Happiness, joy and big fat Klout scores

Back in my 20s I was full of energy and ambition. “Piss and vinegar” we used to say.  I was aiming for the next rung on the corporate ladder, getting my MBA, raising a family … and I always seemed tired and stressed.

I had a very special and influential teacher when I was in grad school who was a living Yoda.  One time we were sitting around having coffee and I was whining about the increasing anxiety in my workplace.

“It doesn’t have to be that way you know,” my teacher said.

My defensiveness was up. He was just so out of touch if he thought the pace of this world wasn’t stressful!

“Well,” I said, “If you don’t feel anxiety all the time, what DO you feel?”   Without hesitation, he stated “joy!”

This opened up one of the most important discussions of my life, a discussion that has influenced me to this moment.

Joy.  I had never really stopped to consider that as a goal for my life.  I decided I wanted to figure that out.

One of the things I discovered is that there is a difference between happiness and joy.  You can be happy about a hamburger.  You can be happy about a song. Happiness is temporary.  Joy is peace.

Living in a joyful way is a challenge but one key idea is staying focused on the reason for your journey.  If you KNOW why you are on your path, then you also have internal guideposts to lead the way. Stay focused on WHY you’re doing something.

But if your life is guided by external guideposts like Twitter followers, blog rankings … and even money … you might experience happiness but you will never experience joy because you will never achieve your goal. There will always be more, more, more to acquire. You won’t experience joy in the journey.

When you become active on the social web, it can be easy to be knocked off center because we are all being constantly measured — publicly.  There are so many ways to quantify you, and what you do, and compare it to others. Suddenly the journey is much less important than hitting that next level of Twitter followers or a higher Klout score.  And it just never ends.

For the past few weeks I have been immersed in a project that has brought me close to many people who are unquestionably obssessed with their online personas, appearances, and scores.

One guy told me he spent all his spare time tweeting at a high rate just to keep his Klout score up. I told him that it would certainly go down when he goes on vacation. “I can’t stop,” he said. “Even on vacation. There’s too much pressure to keep it up.”

Where is that pressure coming from? Something about the conversation made me sad.  All this social media stuff can be fun in its place but should it become a life goal?  Nobody is going to list the number of Twitter followers on my tombstone.

It makes me sad that increasingly, these external guideposts seem to be driving our behavior. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

I read a story where a guy was giving tips on how to cheat at Foursquare. So he’s cheating a system in order to earn an electronic badge to be a fake mayor of a donut shop.  And then what?  When will he have enough mayorships?  Will he ever experience joy?

I want to make sure you know I am not in a position to pontificate.  I am a work in progress too. I get knocked off center — at least just a little bit — every day.

For example, this week I was offered a lot of money to begin having “sponsored posts” (aka paid product reviews) on my blog.  Wow.  Money for blogging?  But after checking my internal guideposts I found violating the content on the blog with sponsored content does not support WHY I am blogging.  So I declined the offer.  Maybe you think I’m an idiot, but I feel peaceful about the decision.  I’m on the right path, at least for me.

Are you finding it harder to focus on your internal path when there are these numbers blinking at you, screaming to be optimized for your personal brand?  Do you see it differently, or are you experiencing the same concerns as me?

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  • I thought that was a really good blog post.  Klout is a fun thing to check, once in a while, but I agree, it really doesn’t matter.  I know someone with 20 times the followers, but her score is one point lower than mine.  I’m sure she mostly has junk followers, but feels really good about the big number.  I am just happy when I feel I have made a new connection. 

    I don’t worry about Klout, or followers (I block 50% of the people who try to follow me), I am just looking for interesting folks. The scores and such, take care of themselves.

  • A really good read. It does amaze me how people get so tied up in their social media world they forget to actually live in the real one. A cheat for Foursquare, that would be funny if it wasn’t a bit sad. Well done for maintaining your integrity and not accepting sponsored posts.

  • Hi Mark,

    Thanks for this is a very important post.

    I watch people with great ideas get so caught up in tactics (Twitter, Klout etc), that they lose the essence of what they were about and why they started in the first place. Their fabulous ideas and a little of them, gets buried under a mountain of tactics.
    I am experiencing the same concerns as you and wrote a post along these lines today.

    Is how we measure our influence getting out of hand?

