expect traditional media to title a group “The 46, well really 50 some, people who have an online voice & were picked for a group” they need to bundle it nice and easy to get clicks, views etc. Even at that who cares what title someone is given? You can have my badge that says I’m one of Indy’s Most Influential, I dont wear it.

      The only access we were given that you dont have access to is Media Day & the social media command center. Actually everyone did have access to purchase Media Day tickets when they went on sale to the public a while back. The committee has a pretty extensive site and numerous people around town to help answer questions. If you can’t find help I know the #social46 hashtag is a great place to reach out and find advice & tips.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

        @cjtheisen@JustHeather In reality, if the goal was to make this the most connected Super Bowl ever, the host committee should have taken on everyone who wanted to participate, organized them by vertical (food, bars, parking, lodging) build a group blog and internal communication system, etc. Could have had 300 participants, easy. That didn’t happen because A) the host committee is not as far along on social adoption as “we” are B) the host committee focused a lot on the Command Center C) the host committee has about 2,387 other things to worry about D) “Social 300″ doesn’t play as well in the media as “Social 46″

        This is the first time this has been tried. They’ll learn lessons, as will we all.

    • http://BestSellerAuthors.com WarrenWhitlock

      @JustHeather brings up the real point. Why would anyone seeking outreach limit inclusion of others seeking to join?

      The number 46 is cute and promoteable. But there’s no reason the powers that be could not have added a track for others to join.

      • http://www.flexp.com/ cjtheisen

        @WarrenWhitlock@JustHeather everyone can join. Its a hashtag, not a private group. Tons of others have used the hashtag, at last count by @chuckgose it was near 700. While the others dont get the fancy gear Jay mentioned or the 2 hour debrief nothing else is different about the 46 picked and the other 650+ actively promoting via the hashtag.

        • http://BestSellerAuthors.com WarrenWhitlock

          @cjtheisen@JustHeather so the only problem is the bragging about who is in the 46. Had they done the same promotion without the hoopla, no one would be hurt.

          If there’s a real competition, there has to be winners and losers. On this, they set up an accolade and gave it to people hoping it would be seen as such, and didn’t give anyone a choice to compete or be in it. the “winners” are judged on their lifes work (sort of) and it opens the door for others to question it.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

        @WarrenWhitlock@JustHeather It’s true Warren. Per my comment above, they could have thrown open the doors. I’m not sure the host committee has a full gauge on the depth of the local social media community, and certainly 46 has a better spin value.

        • http://BestSellerAuthors.com WarrenWhitlock

          @JayBaer@JustHeather I like the idea of picking 46 and promoting that they were reaching out and even handing out the gifts.

          They could have done all that with the same 46, the same selection criteria, and entirely the same process.. but just change the wording to “randomly picked” and done better. They could even reveal how they choose them. A couple of words in the position could have made all the difference.

          (note: I’m exaggerating how easy it could have been. I realize that such things are never cut and dry “easy”)

        • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

          @WarrenWhitlock@JustHeather I agree. And I suspect the next host committee will learn from it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @JustHeather I’m not sure why you feel unworthy or disconnected, but I am sorry that’s how you feel. If your irritation is based on how local TV news in a mid-sized market characterize something, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment. To a 23 year-old segment producer who knows little about social media, this is the “social media elite” . They don’t know any different, and they don’t care. The fact that you’re covering the stuff anyway is what matters. And in terms of access, the only thing we get to do is pop by the command center to watch a bunch of college kids stare at Tweetdeck. I’m certain that if you asked Raidious, they’d be happy to have you. I’m not trying to belittle your feelings, but I just want to add some perspective.

    • robbyslaughter

      @JustHeather The reason you feel left out is not because you’re not awesome. (News flash: You’re awesome. Feel free to print this out if you need a later reminder.)

      No, the reason you feel left out is because you don’t understand why they picked the 46 that they did.

      Had they said something like: “We’re going to try to pick a diverse range of people to represent Indianapolis. We may have a lifestyle blogger or two, we might have a PR pro, and perhaps some random people who are just enormous football fans.”

      Seriously. That’s enough. Then you wouldn’t have this weird feeling.

      Why is it so hard for folks to see that this is just a good idea?

  • markwschaefer

    I love this post because this one case study sums up both the enormous potential and vast dangers of using Klout and othe social scoring measures. The legal implications, sense of fairness, resentment by the have-nots, and the emergence of a social media/customer service caste system are coming at us quickly. And, as you say, we better wake up. Great post.

  • http://www.flexp.com/ cjtheisen

    Unless someone is the type that reads your blog (like me) people could give _________ (insert favorite saying) about how people were selected, who was selected or even know about Klout. Every single person with an online voice in some form or fashion in Indy or Indiana should use it to promote the city and what the committee has done long term thanks to the Super Bowl. Period. The rest of this back and forth and campaign evaluation etc can be done afterwards at an indysm event or blogindiana where there is an audience who gives a crap. Hopefully this has all died down in time for the visitors to our fine city to not see all the pettiness locally and let the group shine at what it has been doing a great job of, promoting our fine city and event.

