@unmarketing says he didn’t say “immediacy” trumps “authenticity”.

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Since posting the original post Scott as contacted me to say that he was misquoted and that he didn’t say that immediacy trumps authenticity – and I’m happy to update the post to reflect this.  I’ve included the original post below for context.

@THINK_Lyndon, @unmarketing, Lyndon Johnson, Scott Stratten
A conversation between @unmarketing and @THINK_Lyndon

The conversation I had with Scott raises some interesting issues – including the problem of paraphrasing in 140 characters, the value of social media when an audience shares something incorrectly [either because paraphrasing misrepresents what was said, or because it has been misunderstood] and the potential pitfalls of allowing a message to be shared by third-parties.  It also demonstrates the importance of context – a point made by Scott that makes is that it’s always best to be in the room to hear first hand what is being said.  I couldn’t agree more.

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But it raises trust issues with anything posted on a social platform and – as I have said repeatedly – the ability of an algorhythm [Google’s, Klout’s…] to determine who should be trusted, who is credible and who adds value.  If the only context is the sharing of a social post or volume of repeat visits to a website these algorhythms have no way of measuring the accuracy, relevance, accuracy or credibility of individual accounts.

I don’t know how technology fixes this, but  I do question the value of computers measuring credibility or trust.  The only sensible way would appear to be in the same room – to hear what is said and to see the whites of somebody’s eyes in order to judge that individuals credibility and trustworthiness.  It also suggests that Apple has its social policy spot on – and more companies should follow the company’s lead.

And, it also raises questions about my approach to these questions.  I’m increasingly spending less time on social platforms and more time meeting people in person – and in that vein I’m inviting Scott for a coffee.  It seems unfair for me to judge him based on social media and online – so until I have the chance to meet him I’ll reserve my judgement.  Name a coffee shop in the city we both call home and a time Scott, and I’ll be there.

Original post

@unmarketing- immediacy trumps authenticity
@unmarketing says immediacy trumps authenticity. Do you agree?

It’s a great sound bite, but it is simply not true.

If you’ve read the THINK blog before you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of Scott Stratten [@unmarketing on Twitter]. I read his first book, watched some videos and read a few interviews with him and wasn’t impressed. But I have to be honest even I was surprised by what I read from the Canadian Public Relations Society annual conference – at which he was a keynote speaker.

If you believe Scott, speed of response – immediacy to use his words – is now more important than authenticity. Being quick to respond is, it would appear, more important than being real or credible.

Ask yourself, would you rather somebody respond with a quick answer than a right answer? Reply as quickly as possible or when they have the correct answer? Pretend to be something they aren’t, in the name of speed, or be themselves? Do you want somebody to tell you then can help you – only to find out down the line that they can’t? Do you want a pilot to do the first thing he thinks of in an emergency – or the right thing?! What if the EMS sent out the first available person, rather than somebody that was qualified to provide treatment?!

I know which I’d prefer.

My other concern about this approach is that expecting to build long-term relationships, based on speed, rather than credibility and trust is setting unreasonable expectations. I’m also not sure that the people you’re trying to build relationships with will hang around if they find out you’ve lied to them for the sake of speed.  Relationships take time to build – for a good reason.  Immediacy is the biggest social deception.

I hate the word authentic because, more often than not, it is used by people that are trying to convince you they are being themselves – rather than actually being themselves. “Authenticity” is a mask worn by people that are scared you’ll see who they really are if they are themselves.

I’ve been reading about Apple this morning – discussions about whether the company is social or anti-social because it shies away from the mainstream social platforms. They are, to my mind, one of the most social companies out there because they’ve built relationships – strong relationships that are the envy of many – based on strong, real, values and continually delivering exceptional products. Steve Jobs once said he’d rather have the best product in a segment rather than the first product to market – quality over speed; “authenticity” over immediacy. People may not have liked Steve Jobs personality, but they love the products created around the values which he lived and worked by…

But that’s another post!

Which shows somebody cares most – speed or being real? Let me know in the comments below.

UnMarketing is actually… er, Marketing?!

Last year I was given a tongue-lashing by the publisher of a video feature because I suggested that a comment about Scott Stratten was unfair and unjustified. Rather than me re-hashing the post, you can read it – and the ensuing exchanges – here.

The response did, however, get me thinking.  Had I judged Scott prematurely? I wanted to read his book “UnMarketing. Stop Marketing. Start Engaging.” to see whether I’d been unfair to Scott in my assessment.  I took copious notes as I read the book – I admit I skimmed a few pages – and I intended to write a detailed review pointing out what I agreed and disagreed with. But, I realized nobody wants to read an almost page-by-page critique – they can read the book and draw their own conclusions.

So, I’ve decided to distil my take on the book with these two observations:

The title is wrong.  What it should, in my opinion, have been sub-titled is ‘Stop Selling. Start Marketing.’

Everything described in the book is essentially marketing.  Un Marketing is, it would appear, otherwise known as marketing!

But ‘Stop Marketing. Start Marketing’ doesn’t work, does it?!

KLOUT is not a measure of online influence!

Much has been written about the nature of online influence and I didn’t want to add more to the debate, but when you hear somebody that, supposedly, has real influence talking rubbish – ironically about real influence – well, I felt compelled.  I don’t know how you measure influence, but I certainly don’t use a smoke and mirrors algorithm that measures… well, we’re not actually sure what it measures.  I certainly measure influence in the amount of interactions I have with them or the number of books that they’ve sold.Influence is a complex, and subconscious, thing to measure and it’s personal to me.

So, when I heard Scott Stratten of Un-Marketing ‘fame’ saying, in an interview with small business website CanadaOne  “…you can go to a site like Klout.com and run somebody’s twitter name and it will show you how much real influence they have.”, I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing.

Klout – a tool for measuring REAL influence?  Really?!  How do you measure real influence from social media activity alone? How does that work?

Scott, an ‘expert’ in “viral, social and authentic” marketing explains that, “January 1st, 2009 I said that I was going to live on Twitter for 30 days. Literally live on Twitter. I tweeted 7,000 times. I literally lived there and I went from 1,200 followers to 10,000. The key is not the number but they key is that there was engagement in conversation and 75% of those 7,000 tweets were replies. It was talking with people, not at them.”

Right Scott, but what were you saying to them?  Were you actually giving them good advice? Demonstrating that you knew what you were talking about? Because, if you were telling them that Klout is the place to go to see who has real influence then… well, you don’t know what you’re talking about.  You might be able to persuade people to take action – I guess that’s influence – but what’s the point of influence if you’re giving them bad advice? You’d lack credibility then wouldn’t you? You can’t have real influence without credibility, can you Scott?  How authentic is a metric measured on the number of  engagements, without actually measuring the value or credibility of what you say?

If you’re really suggesting that a tool that, effectively, measures the number of times you respond to others across a small number of platforms – rather than measuring the validity of what they say – can tell you who has real influence then you’re lacking real credibility.  You can check out Scott’s interview with Canada One here:


Admittedly, the video was shot a year ago – but was published in November 2012 on the CanadaOne website.  It’s only because I googled “Scott Stratten + Influence” that I found  out when it was recorded [May 2011].  Now Scott may have changed his view of Klout since he recorded it, but I couldn’t find anything from an hour searching specifically for it on Google.  If I’m misrepresenting your views on Klout Scott, please tell me and I’ll update this post.

I wrote about false experts a few months ago and this is the best example I’ve seen in a long while… [I don’t think anybody can consider themselves to be an expert in social media in what is still a very young discipline]

* Final sentence added Thursday 15th Nov. 2012 for clarity.