    Here’s something I wrote in January about this on Pushing Social

    “Human beings have always kept score. It’s in our DNA to need feedback,
    to know where we’re at so we can work out where we’re going. The
    Internet has given us opportunities to leverage connections and more
    tools that enable us to keep score. It’s also given us more
    opportunities to matter.

    I’m just not sure there is an accurate measure for mattering.”

  • You are absolutely correct that you must follow your own moral compass, and always be guided by it.  I blog on intuition and psychic experiences and while I do offer services for a fee, I do not advertise except to recommend people I know and respect.  There is enough abundance for everyone – to view it any other way (for instance, by keeping “score”) is foolishness, in my mind.  If you think “competition”, you’re bringing “lack.”  I do believe you should earn income to support the effort you put out, but the ways it can come in are diverse and sometimes completely unexpected.  Keep on doing what you’re doing for your own reasons.

  • Making new connections is such a great goal, Brian.  A great example, too. Think about the activities that goal drives versus using “number of followers” as a benchmark.  Great insight. Thank you!

  • As I hoped I emphasized, I’m not perfect.  I hate that “superman” blogger syndrome some people seem to have.  But I am self-aware and TRY to live in joy each day  : )  Thanks for caring enough to comment Thomas.

  • That is a spectacular piece of writing.  And I’m PICKY!  (Just ask Stanford!)

    To me the measure for mattering is my positive impact on my family. None of whom read my blog, by the way.  So how’s that for a reality check?  : )

    But I also realize I have an opportunity to have an impact on this blog community. What an amazing position to find myself in.

    Thanks for the excellent comment Bernadette!

  • Competition — that is certainly one of the ways I can be thrown off. I love to compete in sports and in business and that is healthy unless it starts driving behaviors that lead away from joy!

    My personal challenge is not related to the abundance issue. I reach out to help my “competitors” every day.  It’s related to … let’s call it “worthiness” I guess?  There are a few bloggers out there who are incredibly successful while dishing out the most awful content and naive advice that I believe provides a poor example to people who look up to them. It got to the point where I simply had to block these pundits out of my stream because every time I would read some inane tweet it would knock me off the focus on what my path and my reasons for connecting with people should be.  Just one of my many peculiarities : )

    Thanks for the comment Julie.

  • This is a truth that too few people discover.  Happiness is happenstance.  Joy is a decision.  Great post, Mark!

  • Loved today’s post, Mark. It is always inspiring to see someone who tries to be aware of their intent.  This also reminds me of the one question that I ask myself whenever someone is trying to get me involved in a new project: why?  Amazingly, they don’t have a good answer. For me, if it doesn’t bring me joy (I used to say happiness till this morning) then it’s not for me. 

  • What a great post Mark. Being satisfied with what you have achieved so far is such a difficult state of being.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about the joy I had when I first started blogging four years ago. There was no pressure back then: I just did it for fun. But, there is so much pressure now. Blogging has morphed for me from leisure to a critical part of my work.

    I am not suggesting that I stop blogging as a part of my business, but instead to appreciate the joys in blogging. At its core, blogging is still the same activity that I enjoyed in my spare time. I just need to remember that.

  • Interesting that two of the most enjoyable bloggers I know posted on the same day about considering what is really important – albeit in much different ways. You and http://www.paolojr.com/blog/?p=5937

    I don’t have any revelatory advice for people. What I do say is this… Numbers are important at some initial stage of observation. Within any system, the biggest is often considered the best at first even when it is not actually the best on closer inspection.

    Social proof – having lots of Twitter followers, likes on Facebook, etc – is important, at least when it comes to making a good first impression to someone that might not know any better or might not have time to dig deeper, but you have to consider the long term value of chasing these numbers. Is a klout score (just following your one example) really going to get you closer to your dreams? If so, is putting time into your klout score forcing you to give up something that is more important? If not, have at it. If so…well, think about what you’re doing.

  • Great wisdom Harvey.  Thanks for sharing this!

  • Oh that “why” question is a killer!!  Ha!  Good advice Rosie. Thank you!

  • Fred this comment is a real gift.  I think you capture the feelings of a lot of people here. Thankfully, blogging is still a joy for me but geez that is hard to maintain at times.  I have far more ideas than I have time to write and it sure takes discipline to get everything done. I’ve kept my focus on using the blog to connect, teach and inspire and if I can keep that mindset and not become precoccupied with “the numbers” I should be OK! Thanks for this great comment!