    From a disclosure standpoint thats only on blogs correct? I wrote a blog going live in a minute that was about the Turf IDADA Art Pavilion. Its free to the public and my being in the #social46 group didn’t get me special access but since I mentioned the group and host committee in the post do I need to disclose that I got gear from them? We aren’t promoting the host committee or the gear as much as we are events around the city tied into the Super Bowl. I get your disclosure angle but am curious on actual legalities of it.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @cjtheisenindysmblogindiana In theory, even tweets mentioning #social46 should include #promoted disclosure, but that’s rarely done in practice.

      • TamreMullins

        @JayBaer@cjtheisenindysmblogindiana what about those of us who tweet using the #social46 but weren’t included in the group? Should that tweet include #promoted as well? (just trying to cover my ass since I am heavily regulated)

    • chuckgose

      @cjtheisen Thanks for volunteering indysm for the impending fire storm.

  • mattdantodd

    It’s the Super Bowl. If nothing else, the Super Bowl is about hype. That’s why words like “guru,” “elite,” “most influential,” and other similar adjectives are used. We’re making mountains out of molehills here people.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @mattdantodd It does get the pulse racing, doesn’t it? For the record, while I cannot be anywhere near sure, my limited exposure found very few – if any – members of the Social 46 going all peacock about themselves and using (without irony) words like elite and most influential. I’m sure there are exceptions, and I’m only acquainted with a handfull of the group, but my overall take is that it’s a humble crew. And rightfully so. If your life’s number one claim to fame is that you’re good at Twitter, you need to rejigger your success formula.

  • Articulate_indy

    @meggiehd @jaybaer Excellent use of the phrase. “ensconced in beanie hats.” Well done, sir.

    • jaybaer

      @Articulate_indy I don’t get to use “ensconced in beanie hats” often enough. Delighted to dust it off today.

  • CollinTrent

    @meggiehd @jaybaer good article and good insight, Jay. Thanks to you two & the rest of #super46 for doing your best to promote #Indy #SB46

  • TamreMullins

    I feel that as someone who has one foot in the Indianapolis social media community and one foot in the national craft beer community, I had the opportunity to bring a different perspective than the typical PR/Journalist/Social Media Specialist to the Social 46 group. When I wasn’t chosen, I still chose to support my friends and colleagues who were. I am still tagging my blog posts with the #social46 tag and continue to be a resource for anyone who asks. It’s not everyday that this sort of spotlight is shone on a city like Indianapolis and I’m more than content standing in the shadow of that spotlight, adding value when I can no matter how small it might be.

    • kyleplacy

      @TamreMullins Amen.

    • http://www.flexp.com/ cjtheisen

      @TamreMullins you have been doing a great job of adding relevant content to the #social46 tag & promoting the city. Keep it up.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @TamreMullins Seems to me that people who write long, detailed blog posts chronicling the various elements of this terribly fascinating story deserve to be rewarded not just with a scarf, but with a delicious supply of craft beer – particularly IPAs. Agreed? Awesome.

      • http://www.flexp.com/ cjtheisen

        @JayBaer@TamreMullins talk to wcbtilly about that one.

        • TamreMullins

          @cjtheisen@JayBaer@TamreMullinswcbtilly yes, Tilly would be your official #Social46 craft beer provider. I’m the alcoholic blogger who didn’t make the cut. You can’t take my beer!

        • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

          @TamreMullins@cjtheisenwcbtilly But surely, we can share a beer?

        • TamreMullins

          @JayBaer@cjtheisenwcbtilly Well of course! Most people don’t know Indianapolis is hosting the Beer Bloggers Conference this summer. I need some practice before then.

        • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

          @TamreMullins@cjtheisenwcbtilly I need a press pass for Beer Bloggers Conference!

  • RockyWalls

    Thanks for the post Jay! A very nice perspective as usual.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @RockyWalls Thank you Rocky. And I appreciate your support. Readers, Rocky and http://www.candidio.com do all the video production work here at Convince & Convert. Give them love please. Terrific system for uploading video from afar, and Rocky’s team edits, polishes, etc quickly and inexpensively. Bravo!

      • RockyWalls

        @JayBaer Thanks Jay! Love that you put Candidio to good use.

  • kyleplacy

    Great post Jay. I’m going to focus on the Super Bowl, Indianapolis, and the wonderful people in this state. I find it ridiculous that people are complaining. However, you will always have haters. No matter what.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @kyleplacy I don’t find it ridiculous on the whole. I find elements of their complaints ridiculous. But as Heather articulates below, people are going to feel how people are going to feel. Good news is that this whole thing is inside baseball (or football), and the general public doesn’t care – and shouldn’t.

  • JonBausman

    Well communicated Jay! It’s about helping our city and the Super Bowl be the best it can be – regardless if you have a beanie or not.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @JonBausman Wearing my beanie right now, just to have blog post karma.

  • jeremyawilliams

    Great post Jay. I think you hit a ton of really good points. I manage the visitindiana Twitter account for the State Tourism Office and wasn’t selected to be part of the official Super 46 group, but (just like you mentioned above) that hasn’t stopped me from tweeting all about things going on around the Super Bowl and using the #social46 hashtag in relevant posts.

    The only complaint I have about the whole #social46 thing is actually the hashtag. I imagine that the Super Bowl Host Committee created that as a way to track who was talking about things the most but I think it just adds an additional hashtag for the game that doesn’t mean anything to people who aren’t already in the know about the hashtag.

