If you’re at all active in the Social Media realm, you are familiar with Klout. You either have it or you don’t. You either joke about it or you take it very seriously. Klout defines some. It confuses others. It depresses many more because try as they might, they just can’t get their Klout score any higher.
In the interest of full disclosure, my Klout score is 62. It’s been that way for months now. Not terribly bad for someone who has a niche blog and mostly socializes on Twitter. Thing is, my Klout score means nothing to me.
The people over at Klout lay out how they determine your score on their Understanding the Influence Metric page. From their page: ” The Klout score is highly correlated to clicks, comments and retweets.” They then go on to describe how they test, retest, use machines, etc, to determine your Klout score.
My Klout will never be determined by a machine.
I will never be defined by my Klout.
When I started blogging over four years ago, it was for a very selfish yet not so selfish reason. Unexpectedly pregnant with our third child, I needed to reframe my pregnancy after two very serious episodes of Postpartum OCD, depression, and a case of PTSD from our second daughter’s NICU stay. After ferociously reading “What am I Thinking: Having a Baby after Postpartum Depression” by Karen Kleiman in which she suggested reframing your pregnancy in a positive light, I decided to start blogging. I was already active in Postpartum Advocacy and had been for a few months by then. Blogging seemed a natural evolution for my advocacy. So I went to WordPress, snagged a blog, and began to write.
I knew nothing about social media when I started blogging. Twitter was brand new then and FaceBook wasn’t yet on my radar. I blogged away. I found it helped with the tough days. Knowing I would be able to sit down at the end of it or whenever I needed to and just pour my heart out made the hard things easier. My mind began to rework the hard things into funny things. Karen’s idea took hold. My pregnancy began to be positive despite the initial depression which, quite frankly, made me wish at my first few appointments that they wouldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat and I could go on without being pregnant. For the first three months of my pregnancy I was delusional in thinking that the pregnancy was not real and was instead, just a dream. I did not begin to fall in love with the idea of this unexpected pregnancy until nearly five months along.
Eventually I joined Twitter. I do not remember what I talked about in the early days. I do know that @MommyGeekology was one of the first friends I really made there. (We STILL have yet to meet in person – we SO need to remedy that!) From there, my friends on Twitter grew. I shared my blog posts, found other parents to whom I could relate, and was absolutely not shy about discussing the hard stuff with anyone.
A year ago I really embraced the power of Twitter. I started #PPDChat on the third anniversary of my blog. I had no high hopes for attendance nor did I have any expectations for how things would go once chat started. Would I be talking to myself? Would others want to talk about the hard stuff with me? Who would show up? Would I lose followers for talking about nothing but Postpartum Mood Disorders twice a day once a week? Taking a deep breath, I dove in to the first chat.
Our first chat was small and cozy but the sharing blew me away. The evening chat was slightly bigger. I’ve tracked the numbers with TweetReach after each chat. But again, for me, it’s just a way of keeping record. The world likes tangible. I’m not a fan of the tangible. I measure chats by how many people I’ve reached. By how many people asked me questions. Or how many people took a deep breath and said “Hi. I’m hurting. Can you help me?”
My online presence is not about the numbers. It never has been and it never will be about the numbers.
My online presence is about the love and comfort others feel when they talk to me. About the way people mention me to people they know are or might be struggling with a Postpartum Mood Disorder. It’s about the heart. My heart as well as the growth and change in the hearts of those who talk to me. Watching people heal and grow stronger is an amazing thing. Knowing that you’re a part of it is even more amazing. It’s humbling.
One year after #PPDChat started, we’re still going strong. In fact, to speak to just how much I don’t pay attention to the numbers – I started a closed FB group for the #PPDChat ladies this past week. It’s a safe place where they can express themselves in more than 140 characters outside of chat. (Note here: you MUST be an active member of #PPDChat to join.) In less than two days, there were 50 members. There are now 61. I’m astounded. I had no idea so many were chatting. I truly love each and every one of the moms and dads who come to me for help. I care deeply for them. You can’t put a number on love. You can’t put a number on heart. You can’t put a number on networking that level of compassion.
Yes, I understand why so many put the emphasis on Klout and why it’s necessary. It’s a tangible measurement of your reach. According to Klout, my true reach is 1k. In my heart though, I know it’s so much more – it’s limitless… and it’s only limitless because of those who have reached out to me, found solace, and then shared me as a resource with others.
I am humbled and grateful for all who have sought me for solace and compassion as you navigate the very dark place filled with Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders. I can only pray I’m allowed to continue to be a shining light in that dark place for years and years to come…. outlasting even Klout.