  • I love numbers.  But they are a blessing and a curse some times! Numbers play a very important role in the social media world, as you say.  For me though, I have to keep them tightly corraled or I can go down a rabbit hole that leads to some very strange places.  Thanks for the balanced perspective Eric!

  • So Mark, it seems as though you have hit a nerve with most people, as I didn’t see one comment that said “wow, what a bad post” and I’ll continue that trend by saying, “well done.”

    One thing that has become apparent to me, and it appears many others who have been working / “living” in this space for a while now is that there are three standard types of people. One who focuses heavily on numbers, wanting more followers, shares, comments, and traffic. Then the complete flip side of the coin, where they could care less and are happy to share with 1 or 1 million people. Finally, there are people like yourself, and me who do care about the numbers, but have come to realize that if that’s all you focus on your missing the much bigger picture.

    Ironically, as you said recently, and many others in the filed are saying ~ It is when you stop focusing on numbers, that the numbers will increase. Focus on the meaning of what you are doing, not the opportunity for publicity.

    Again, well said

  • I really enjoyed this post.  My best friend and I always joke around that Facebook is not “real life”.  Even though it’s becoming a very “real” part of everyone’s life, it’s hard to keep the separation.  The older I get, the more willing I am to purge my friend list and just keep those who matter. 

    This is sometimes difficult though when your job involves around social media and things are constantly changing.  I find my self adding and following people just to stay informed, and then comparing myself, my company, etc. and getting sucked back into the numbers game.

    Thanks for reminding us about the joy we all possess, and that our number of social media connections aren’t entirely “real life”.

  • We just need to live our lives and be ourselves. Once you start tweeting to raise your Klout, you’re faking it. Or, perhaps…you’re not. And that IS sad.

  • Sarah Powell

    I needed this – thank you!  I’m relatively new to working in the world of social media, and really did get thrown in feet first.  I was (and still am) overwhelmed by the amount of ‘stuff’ that people are able to push out everyday.  It’s hard not to get caught up in that wave and feel like you’re failing if you don’t have a daily blog post and 20 insightful twitter updates.

    The funny thing is that the career move I recently made was because I was looking for more happiness in my job.  Thanks for the reminder to keep it all in perspective.

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  • Askaaronlee

    Reading this blog post reminds me of the Joy I have commenting and reading peoples comments and reminds me of my journey learning from others on the social web and the opportunities social web have given me. 

    I think the problem is, overcoming publics perception, which I feel might influence someone’s joy. I remember when Klout didnt matter at all, suddenly Klout took off and when I went to work (in the real world) people are asking other peoples Klout and how to increase it and why its important to increase. Of course for me personally, the journey of learning and sharing is more important than the Klout score. 

    Klout doesn’t last, friendships that we’ve developed over the years do. Oh yes and the joy of eating a delicious and yummy burger. 

    Thank you for reminding me what matters at the end of the day. 

  • Darn, didn’t sign in into my disqus properly. 

  • You make so many good points in this post! I hadn’t really thought about finding joy versus happiness in life, but now I understand how the two are different.

    But what I can’t understand is how people like the person you mentioned who felt pressure to keep his Klout score up can truly get gratification from that. Sure, it may seem like everything right now, but like you said, you (hopefully) aren’t going to put your Twitter followers on your tombstone. We should strive to achieve more in life than high Klout scores and online connections.

  • Hi Mark,

    I look at my Klout score from time to time, but I refuse to drive myself crazy over it. According to our friends at Klout I am influential about The Beatles, Mazdas, and Bacon
    The problem with Klout is that they don’t take into account what you actually blog about – only the title – so my blog post “The Man in the Mazda” which was about a stalker, gets me “influence” about something not relevant to what the post was actually about.

    I always want more followers, but I really want engaged followers who actually want to converse with me. I could have double the followers if I let the bots stay. But I get rid of them as soon as I see them.

    Focusing on what is really important instead of the rat-race is something I forget often. Thanks for the reminder Mark.

  • Lgbham

    This was a very timely post, and I’m hoping alot of folks heed your advice.  It reminds me of the old saying “if you win the rat race you’re still a rat”….
    Here’s to JOY!

  • I love this post. As a yogi and a communications professional, I am constantly struggling to find balance. It is so easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of a business world that moves so fast. The great Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Words of genius….stop every once in a while to fully experience the moment and the journey. Take it all in.