    I think a smarter move by the Host Committee would have been to have every one tweet under the #SB46 or #superbowl hashtags rather than #Social46.

    The social media community in Indianapolis really is a great community and it’s a shame to see something like this causing strife when it really doesn’t need to.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @jeremyawilliamsvisitindiana The original premise was that the #Social46 hashtag was to be used to sift communication and then award the prizes based on volume of chatter, etc. Once that went out the window, use of that tag took on less importance, definitely.

    • http://www.flexp.com/ cjtheisen

      @jeremyawilliams funny you should mention that. A certain bald Twitter addict brought up the same thing but it was too late at that point. Keep up your great work of promo for the city.

    • melanie_woods

      @jeremyawilliamsvisitindiana Completely agree about the hashtag. I think that’s one of the things that’s confused me most. The average outsider coming to visit the city isn’t going to be searching for #social46 on Twitter. They will be searching for #SB46, #superbowl #Indy, etc. If the goal is to promote what’s going on and be readily available to answer questions via Twitter, you have to think like your audience. And from what I’ve seen, the official host committee hasn’t done anything to promote the hashtag either.

      As far as this whole campaign, I think there are good lessons to be learned for the future as the idea is fantastic in theory and something I think should definitely be incorporated into other events (Indy 500, Final Four, etc). Criticism is good as long as it’s useful and well thought out, not based on emotions of not being picked.

      Having said all that…you already know I’m repping this city like crazy and tweeting nonstop. This morning, for example, I had a Giants fan RT a photo I took of decorations on UIndy’s campus, where the team will be practicing. I responded welcoming him to the city and let him know I’d be happy to answer any questions he might have. I’m not part of #social46 but it doesn’t stop me from being an unofficial concierge to our guests these next two weeks!

      • TamreMullins

        @melanie_woods@jeremyawilliamsvisitindiana While I chose to include the #social46 in my series of posts about the Indianapolis craft beer scene, I also chose to include #craftbeer #indianabeer #superbowl and #suckitnewengland (just kidding). While I wanted to make sure that my posts made it on the Social 46 stream, I care more about my usual network to spread the word than rely on a hashtag that’s been around for a whopping week.

  • Scott Thomas

    Jay

  • jmctigue

    I also greatly enjoyed this post because it’s on point for a lot of issues. I’m not a fan of Klout (in fact I resigned from it late last year) because I think it feeds into one of our baser instincts, the “I’m better than you” syndrome. I agree that the world is not a level playing field and we’re all competing with each other, but tools like Klout get way too much attention because they give you a “grade” and fuel for touting “I’m #1″. Who cares? Prove it by what you do not by your rank on Google or Klout or whatever other silly tool you ascribe to. Enjoy social media for what it does best, enable conversation – like the one we’re having here.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @jmctigue Thanks for your unyielding support. I notice it, and appreciate it. I agree that there’s no score that can model decency, kindness, humility, and compassion. And that’s what really counts.

    • HazelMWalker

      @jmctigue while that is good in theory, it does not work so well in practice when your rank in google or your klout score get you hired more often.

  • rmpuckett

    I can’t wait until I have time to take away from my paying job to comment on this Social 46 nonsense.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @rmpuckett My favorite comment. Fortunately, this is my paying job, but a terrific point.

      • rmpuckett

        @JayBaer Yes, you get a pass!

    • rmpuckett

      Meanwhile, everybody could do themselves a favor by reading Ecclesiastes.

  • AllisonLCarter

    Hi Jay,

    Interesting thoughts. I think this story is only going to get more and more interesting as it continues to play out, and we’ll likely see wide-ranging implications from this for years to come as large-scale social media efforts focused around particular movements or events become more and more important. If I may address a few points you raised:

    1. While I can see how you might have interpreted my comments regarding transparency with selection criteria in the manner you did, I think you’re taking it to an extreme and comparing apples to oranges. The transparency was not necessary from an ethical point of view–it would have been better from a messaging standpoint. How so? Because of the confusion, it (rightly or wrongly) created hurt feelings and bruised egos. We can argue all day long about how silly that is or isn’t, but if the point of this was to bring together Indianapolis both to encourage locals to visit the Super Bowl events as well as to help all of us become brand advocates for outsiders, being vague about how people were selected left people focusing on their hurt feelings instead of on the larger initiative.

    2. There’s a significant difference between saying “I’m human enough to admit that I would have liked to have been recognized” and saying “I’m upset because I didn’t get a scarf.” Am I still tweeting using the Social 46 hashtag? Yes. Am I still participating in the Super Bowl events and doing anything I can to help my city? Yes, I’m heading downtown tomorrow to check out the action and intend to tweet my fingers off. I encourage everyone else to do the same.

    3. Some people, including @SpaldoBusiness , who I greatly respect, have said that I’m “toss[ing] the anchor at passengers.” Let me be clear: I think the Social 46 are a great group of people. I have no problems with who was selected and how they were selected, whether that was by Klout or drawing names out of a hat. I do think that the messaging can be improved upon for next time to foster more inclusiveness and to unite a city behind a common cause.

