Weekly Wide Web

I Don't Need Your Klout

I generally believe that social media shouldn't be about keeping score, but it's a little bit of a challenge to stay away from that mentality.

Here at the Tucson Weekly, most of us full-time editorial staffers have set up personality pages on Facebook to promote our work—and I'm guilty of comparing how many "likes" I have to everyone else. I suppose I'd like to think of myself as being "liked" by more than 40 people, but what difference does it really make? It's sort of an arbitrary number anyway ... which is exactly what I'll be telling myself while I cry myself to sleep.

Among the countless number of startups hitting the online news circuit this week is Crowdbooster, which goes to strangely cynical lengths to help its users gain Klout, a number that's supposed to measure your social-media influence. Maybe I should be spending time trying to improve my Klout score, since that could be the cultural currency of the future—determining who gets jobs or is worthy of love or something—but in general, it seems silly. Crowdbooster frames everything on the Internet through the paradigm of Klout, so you can instantly determine which Twitter users are worthy of a follow, and which can be safely ignored due to their general lack of Kloutitude. This might make sense for someone in marketing, but in civilian life, it just feels weird.

I might be old-fashioned, but I think I'll stick to following people based on whether I like them or find them interesting.

The week on The Range

We discussed getting shut out of Sen. John McCain's town hall; predicted that Sen. Jon Kyl would continue his cut-taxes-and-entitlements crusade on the new federal-budget supercommittee; watched Americans sour—at least temporarily—on the Tea Party; watched the rise of GOP presidential contender Michele Bachmann; wondered how state Sen. Scott Bundgaard was able to a get "Friend of the Family" award after getting in a fight with his (now-ex-) girlfriend on the side of a Phoenix highway; looked in on the search for a new UA president; and briefed you on how the courts sided with Gov. Jan Brewer on both cuts to health care for poor Arizonans and new restrictions on abortion in Arizona.

We explained how to like us even more on Facebook; were sad to hear The Bled was breaking up; said adios to Esmé Schwall of Seashell Radio; crashed the Nerd Party at Fourth Avenue's Lollipop Culture Shop; shared the latest on Tucson bicycling; visited some monks to learn how to prepare eggplant, Thai-style; and wondered how damp Mars might be.

We urged you to check out Pan Left's Youth Media Camp Showcase, the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, the Tucson Padres, the Mexico City Food Truck and the UA Meat Science Lab.

We longed to be at a gathering of Juggalos; sang of the wonders of Curb Your Enthusiasm; gossiped about the secret evils of game-show hosts; learned how to turn over our drunken friends so they didn't choke on their own vomit; gaped at taxpayer-subsidized nonsense at the Creation Museum; wondered about the guy who loves Best Buy so much; and discovered where all those cat videos come from.

Comment of the week

"Red Star wonders that the media are *still* doing the stupid cop tricks bit ..."

TucsonWeekly.com "Red Star" disappeared, but he seems to be dipping his toes back into the commenting game, complete with his trademark third-person references ("What Could Be Worse Than Getting Pulled Over by a Cop Riding One of These?" The Range, Aug. 11).

Best of WWW

In last week's Caliente section of the Arizona Daily Star, there was a piece on the opening of Sparkroot, the popular new coffee shop downtown. It made sense that the Star would cover the story—but what was strange was the piece's premise. The basic idea was that the crowds at Sparkroot came from nowhere, since owner Ari Shapiro didn't do much promotion other than posting on Facebook. While Shapiro deserves a lot of credit for building his own buzz, we'd like to think Adam Borowitz's extensive coverage of the construction, planning and opening of Sparkroot let quite a few people know that the coffee shop was coming.

He'll never say it, but Adam's coverage of local food lately has been incredible, and we're thankful for all of it, even if it doesn't (publicly) hit the local daily's radar.

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