  • I love this post. As a yogi and a communications professional, I am constantly struggling to find balance. It is so easy to get caught up in the hectic pace of a business world that moves so fast. The great Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Words of genius….stop every once in a while to fully experience the moment and the journey. Take it all in.

  • Nicely done, Mark.

    And your thoughts send my thoughts in about 14 directions. The inner perfectionist in me wants me to go create a gorgeously written comment. The joyful Pollyanna I’ve chosen to cultivate says, “Just say it.” So here goes…

    (1) The anecdote about guy who is so focused on a Klout score that he’s forgotten to live life made me sad. It reminded me of the guy I knew who spent his entire summer in front of Joust so that no one could bump him from the leaderboard. At the 7-11. In College Station, TX. What a way to spend a summer.

    (2) Then I got a little nauseous about the guy cheating on foursquare. It reminds me of my son. He’s all about the cheat codes. Why solve a puzzle if you can “mod in the solution”? It’s baffling behavior to me. What is an “accomplishment” worth if you didn’t actually accomplish it?

    (3) Then I did a little whoop yell of joy over your choice to keep your blog spam free. While I completely understand the desire (and need!) to monetize our online realities, I like ads to look like ads, endorsements to look like endorsements, and articles to actually be articles. Those lines feel like integrity to me. Living with integrity — and surrounding myself with folks who do — brings me joy.

    (4) It’s true what that say about joy v happiness. Flourishing is all about getting in touch with our authentic inner self, identifying the gifts we bring, and following that internal path. Sometimes it feels awkward to change our focus that way, but, as you’ve so beautifully said, the reward is pretty wonderful.

    Gina ;~}

  • Nice.  The reminder of WHY is so very important.  Why are you blogging? Why are you racing around? WHAT are you ultimately trying to achieve?? Are you giving yourself credit for achieving it in the least?  Driving yourself mad to get to “success” seems to be missing the entire point.

    Nice post.

  • Right on – a score isn’t a true measure if you have to cheat to get there.  Those who find joy in their work and supply valuable content for the right reasons will come out on top in the end.

  • Mark, somewhere along the way, I stopped reading your blog as much as I should. Sad, as one of your posts is what pushed me over the edge and had a hand in getting me to start blogging in the first place, and this reminds me of it.

    We are too caught up in what everyone else thinks, in connecting with our audience, with our public numbers, that we chase the same topics, rehash the same views, and in the end, have a pool of content we have slaved over that is really just a pool of sameness, skinned with our own writing style and adorned with our obligatory headshot.

    I recently resolved to get back to why I blog, after being dragged away from my real purpose by rising Triberr stats. I posted it here in the hopes others will take me to task the next time I stray, and help keep me on course: http://digitalb2b.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/marketing-measurement-misleads/

    I need to add this community back to my list as well as your perspectives continue to remind me why I really started blogging.

    Thanks for the continuing inspiration!

    — @wittlake

  • “I’m on the right path, at least for me.”  I couldn’t agree more.

    I was put on this planet for only one purpose, and that is my 3-word Mission: To spread joy.
    It’s what I wake up every day to do.  I lead a blessed life.  And although I too can get “knocked off centre”, I find my way back.  No, I’m no Pollyanna…I just choose to see my world, not through rose-coloured glasses, but with a glass half-full…or in my case, completely full attitude.  I find that rubs off on people.  Joy is contagious.  We can all spread it and bask in it.  Cheers!  Kaarina

  • Thanks for the reality check there Tonya.  Much appreciated!

  • That is a very powerful comment. Can’t add to that Ken.

  • You do bring up an interesting perspective — when the “numbers” are forced on you by your job!  It’s possible, especially in social media.  I am hearing stories of people being offered jobs based on “their number.” Yipes.

  • Integrity. Not some self-righteous stand about this and that. But the courage to be. Sounds like you got it. And what you got will inspire others. Now, that’s cause for joy. So keep on causing joy! It multiplies.

  • I do love hamburgers. Just sayin’

    Thanks for this very persoanl comment Aaron. So good to hear from you!

  • I’m glad this had an impact on you, Nikki. Thanks for letting me know. I do understand how people can get swept up in the numbers. It can be intocixating to get that positive reinforcement (I just became the mayor!).  Gaming companies are mkaing millions fo dollars on that principle!   But it’s not lasting. The best reinforcement is what comes from inside if we can just get quiet enough for a minute to pay attention to it : )

  • Amen. 🙂

  • You’re influential about bacon???  That explains a lot actually.  You and I have always just connected and now i think I know why.  Fat, cholesterol, calories, salt … perhaps God’s most perfect food.