    There are lessons to be learned for next time. In the meantime, I hope we can all welcome visitors to our city and enjoy a great football game.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @AllisonLCarter@SpaldoBusiness It’s awesome that you’re using your connections to promote the city and the events, and using the hash tag. Bravo!

      I totally disagree about publishing the criteria, because as I mentioned in a comment below, to do so GUARANTEES that there will be a fight, and ensures that it becomes about Klout and its methodology, rather than Indy and the community. It still worked out that way, but if they published a blog post that said “we had a short list of people we knew we wanted to include, and used Klout to find some others, but some people couldn’t make the event, so we filled in with some others via Klout or personal contacts so that we had 46 people” would that have made you feel better? I’d say no. But that’s how it happened.

      What’s the upside to anyone in publishing that? There is ZERO. It takes away from the objective, kills the media value, and stops momentum in its tracks. You are a communication professional. You should know that how this spins is key, and sometimes transparency is the enemy of good marketing. Doesn’t make it warm and fuzzy, but it’s the right call.

      In hindsight, the better plan perhaps would have been to not restrict it to 46, and ask for volunteers, and I suspect that’s how the next Super Bowl will play it. We’ll see.

    • alexcwilliams

      @AllisonLCarter What brand are you referring to when you say “brand advocates”.

      • AllisonLCarter

        @alexcwilliams The Indianapolis brand in general, the Indianapolis Super Bowl brand in particular. The incredible thing about the Indianapolis social media community is how much we all love the Circle City. We want to show the world just what they’ve been missing, and extending our brand as a modern, friendly city in the heartland is something that I think is near and dear to us all. It certainly is to me.

        • alexcwilliams

          @AllisonLCarter so the Indianapolis/Indianapolis Super Bowl brand has lost you as an advocate because you weren’t picked for a marketing committee? You can only have a bruised ego if you have an ego. At the end of the day, this has probably raised your Klout score, so you’ve succeeded there.

        • AllisonLCarter

          @alexcwilliams Not at all. I’m still a dedicated brand advocate for Indianapolis and always will be. Raising my Klout score was never my concern: offering constructive feedback for a program that’s a good idea with room for improvement was.

  • http://www.leospetcare.com/ IndianapolisVet

    Allison never said anyone should be required to do anything, only that similar groups with similar future projects hoping to prevent similar reactions should consider alternate actions. I think the suggestions she gave were very professional, and helpful, and made perfect sense.

    Regardless, I think everyone can agree on your central point, that we should all play nice and help our city any way we can.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @IndianapolisVet Allison suggested that the host committee should reveal its selection process. My point is that companies and organizations are under no obligation to do so, and should not, as it helps nobody to publish it.

      • http://www.leospetcare.com/ IndianapolisVet

        @JayBaer Clearly I can’t speak for Allison. However, even I can see that revealing the selection criteria would have accomplished two very important things.

        1) Those not chosen wouldn’t have to guess why they weren’t chosen – human nature being what it is, our fears are always worse than our reality.

        2) Revealing the criteria might have also revealed specific errors in logic that could be prevented in the future. Detailing exactly HOW this process got messed up this time would help future committees not make the same mistake.

      • robbyslaughter

        @JayBaer@IndianapolisVet Of course it helps people to publish selection criteria. Every institution which is selective and successful has some degree of transparency about their selection process!

        - The lottery is clear that anybody can win and they put the procedure on television

        - Every university and scholarship announces what they are looking for in applicants

        - Bars and restaurants with dress codes put up SIGNS with their requirements

        - Other local social media contests, like the current Rolling Stone Do317 or @indyhub’s #indyzoob program do it.

        This is human relations 101. If you help people to understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how you’re going about it, they are not going to around assuming conspiracy and secrecy.

  • JayMattingly

    Very interesting post, Jay. As someone who not only follows, but also has a personal relationship with some of the Social 46, I love that they are taking the initiative to promote Indy while the spotlight is on. Each selection was completely warranted. I don’t want to speak for Allison, but what I got out of her post on the Roundpeg blog wasn’t that she was against the selection of Hoosiers or what they were doing, but the idea that the process was exclusive rather than inclusive. I’ve lived in the Indy area my entire life, and the community unity in this city is phenomenal. By bringing together a panel and portraying that panel as the ones “worthy” of promoting the event (which was uniintended), the perception may have been that there wasn’t much desire to engage so many more folks eager to promote the city and event.. I don’t think anyone on Social 46 would ever intend to portray things that way, but sadly, to some it may have come off in that manner.

    In any event, I think this provides a great opportunity to show how our city’s social media leaders can lead the charge and engage with the entire community in promotion of the Hoosier state. I look forward to seeing it happen!

    Also, great name.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @JayMattingly Thanks Jay. Great comment. Yes, the process was exclusive. People were selected because they decided to have 46 slots. That may have been a mistake. But people are selected for many, many, many things in life. The entire Super Bowl is about selection and privilege and forced scarcity.

      I just finished 51st in FORTUNE Magazine’s list of the top 50 social media influencers yesterday. Does that suck? Kinda. But I didn’t make the cut. Whatever. If people need validation from ANY other person or group to make them feel that what they are doing in social media – or life in general – has merit, I’d say they are going about it the wrong way.

