Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

You Are Always Being Judged. Deal With It.

I overheard (couldn’t help it; waiting in line) somebody complaining about social media metrics like the Klout score, a measurement of influence. She said: “What’s up with these people to try to judge and rank people?”

And I thought to myself:

1. You are always being judged and evaluated…

A couple of generations ago we were all judged on appearance, dress, diction, actual resume stuff, and perceived resume stuff. We went from being tracked through dumb class to smart class beginning in first grade through the whole high-school thing with grades and SAT scores, dating and coolness assumptions, athletics, accerated classes, or not. And then there was which college, which degrees, and, finally, for some of us, which grad degrees. And did we marry or not, and if so, kids or not. And then where we lived, what car we drove.

People have been sorting and selecting and evaluating and judging other people for thousands of years. There is nothing new about that.

2. At least it’s objective…

So now it’s almost 2011 and we’re all doing it as much as we ever did. I don’t deny it. I google you if I’m going to meet you, check out your blog if you have one, your website if you have one, look at the “about” page to see what you think is important about yourself, see who you think you are. Don’t you?

So what’s so bad about a ranking system for Twitter and Facebook based on some algorithms, measuring how your self-published items flow to the rest of the world?

(Disclosure: one of my daughters works with klout.com)

  • Hello Tim:

    Your daughter is terrific in her job. (And she tweeted about your blog, which is why I’m here.) I had several interactions with her over the phone as I was trying to figure out Klout, and she was extremely helpful.

    Also, I’m with you: get over it! Even if we’re not “judgmental” we make snap judgments every day. Just look at the wild success of Malcolm Gladwell’s BLINK.

    Keep up the good work – as a father and a blogger!

  • While I do understand that on some level we all market ourselves, I find it incredibly offensive when people talk to me about building my personal brand. I’m a human being, not a box of laundry detergent, and I have no interest in celebrity or notoriety. Why are these narcissists unable to grasp that concept?

    I just do what I do. I write what I feel like writing, I share what I feel like sharing. I know people are looking but how people might judge me never enters my thought process. I’m not a complete megalomaniac so of course I do some editing; but for the most part I just go about my day. I don’t care that someone is calculating an index that distills my online life into a number others will use to judge me. The people who would do that aren’t people I want to know.

    I had never heard of klout, so I looked up myself and was amused by how wrong it was about me. Thanks for the good laugh.

    • Thanks Charles, I completely agree with you about personal branding, and I’ve posted to that effect here with Is Personal Branding Really Impersonal Faking too … and I’m totally with you on writing what you want to and sharing what you want to. Even more so with your impression of people who judge you based on some index number.

      On the other hand, there’s a lot of serious thinking going on about social media as legitimate business activity, part of a business plan, and just as much as I don’t want to judge people by numbers, I do think business activities need to relate to metrics because that puts them into the context of planning and management. So that’s a reason to include analytics including things like page views, responses, clicks, downloads, and yes, klout scores too, as part of the proper planning process.

      So I don’t put up with anybody confusing my metrics with me, and I don’t think you or anybody else should; but I am also comfortable with having my business activities subjected to review and analysis. And that means metrics.

  • Thanks Tim, nice move promoting family and adding your own rating 🙂

    I wouldn’t go as as calling it objective as the “judging” is happening based on quantity and less on quality. But I love the concept behind Klout. You might also be interested to look at https://www.generalsentiment.com/ (none of my family works there:-)

    Best, Daniel

    • Daniel, I know you’re just poking fun, but the disclose-or-not disclose issue is sensitive with me. I do try to stay objective. I believe I post about Klout when I do because I believe in metrics as part of business planning, and they’re doing the best job. I don’t intentionally promote anybody, not even my own company and its products. I do post about a lot of sites, praise a lot of other posts, try to share what’s interesting to me, and I’m not going to rule out something just because one of my five children works there. But since bias is sometimes unconscious, I disclose so that you can be the judge.

  • Good point. Of course, we’re okay being judged if we’re hanging with the cool kids… People really ought to spend less time worrying about being judged and more time making sure they’re being judged on their terms. As you pointed out, much of what we look at today is what the person has said about themselves.

  • Tim, Wonderful observation. Reminds me of our kids no
    longer allowed to keep score in sporting events…but they all do
    nonetheless! Being judged and evaluated is a great motivator for
    excellence. Cheers, Steve

    • Thanks Steve. You’re right: I love keeping score, but only when mine is improving.