    Tnanks for your comment Nancy!

  • Ha!  Well said!

  • Thanks for bringing one of my favorite movies into play here today! : )

  • This is a great blog post.  Seriously. Well done Gina!

  • Beautiful.  That is the question to ask every day.

  • A vacation comment.  I’m not worthy! : )

  • Great!  Welcome back, Eric!

  • You are my hero.  Truly, you inspire.

  • Same concerns, but there isn’t an existing struggle. I look at these numbers as amusement in my day. A passing curiosity and maybe a measure of how well I’m engaging with a variety of people (that’s what really excites me, after all). What was hard was focusing on my internal path while in school, where conformity reigns. This? Well, this is easy in comparison.

    Not to say that it isn’t hard, but it’s easier to follow your own path when you don’t have a million people telling you that it won’t work or doesn’t work that way. And that’s really what school has: people telling you that conformity is the right path for everyone. 

    Then again, this does become a struggle when you surround yourself with people who do obsess or value these numbers. I don’t. I’ve been lucky. The people I’ve engaged with on the social sphere see it as all in good fun and don’t place much importance on it. 

    It’s always about the choices we make.  

  • Yep, he’s picky but smart as hell 😉

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  • I never thought about joy and happiness the way you defined it in your post. Sounds like happiness is something that comes from outside yourself? It’s what you collect to feel bigger: Money, recognition (Twitter followers and Klout scores), power? And joy is what comes from within by being true to who you are, by doing what feels right, by following your heart.

    I think we are all mostly taught to strive for happiness, by your definition, not for joy. And I think what ultimately makes us successful is what we do out of joy, not what we do to “achieve” happiness.

    That makes clear how huge a mistake you made: You should’ve ignored your internal guidepost and accepted the offer for sponsored posts on your blog 🙂

  • There are a lot of numbers I check regularly for my business – number of leads, number of sales, page views on the site, number of new people I’ve met in a given week, and many others. Social media “scores” like Klout are fun to look at when I have a spare second and think about it but otherwise I don’t pay attention to it. It doesn’t drive my business nor dictate how I act online or off. And it shouldn’t rule the actions of others as well.

    This is one instance where I’ll go old skool and pull a lesson I learned in my MBA – stick to the fundamentals and you won’t go off course.

  • Ain’t that the truth! I have a document with loads and loads of blog post ideas. Finding the time to write them all is definitely a challenge. It’s a delicate balance to keep your blog going without it feeling forced and letting it sit because you don’t feel inspired or joyful about doing it. 

  • Mark – This is one of the many reasons why I respect you. You do a great job of putting things in perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in the hoopla of it all and lose focus on the things that really matter. 

    I actually wrote a post about joy at the beginning of the year. I think it’s so very important. In fact, your post made me go back and read what I wrote. I’m glad I did – it was a good reminder. Here it is in case you want to take a look (http://flybluekite.com/2011/01/18/what-gives-you-joy/)

    Oh, and one more thing – I think goals are critically important, especially for a business. However, I tend to operate by guiding principles – how I want to live my live and how I want to run my business. I think by following those principles and staying true to what makes sense for me, success will follow! At least I hope! 😉

  • Your blog post brought a smile to my face as I’d discussed a similar topic with a colleague and friend recently. Life is about quality not quantity and being real. Being in our 40s we were discussing it in relation to the younger generation of ‘social media’ people out there. Yes we can learn from them and they keep us on our toes but this crazy obsession with # of followers and FB friends is just plain exhausting! Having a great family life and loyal kind friends beats 1, 000, 000 followers anyday. Keep up the great blog posts Mark!

  • I like to compare checking Klout to getting on the scale…in both cases, looking at it on more than a weekly basis does nothing but drive you crazy.  Thanks for another great slap upside the head post 🙂

  • Mark, you’re on a roll! Thanks for this. I loved it and the perspective.  I think that’s why so many folks are feeling “fatigued” lately – they’re focusing on the wrong goals and forgetting the why for being here in the first place.  I can’t speak for everyone, so I’ll rephrase that.  It’s easy for me to get knocked off center lately…once you’re on the roller coaster of “influence” it’s a strange ride and surprisingly, not that much fun.  