      Everybody needs to play their own game. What you’ll find is that over the long run, life is a meritocracy. The cream rises. In social media, we haven’t been able to play the long game yet. We’re still in the first quarter. Which is why there are some pretenders out there who have the spotlight today. That’s okay. It won’t last.

  • Bnpositive

    I wasn’t a part of the 46 but have numerous friends both in and out of the group. I’ve been writing and blogging about Indianapolis for a number of years now and will continue to do that and feature events happening through the weeks and tweeting about what’s going on as best I can. I almost crashed the party by accident because I had seen the Klout invite and misinterpreted it as being an open-invite to the meeting. Someone corrected my misunderstanding and I didn’t go.

    My frustration with the entire process is that I know of numerous individuals repeatedly contacted members of the host committee and asked about how to get involved at a social media level to promote the city, the game, the event, the industry, everything! All we wanted to do was help and be a part of something bigger that would raise the tide and lift all the boats floating in it higher.

    There was a small group of people that got together last year to talk about how the entire social media community in Indianapolis could start helping and promoting this event along side of, but without cooperation from, the Host Committee. We discussed many of the things that the host committee has now put in place as well as even addressed some of the areas they dropped the ball on in their planning.

    I’m not sure I’d classify the fervor behind all of this as “vitriol” as you stated, but regardless of the level of emotion on both sides, we should put it aside and come back to the goal in front of us. Promote this event, present our city and the people in it in the best light possible, learn from the mistakes and continue to improve.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @Bnpositive Bingo. That’s the one part of this that’s a big miss. The Host Committee could have had hundreds of helpers, instead of 46. But I’m not sure they grasped the depth of the social media community, and what it could really do if asked. I don’t know that, but that’s my guess.

      • Bnpositive

        @JayBaer Well, what’s sad is if they didn’t “grasp” it, it wasn’t because they weren’t informed. Those of us that contacted members and volunteereed encouraged them to take certain actions because of the breadth of the social media community we knew existed in Indianapolis. It was my perception at least that the individuals pulling the strings behind the effort “couldn’t be bothered” by these people that think they have something to offer that I can’t handle myself.

    • JustHeather

      @Bnpositive I think you touched on something that had just occurred to me this morning. As a part of the group who reached out to the committee early in the game, it would have been nice to be kept in the loop on this sort of thing. I feel like our input was used to put this all into motion, only to be discarded later.

  • steveboller

    I’m seeing a great opportunity for a Social 46 parody video. People in beanie hats and scarves running around Indianapolis tweeting away with their iPhones about how much fun they are having and how many “perks” they have. It will be interesting to see how human behavior evolves and adapts to account for rewards services such as Klout and what will surely be a continuation of “social ambassador” programs that reward those with perceived influence.

    • robbyslaughter

      @steveboller Only if they are singing the Super Bowl Shuffle.

      • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

        @robbyslaughter@steveboller Dude, you have to drop in a link to that abomination!

  • robbyslaughter

    Jay, you seem to think that @AllisonLCarter believes that:

    companies and organizations should be required to publicly state how they determine who to include in outreach programs.

    Well, you’re putting words into her mouth. Here’s what I think she’s trying to say. But more importantly: I believe it (although I have done a bad job of trying to explain it to @chuckgose @kyleplacy indymike @cjtheisen and others in the past)

    If you’re going to select a handful of people to participate in an exclusive public program, everything will go more smoothly if you define and publicize your selection criteria and your objectives well in advance.

    Of course companies can do whatever they want (FTC disclosure requirements notwithstanding). But for some reason, people who organize contests and promotions seem to think that the public isn’t going to want to know how they decided to pick the winners!

    So what are the takeaways?

    1. Want massive public appeal for an exclusive opportunity? Help ensure the crowd doesn’t turn on you by explaining your approach and rationale for the exclusivity. That’s just common sense.

    2. The bigger the event, the farther in advance you need to plan it. We should have been working on selecting the Social 46 perhaps a year ago. Even if they organizers had made the same blunder back then, at least we’d mostly be over it by now.

    That’s it!

    • chuckgose

      @robbyslaughter Is it ever really “That’s it?”

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @robbyslaughter@AllisonLCarter@chuckgose@kyleplacyindymike@cjtheisen But this was not a contest or a promotion. This was an influencer outreach campaign. The same thing that companies do every day when trying to get mommy bloggers to write about their products and such. Totally different, and those methodologies and lists are never published, and shouldn’t be. I think that’s fundamentally the core issue here. Some people thought this was a merit-based “award” or contest. It was not. It was a PR campaign that used Klout to help uncover some targets.

      • http://BestSellerAuthors.com WarrenWhitlock

        I agree. I haven’t reviewed the material, but obvious that there’s some inception point where people got the idea it was done on merit.

        First rule of communicating.. “it’s not what you want to say.. it’s what the HEAR that counts”

  • RockyWalls

    My perspective – I wasn’t selected and sincerely feel no frustration or negative emotion about it. Perhaps it’s because I am secure in who I, my team, and my Indianapolis-based company are in both value and influence regardless.

    I love our city and respect so many of those selected and not selected, and probably couldn’t honestly tell you who was and who wasn’t at this point. I also believe (perhaps naively) that we all can accomplish a lot more good for our city and each other united rather than divided.

