Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Invisible Twitter Man

An interesting controversy on Twitter today. Matt Bacak, anyone ever hear of him? – Exactly - self released a press release calling himself, The Powerful Promoter, “First Facebook, now Twitter. The Powerful Promoter, Matt Bacak, has taken himself to the top of the social media networks yet again, this time beating out 99.9% of the fastest growing site's members”. As you would expect, the Twitterverse has not been kind. Scott Baird, describes the reaction in his blog, Matt’s press release states “Anyone can call their promotional abilities ‘powerful’ but I actually prove that mine are,”. “The problem is that this type of ego really contradicts the the overall social media mentality which is basically “It’s not about you, it’s about the overall community”.


You can see the backlash through Twittersearch. Bacak has been called the Biggest Douche in Social Media and 232 people have dugg the article with 69 comments at this time. Jamie Scheu described the situation well on his blog, Promote Your Way to Irrevocable Personal Humiliation.


As humiliating as this situation may be, it points out the problem with our obsession with keeping score. Matt Bacak wrote a press release because he got a high Twittergrader score.


How does a guy who follows just 32 people with 1500 updates and most importantly, no one knows, get such a high score? As you can see, Bacak is so memorable that real Top Twitterer, Aaron Brazell, calls him Joe. Maybe the wizards at Twittergrader need to go back to Hogwarts. How can you give a person that no one on Twitter knows a 99.9! Aside from the grade inflation or algorithm problems, I think what the Invisible Twitter Man points out is the problem with ego and score obsession in social media. Hopefully, we can get back to Scott Baird’s point and let social media be about the overall community.

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Danny Brown said...

This is the problem I have with the Twitter Grader algorithm. It seems to grade you on not only your Tweets but also the calibre of the people you follow. So, an Internet marketer like Matt (who may be a nice guy in real life) could just follow the big names, have a decent sized following himself, and Grader will think he's awesome :)

Which, going by the blogs and Tweets about his press release, may be harder to prove.

Just goes to show never bring an ego to a social party. ;-)

Mike Volpe - HubSpot said...

Twitter Grade is a number. It's based on:
- The number of followers you have
- The power of this network of followers
- The pace of your updates
- The completeness of your profile

There are over 500,000 profiles in the database, and according to the metrics, if you have 2,000+ followers, you are in the top 1000 or so users on all of Twitter.

He did NOT make the Global Twitter Elite list - http://twitter.grader.com/topusers

He is only "Elite" in Atlanta, and I'll let other argue how much that does or does not matter.

Again, Twitter Grade is just a piece of data, and it is pretty analytical/independent. How you use it is up to you.

Warren said...

@mvolpe Thanks for explaining how the algorithm works. And like you say, how one uses it is up to the individual. Unfortunately, as Danny says, the Twittergrader is feeding the egos.

Thanks again for the comments, much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

This is all news to me which proves your title as true: Matt remains invisible to me.

Geoff_Livingston said...

I want to be Matt Bacak when I grow up. Not. He typifies all that is wrong with the personal branding phenomena.

CathyLarkinWebSavvyPR said...

Awhile back, twitter grader was out of whack and was giving out high scores to everyone for a half-a day or so. Several of us pointed it out - that our scores had jumped higher for no apparent reason. Before they found it was an glitch, I received a tweet that pointed out 1 piece of info about Twitter grader's algorithm.

1) That it is graded on a curve. That means that scores of longer-time users increase when there is an influx of new twitter users (which has likely been happening with all the recent news articles etc.) Mike - correct me if I'm wrong.

As I said on Twitter earlier today; when he wants to grow beyond 2,000 followers, he will get a rude awakening - I believe that you have to follow 2,000 people before you can go above that # in followers. If that is the case, he will have a lot of catching up to do.

More on our "hype dude." He is the type that gives PR people a tarnished image. We are not all that way - the quality of the relationships you create and how appropriately you leverage those relationships - is key. It's not a numbers game. Substance (content) and relationship-building, not hype is what builds a brand - whether a client's, or your own.

We all can make mistakes, as this is a new playing field for all of us (some folks are have the experience of varsity players - having started earlier - to over-extend a comparison), and the game/rules keeps changing. We'll see how he fairs.

In all fairness, I haven't yet checked his blog or twitter stream to see what he is saying about it. But it is good to see twitter grader paying attention and clarifying things from their POV.

amyz5 said...

Being relatively new to Twitter I have fallen in love with its possibilities.

What is less lovable is the constant self promotion by some. Sure, promoting your blog or business is fine on Twitter, but the beauty of this medium is the sharing. Honestly, if the only things you have worth sharing are about yourself you are missing the richness of Twitter.

Warren said...

Ike Pigott has a very funny and helpful post on his blog, Occam's RazR, describing how he became the #1 Twitter Elite on Planet Earth, http://zi.ma/ike. He ridicules those like Bacak who game the system for self-promotion. I think you will enjoy it.

Adrienne said...

Alright, so the guy wasn't too bright for thinking it's all about him but because of the viral nature of social media, EVERYONE knows who he is now.

I'd say that's "Mission: accomplished" in social media terms. Though how he'll use that to his advantage remains to be seen.

Kathy said...

Hi, Warren - thanks for the tip. There's a difference between effective self promotion and ego. I'd like to think that the social space might be able to put a nail in the coffin of the "any print is good print" meme. This sounds like a case study!