    As I wrote many months back, my clients could care less about my Klout score, they want results.  I care about my relationships, not the score.  Like you, my score took a dip while I was on vacation, but that’s ok, I had one of the best vacations I’d had in a LONG time and my relationships with people right in front of me improved dramatically.

    thanks, again!

  • You certainly hit on something that resonates! For me if I’m down I feel constantly behind, overwhelmed and inadequate. When I’m not it doesn’t matter.

    The hardest part of my profession is how I can see my peers and what they’re doing. Most of the time I’m happy for them or it has nothing to do with me. Other times it’s easy to compare yourself.

    It’s not just in business either — by reading blogs you can compare your writing skills, parenting, craft or cooking skills with the most talented people. You can see how your friend got invited to go to India or another person went to Disney World free.

    We used to not have such a window into other people’s life and business. I love it most of the time but the rest of the time I have to regain perspective – like the advice in your post.

    Blog On,

  • Wow, that is a really nice comment Stan.  Very cool. Thanks! 

  • Great integrity and wisdom with this comment Shad.  I worry about the high-school-like tendencies of the social web, especially with the increasing number of ways to compare and compete.  But you’re on the right track.  I think you and I would really get along IRL based on your contributions to the community so far!

  • I am doing a happy dance that Dagi is back in the comment section.  I have been thinking about you and wondering where you have been. I hope you have been happy (or joyful!) busy?  It is always a gift to hear from you. Hope you’re back?  : ) 

  • You know it’s funny. I’m a numbers guy but at this point in my life, I am just kind of letting things happen and enjoy the ride. I help others dive into stats but really pay too much attention to them on a daily basis other than blog return visitors. I’ve changed a lot over the past few years!  Thanks Robert.

  • Amen (and a superb post).  Thanks for your very generous words Laura! 

  • I am in a weird place. I think I do have the right focus AND I have a lot of followers. It just happened.  I consider it an honor that people are interested enough to follow me (as long as they are not spammers) so I don’t resist it, but it can make things exhausting,. More important, I hate it when things slip through the cracks due to volume. Thanks Lisa.

  • Fantastic.  Love that Rosemary!

  • Hey when it gets too bad for you, hop in your car, come over the mountain and we’ll go have coffee. : ) 

  • Very poignant and honest assessment Janet. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • If you’re ever in the Los Angeles area, let me know. 

  • Great post and comments. And, so on target. The interesting thing I’ve seen is that social
    media is about the masses not individuals. Individual scoring is only for advertising and promotion purposes. True analytics of social content look to the entire relevant community for opinions and issues, not specific individuals necessarily. Influence is only about ability to persuade not really about insights and market measurement. These are two totally different topics of discussion.

    But, one thing I’d like to take strong issue with. Mark, I know we’ve talked about the “purist” position before but I really don’t believe anyone in this community would have an issue with you being paid to do specific product reviews from time to time as long as they are unbiased, the products are of interest to your community and you’ve disclosed the fact payment was made.
    You’ve done these before (without being paid) and did a great job (in fact one generated a specific business opportunity for my company). Your blog site is structured in a way to do these and separate them from your traditional discussion posts. These reviews could also be delivered on other sites totally separate from {GROW}.

    I’d really love to hear this community’s opinions on this knowing how well your opinions
    and unbiased views are respected and trusted. And, quite often business opportunities come of them for some and equally as often, new products / services could be presented to the community that can help in many ways.

    At the end of the day, we all have to eat!!!!!

  • You both are! The world needs a few more like you :).

  • You never know!  I used to live there. I loved it actually.

  • Amazing, amazing, amazing.  Quick everybody, go read Gina’s blog!!

  • That’s a really great perspective Josh. Interesting.  I wouldn’t say I ignore things but I do focus primarily on content.  For me, focus on content has worked and the followers have, well … followed!  Does that work for everybody?  I don’t know it’s not a world of absolutes.  There are lots of ways to get followers these days! : )

  • I truly appreciate the encouragement on this my friend. But unfortunatley nobody gets paid for a neutral product review. They would basically control the content and even moderate comments!  That is just not my gig. It would make me physically ill to do that.

    Makes you wonder though — these people are planting their links out there and other bloggers must be taking the money somewhere.  The blog is my heart, the community is my friends. Neither is for sale. : )

  • A happy-dance for ME? Now I’m dancing as well. Yes, I’m keeping busy. Joyfully most of the time. I read {grow} every day, though. Just so you know. I just don’t always have something of value to add. But I am here keeping up with you.