    Just my two cents.

  • KathyDaltonSLC

    @JasonFalls @jaybaer egos muck everything up, dont they? I guess the question is how do you no have an ego?

  • kjhulse

    @parkeladd Ahh, I read that too. Who knows. Seems to go against Twitter logic though!

    • parkeladd

      @kjhulse haha Twitter logic can be tricky, but the general consensus seems to be to use the hash and tweet up Indy.

    • thejoeball

      @kjhulse @parkeladd Agreed!

  • TomMartin

    You know Jay, the most interesting thing about this entire episode is that I don’t understand why the committee stopped at 46. I get that it’s Super Bowl 46, but honestly, why let some “creative concept” drive the number of folks you invite? Why not just do a call to arms via local media, maybe supplemented via Klout or other kind of research to make sure the “big names” know about the program… and invite anyone that wants to play along to play along.

    As others have pointed out in posts and presentations re: influence, size of Twitter following may or may not be indicative of true influence. There could be smaller, lesser known Indy bloggers that don’t have your following but do have the ears of travel bloggers, editors, etc., who have the ears of the general consumer at large and thus could help position Indy as a desirable destination — which I would hope is the macro goal of all of this. Because at the end of the day, who gives a flip if Indy is the most social city to host a Super Bowl — that will make just about zero economic impact… so who cares.

    @TomMartin

  • vrobisch

    Does anyone happen to pay attention to a little selection show that takes place in Indianapolis every March? Even with stated criteria, those left on the outside feel slighted because they want to be on the inside. At some point, the selection rationale is “we thought they would be more useful than you”. Stating the criteria would give some comfort to those that care about the selection process but virtually every process of that nature leaves room for discretion. I don’t think stating the criteria would benefit the selection committee, those selected or those not selected in the least.

    With that said, I happen to like virtually everyone involved in this discussion (I don’t know everyone so I am reserving the right to not like someone at a future date) and really appreciate and enjoy the Indianapolis social media community. Sometimes, we all just enjoy a good debate. It can lead to an overreaction to an overreaction if we aren’t careful though.

    Interesting discussion and a good example of how honest discourse can generate thoughtful blog comments and a better understanding of both sides of a good debate.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @vrobisch Outstanding comments. You are exactly right. There are plenty of March Madness parallels, which is even more interesting, given the Indy ties.

  • http://blindinfluence.com brettgreene

    Great explanation of the whole kerfuffle Jay. It all comes down to what the original intent was, and how egos unexpectedly became speed bumps as the plan was executed. Kudos on shining a light on what really mattered and the lessons to be learned for future organizations looking to roll out similar campaigns.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @brettgreene Thanks Brett. I really don’t think the host committee meant to hurt anyone, they just maybe didn’t think it through from 360 degrees. But if this is the biggest misstep of the Super Bowl, I’d say we’ll all be very, very pleased. So many moving pieces.

  • http://hijinxmarketing.wordpress.com/ camandcodysmom

    This is a great post. I agree about the ‘mystery’ around the Social46. People just need to get over it! Everyone has an opportunity to post about the Super Bowl and how great it is for our city.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @camandcodysmom Hashtag democracy. Catch the fever!

  • Cord

    Great post @JayBaer . It’s like a bad soap opera over there in Indy. I think people need to realize that in real life like in the NFL, not everyone gets to play in the big game. On another subject, could you grab me one of those scarves? :)

  • s_marshall

    scarves are super nifty. :)

  • garthsklout

    @jonmikelbailey thats a great article @jonmikelbailey! thanks for sharing

  • Karen_C_Wilson

    In every instance that I’ve been invited or known of events where bloggers were invited, there has been a at least some backlash from people who weren’t. I’ve been on both sides and I can’t really relate to the complaints. In some cases, there’s an opportunity for those same people to put a bug in the right ear and they can get in.

    I understand that people don’t want to feel excluded or less worthy, but expressing your distaste over the process and lack of an invitation isn’t going to make the next brand eager to invite you.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @Karen_C_Wilson It’s weird, isn’t it. You’d think the blogging community – which is supposed to be based on collaboration and linking and stuff – would rise above. Makes it kind of a bummer to be in this business sometimes, actually.

      • HazelMWalker

        @JayBaer@Karen_C_Wilson It is the Crab Pot in action,

        it is a way of thinking best described by the phrase “if I can’t have it, neither can you.” The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless “king of the hill” competition (or sabotage) which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is that of a group that will attempt to “pull down” (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out ofenvy, conspiracy or competitive feelings. It is always working and this is just an instance where it is very visible.

  • jenzings

    Interesting situation. Of course, this is just the latest iteration of the classic “Top X Blogger List” stuff we used to see. Anytime some are selected above others, questions come up, feelings get hurt, etc. It’s silly, but it persists.

    Picking up on an aside you made, I still think it is monumentally stupid for a company to triage customer service based on Klout scores. There are plenty of important people out there who have either never touched Twitter, or just don’t use it that often (resulting in a lower score), or those who have opted out of Klout altogether. It’s a game of customer service roulette for companies to selectively ignore customers with low Klout scores. I wonder what the first big blowup of that process will be.