  • Had to like and reply- I am an LA native. Truly one of the finest cities around.

  • I like Klout for a variety of reasons most of which synch with my ability to use my Klout score to drive business. I would write regardless of its existence and be fine.

    I got my first cellphone when I was around 30. I am 42 now and love my phone…most of the time. Sometimes I hate being connected, but overall the benefits outweigh the cons.

    But I can still say that I lived quite nicely without my phone for the majority of my life. I expect that I could go back to that with relative ease. Yet, that would remove a very effective tool from my life and I am not sure that makes sense.

    Klout is a tool to me and its usefulness is contingent upon my ability to use it.

  • Wisdom of the crowd:
    Apparently, pretending to be cool, smart, and/or successful is clearly better than being happy.

    Beware the sage crowd.

  • Vehemently agreeing, I have let go of my desire to “hit 70” in Klout.  Particularly diatisfying is that
    1. Foursquare (never even registered for that time-suck) now scores in their formula and
    2. Klout perks, which I have began to qualify for, tease me by sending them my way – only to decline me, as soon as they realise I am not residing in the U.S.

  • Anonymous

    Spot on! Nothing more to add, you’ve said it all. I’m off to play with my daughter. ‘Nuff said… Thanks for nudging me back to reality.

  • This reminds me of what Stephen Covey highlights – we (humans) are the only animals with the option to choose.  We can choose to chase twitter feeds or we can choose to use our time another way.  Finding a state of joy seems like as good a use of time as any!

  • I’m honoured beyond words; thank you Mark.

  • Anonymous

    “Are you finding it harder to focus on your internal path when there are these numbers blinking at you, screaming to be optimized for your personal brand?”

    Heck yeah. And while I know that’s *my* problem, a twitch of my sympathetic nervous system trying to process cultural intangibles the same way it’s wired to process physical safety…it’s comforting to know others struggle with it as well.

    We give these numbers power because we think they represent our ability to take care of ourselves in the world, to take care of our families. We give them power because we’re hierarchical, social animals and we “get,” deep in our nervous system, the risks to our safety posed by being less highly ranked within a group of other such animals.

    Joy = peace precisely because it’s freedom from those deep, atavistic chains concerning social rank.

    Thanks for this post, Mark – you have a knack for aiming your content right to where I need it most!

  • HI Mark, 
    I’m delighted that I just found your site! Interestingly, I’ve landed here via some inspiring individuals I have connected with as a result of a chance meeting, and a lengthy conversation centered around positive living and passion.  I am inspired by what you’ve written here. It is so true that when we experience joy in what we are doing, everything else falls into place just as it should.  Thanks for the reminder about what really matters, in business and in life.

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  • Ah, then it ceases to be a review and more of a paid infomercial!  That’s a different thing but unfortunately how most companies operate and think.  I wonder when they’ll truly understand the reality behind the “Social Web”. 

  • This may sound weird, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I came across this post, and its message, at this particular time in my life. Thanks for the inspiration, Mark.  

  • Nice.  What a great world we live in. : )

  • Twitter is a majestic random synergy. See how these cool connections work? Thanks for becomeing part of the community Janet! Look forward to getting to know you.

  • I need need need to meet you.  We would talk all freaking day about this stuff. It is so incredibly interesting, exhilirating, inspiring and scary as hell.

  • NIce addition to the commentary. Much appreciated!

  • LOVE THAT!!!! 

  • The klout score is becoming had to avoid. People ask me about it. Put me on lists about it. It’s just always in my face it seems.  Even if I didn’t look at the site I can’t help but have that “blinking light” reminding me. So, I’m sympathetic to anybody trying to stay centered Saul!

  • Maybe the way it has always been?

  • I love your practical take on things Jack. You are a steady voice of reality in the {grow} community!  Thanks!

  • I think they do.  Google-friendly links are gold.  That is the underlying driver of the social media economy.

  • Seriously, you add so much here — one of the web’s best writers.  Drop in now and then just so I know you’re there : )

  • I lived there for four years and loved every minute of it except the 405.  : )

  • I paid $32.87 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, goo.gl/E7RmW

  • Anonymous

    OMG, yes, we would talk all dang day (and I’d lose my voice I’m sure)! Ditto and double-dog dare ya on that “need to meet” – it would be AWESOME fun!