    Empower the customer service people on the front lines to fix the problems the first time for everyone and/or fix your underlying processes and you won’t have to give someone better treatment just because they use Twitter a lot.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @jenzings It may be monumentally stupid, but I think it’s going to be monumentally common, for good or ill.

  • rmpuckett

    First of all, I am not part of the Social 46. I sort of wish I was, but I also am sort of glad I’m not. Instead, I was able to control my own destiny. I chose to volunteer officially with the Super Bowl Host Committee upon the day it was announced that Indy won the bid. Later, I got the chance to choose on what volunteer team I wanted to be a part. Those who know me shouldn’t be surprised to learn that I chose the recycling team. (I’m much more passionate about recycling than social media.)

    The other day, I got to pick up my Super Scarf, a really nice winter jacket, a long sleeve Dry-Fit style shirt, two tickets to the NFL Experience, a warm headband (I could have chosen the “beanie”) and a chance to be a part of the action in the Super Bowl Village.

    I just wish the whole Social 46 thing had been handled differently and that those who regularly get civically involved had been asked to participate in this effort first. In my opinion, who really cares how “influential” the Social 46 are? The main criteria should be that they share useful/entertaining info with those following the hashtag.

    I sincerely hope nobody thinks I’ve been one to make a big deal about not being picked or making fun of those who have been selected. If I have, I hope you’ll contact me directly. I did tweet some mocking comments about the whole ordeal a few weeks ago. Here’s one: “I am the #nonsocial54 #occupytavernonsouth #Icantstopthesnark” – Do I really have to explain this is having fun with current events and not a critique of any person(s)?

    Anyway, I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to participate and enjoy this special event in the manner they see fit… even if it means going rouge with the #social46 hashtag ;-)

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @rmpuckett It’s all good. I used to be in the recycling biz myself a LONG time ago.

  • ashleyjacober

    Hi Jay, my name is Ashley Jacober and I head up the Klout Perks account management team. I know you have been apart of Klout for quite awhile now, so thank you for your continued support. We really appreciate your feedback on our Perks program, since we are always trying to improve the experience for our users. We understand your concerns about the FTC compliance rules and wanted to let you know that we post influencer code of ethics and disclosures under details on a particular Perk’s landing page for every Perk we handle. I would love to hear any other feedback or questions you may have, feel free to reach out – ashley@klout.com.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @ashleyjacober Hey Ashley. Thanks for chiming in. I’m very glad you mentioned that, and I’ll add it to the post. The host committee probably should have mentioned it in the meeting – it could have been a 10-second thing, but I am glad you reminded me about that “Details” tab on Klout Perks. Thanks.

  • http://www.dknewmedia.com/ freighter

    “I sent the club a wire stating, PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT ME AS A MEMBER” – Groucho Marx.

    First of all, my congratulations to those selected to help promote the Super Bowl in this way. Go do great things. I know some of the folks in the Social 46, and they are as diverse as the sandwiches found in the Super 46 promotion http://www.in.gov/visitindiana/super46/ . Some have lots of ham piled on, others lend towards the vegetarian options. Some will use this as a platform for self promotion. But that is the nature of this thing we call social media. The Super Bowl Committee chose these people for their own reasons, and it isn’t our job to second guess their choices, or their motives. Business decisions are made all the time.

    I would like to think that they assumed the 46 were disclosure savvy. A great example of effective disclosure can be found at the Visit Indiana blog http://www.in.gov/visitindiana/blog/index.php/ftc-disclosure/. There are some great folks over there including Jeremy Williams @jeremyawilliams and Erik Deckers. @edeckers

    There are many marketing professionals in this community that do great work. As professionals, they should understand that “celebrity” can be a double edged sword. I honestly don’t think more of Jay Baer because he is a social media celebrity, and I can’t imagine that he would think less of me for not being one. We’ve had several conversations, and they always feel comfortable, peer to peer. Jay and other folks in the spotlight have to prove their worth every time they post on their sites, make a speech, or write a book. If we as professionals don’t look beyond the cult of personality, then we only have ourselves to blame if we fall into the illusion that celebrity trumps authority and thought leadership. Does lack of celebrity infer lack of knowledge, skills, insight, or wisdom? Not by a long shot. Does celebrity in the sense of Klout score, followers, etc, help one in doing a great job for an employer or client? Not by a long shot.

    Can celebrity help to amplify messages? Absolutely. This is the essence of why the Social 46 was created.

    Will there be a huge opportunity to learn from the successes and mistakes brought about by this effort, and others? Absolutely. Why don’t we as a diverse group of professionals come up with a way to do just that?

    Marty Thompson

    Two Bananas Marketing

    http://www.twobananasmarketing.com

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @freighter @jeremyawilliams@edeckers Thank you Marty. Truly. First of all, being a social media celebrity is one step above winning a grade school spelling bee. Second of all, if you EVER catch me big-timing you or anyone else, feel free to apply a slap in the face. What I love about social media is that we’re ALL teachers, and we’re ALL students. People forget that at their own peril.

  • KatFrench

    Dude. I never comment anymore because, well, LIFE… but I wanted to jump in. Like you, I’m more a “social media nerd who happens to live in Indiana” than a “Hoosier social media nerd.” Plus, when I focus on local stuff, it’s generally about Louisville, which is my nearest metro. But I digress.

    Let’s be honest. The kerfuffle (excellent use of the word, BTW) is because social media is people. People get their undies all bunchy when they feel like they’re being slighted and left out. In other words, people take social media stuff personally, because social media is… duh… personal. Of course the corporate entities involved don’t have any obligation to talk about how they picked who they picked. Nobody’s really upset about how people got picked. They’re upset because they didn’t get invited to the prom. Call the wahmbulance. But you can’t say that and sound like a “serious social media professional” so you fabricate some controversy. It’s not controversial. And honestly, if a company picks 46 people based on their social media savvy and the size of their personal network, I would think they’d assume you’re already familiar with disclosure requirements. JMO. It’s kind of like hiring an attorney and feeling like you need to point out “anything I tell you is protected by attorney client privilege.” Knowing that is sort of their job.

    Anyway, stay warm, enjoy the game and keep on doing what you do.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @KatFrench Hi lady! Fantastic to see you back here. I never knew – I don’t think – that you lived across the border. Great to have you on our tax rolls. Actually, people really are upset about how the process was handled, but of course those are the people that weren’t selected, so I take your point. On disclosure, I’d assume so too.

  • dogwalkblog

    I would gladly send any Indianapolis blogger who was not chosen to be part of the Super 46 a sheet of DogWalkBlog stickers for free as a consolation prize. There are five different sizes. If you stick the large one on your belly, take a picture and send it to me, I will post it up on my blog where it will be seen by 18 real live human beings. But, the biggest benefit of all is you will feel extra special, especially when you go out walking your dog and proudly show off your sticker-encrusted belly.

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @dogwalkblog That’s a compelling offer! Tummy sticker tweet-up in 3, 2, 1….

  • http://cathypresland.com/entrepreneur-test/ CathyPresland

    Bugeoning kerfuffle indeed! I agree that the new tools might need intelligent usage but it’s like giving a car to a boy racer – what can you do – make them pass a driving test and hope for the best? Enjoy your scarf in the meantime…

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com JayBaer

      @CathyPresland wearing the scarf right now (indoors) just on general principle.

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ TheJackB

    Blog Envy. It is all about blog envy.

  • musinggypsy

    @CathyPresland @jaybaer Kerfuffle? That’s a new one.

  • jimcota

    Ah, hell. Jay, are you telling me that I’ve been using the #social46 hash without any recompense? No beanie? No scarf? No… well, anything? I thought the whole point of using a hashtag was to get free stuff. Why else would people be using #MoreBootyThanSheKnowsWhatToDoWith?

    (Note: In the event you didn’t catch it, this should also be tagged with #sarcasm)

    Well thought, well written, as expected. See you soon –

    /Jim

  • tombrownjr

    Ok @JayBaer , I read this yesterday and wanted to process. Selecting just #Social46. Good idea, badly implemented, 4 stars for at least trying. I think you are right that it is a great case study. I believe the main problem was how the perception was created. In a business world, it is always about measuring and numbers and here Klout makes a great effort to quantify something difficult and the organizers chose to use it. I think they should have listed the 46 as “Social Media Captains” or something similar and then specifically invite those that were ‘unfortunately’ not selected to help the Captain of their choice. Kind of make it a baby competition. (I love competitions in general). They could have used a phrase like “Not everyone can be selected but everyone could be a winner. Let’s help Indy shine.” And then released some very limited guidelines and maybe some suggestions.As far as those that were not selected, I feel one reason is that they lost the possible resume enhancing line for future income potential. It’s real easy to insert yourself into the conversation for possible future selection(s) on different events. Those that are whining and crying are really just shooting themselves in the foot, because the internet NEVER forgets. Those spewing the most vitriol are the least likely to be considered. IMHO.

    Thanks Jay, great recap of the issue and I will be very curious to read about the after action reports from this event.

    • rmpuckett

      @tombrownjr@JayBaer This is good thought about the “Social Media Captains” and its kind of how the volunteer teams work, at least the team I am on. There are “quarterbacks” who are in charge of shifts and managing volunteers.

  • tcmarketeer

    Interesting topic here. The issue with Klout is that there is no disguising what’s happening when you’re giving free stuff away based on a murky definition of influence. It’s not necessarily bad either… The question is really how long-term loyalty and engagement are going to be created and measured going forward after these programs are initiated.

  • AppDar

    Little late to the party here but I agree with most of you here. The committee could have kick off the hashtag with involvement from everyone and anyone in indy. Having said that, I think what they have done has worked. People are using #social46 and they’re using it right. I for one was not part of the group but I use it everyday. I went far as developing an app that would organize the content of the hashtag a little better. http://social46app.com (i’m not gaining anything from the app so I don’t see any reason why i shouldn’t be able to drop a link). Little over 24 hours since launched and its already gained over 200 downloads so i KNOW people are using both the hashtag and the app. The amazing part of the app is that once I heard of the social46 hashtag, I started working on it right away and completed it in 2 1/2 days. If the committee hadn’t come up with a way to standardize the super bowl conversations, useful information would be all over the place and there sure as hell wouldn’t an app. So, again, even though I don’t agree with the “46″ part, I do think the idea has worked.