    So…will you be in Austin anytime in the next few months? Traveling anywhere else? Since I’ve just started a new gig, won’t be traveling to San Francisco/San Jose as much as before, but likely will be traveling to Boston and Fort Lauderdale later this fall to work a couple of conferences.


  • Mark,

    Thought provoking post, to say the least.  Especially for me, since on the one hand I’m in the business of measuring influence and how people’s voices resonate across the web through my company, mBLAST, and on the other hand I value offline social interactions as the father of four great kids, husband to an amazing wife, and lover of being “in the real world” making connections, teaching, learning and finding joy in things far removed from social nets.   

    As someone who spends my days learning and and talking about influence measurement, I would agree with your point that there’s a degree of a “popularity contest” going on right now.  When pop stars are measured against presidents, who are in turn measured against comedians and journalists that’s how you end up in the rat race you describe.

    A different way of looking at measuring influence — our way of looking at it — is that influence should be measured, not by sheer volume alone, but on a topical basis.  That way, you don’t have to worry about competing with the Justin Biebers of the world.  Rather, you can focus on conversations about the things you’re passionate about, and find your place among people who are also talking about what matters to you.  Yes, your level of influence will still be based on how active  you are online and how big your audience is.   But since we’ll be measuring your voice on the topics you write on the most and the topics you have the greatest interest in, we are far more likely way to discover your real influence and the influence of others most like you.    And that’s harder to game, since you sincerely have to be passionate to talk more about your favored topics.
    I’d love to hear your thoughts.
    Gary Lee, CEO mBLAST

  • Mark,

    Joy is peace – I love it. I attended a meditation class tonight and that is exactly what I felt. Focusing on the reasons for the journey is so important if we’re going to truly be at peace.

    Obtaining a high Klout score and compromising our values, makes no sense at all. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the external forces when you focused on excelling in social media.

    Thanks so much for writing this amazing post and helping me to remember to listen to my internal guideposts.


  • Now I may have to dance some more… I will, Mark. You’re just the best!

  • I guess I’m way behind… first time I’ve heard of a “klout” score.  And I already know I don’t care.  Look at the photo you included with this post.  Do they care about a “klout” score?  NOT!  I had a great conversation today with a good friend about passion.  Used to be our passions were focused – on our job, our family, our relationships.  Now it feels like the passion has opened up and includes all the elements of our lives – yes it’s jobs, family and relationships, but it’s also this world and the next, friends, experiences, the quiet times.  It’s having a passion about the bigger picture, as it were, the mosaic that we are creating with all the individual bits of our life.  “Klout” score?  I don’t think this it fits in my picture..

  • To Spread Joy must be the message followed by everyone & we have to plan even very small things for joy. It is very true that Joy is Contagious. If we spread it, it will go to everyone. Live Blessed Life.. That is what i want to convey everyone….

  • Excellent – what I always expect from you and you deliver.

  • Anonymous


    Well done.  This is my favorite of your posts so far.

    A good thing to remember is that the soundest writings about happiness make no mention of Twitter follows and Klout scores.  See e.g. Seligman http://amzn.to/oEyPlI; Csikzentmihalyi http://amzn.to/pPvXiK.

    Seligman is the father of positive psychology.  He’s recently rethought his theory of happiness.  He considers it one of several factors in what he calls “well-being.”  Accomplishment is one of those factors.  It includes (but isn’t limited to) success in our work.  There are countless people, he says, who are hugely accomplished but not happy. They wonder why. It’s because they’re lacking in the other factors – things like personal relationships and engagement in what they’re doing. 

    This goes to what you’ve written about experiencing the journey.  I suppose that’s about the same thing as engagement in what we’re doing.  How can someone be engaged in what he’s doing when he’s tweeting all day to keep his Klout score up?  And, as you point out, how could a goal ever be reached if so much energy is spent like that?

    Here’s an example that comes to mind.  Consider Derek Sivers.  I’m guessing he has a pretty high Klout score (I haven’t actually checked).  I know he has a ton of Twitter followers.  There’s a reason for those things: What he did has huge intrinsic value.  His book makes clear that he was completely engaged in the process of building CD Baby, and that he never lost sight of why he was doing it. His book also makes clear the level of focus it all took.  

    Seems like we can all take a lesson.

    Thanks for a great post.


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  • Great post Mark. My test? If it’s not fun, why am I doing it? Id I apply this daily it helps keep me centered. Thanks again.

  • AMEN!

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