Adventures in Google: DeafGeoff appears in book ‘The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane’

Yours truly appears on page 12 of the new book 'The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane' by Kelly Harms. Well, sort of.

Yours truly appears on page 12 of the new book ‘The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane’ by Kelly Harms. Well, sort of.

What happens when you Google yourself? It’s a fun exercise that does little to reveal what people are saying about you (unless you’re Kim Kardashian) but sometimes you find other people with the same name or nickname as you — in real life or in fiction.

Geoff “DeafGeoff” Herbert is a former radio guy turned entertainment reporter for The Post-Standard and syracuse.com. I also work as a DJ, motivational speaker and dabble in writing independently. But if you search for my name on the Internet, you’ll also find a British politician named Geoff Herbert, an IMDb page for a Geoff Herbert who worked as a rigging key grip for The Hunger Games, and a “Deaf Geoff” Garbage Pail Kids trading card. There also was a “Deaf Jeff” in Arliss Howard’s 1988 movie Plain Clothes and a late ’80s rapper named Def Jef, who found better success as a producer for artists like Nas, 2 Pac, Snoop Dogg and Shaq.

Now there’s a “Deaf Geoff” in a new book called “The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane” by Kelly Harms. Published in summer 2013, it’s the debut novel from a Madison, Wisconsin, resident who previously worked as an editor and agent. A Google preview of the story’s first 30 pages reveals one of the “Girls” is living with her boyfriend Geoff, who’s a bit of a drunk slob who watches TV too loudly because he’s losing his hearing playing in a band. His favorite TV show is “South Park” and he’s painted as a jerk who Nean is waiting to leave as soon as she wins a contest for a house in New England.

As much as I got a kick out of seeing my nickname in print, I doubt I’ll buy/read the book as it seems to be targeted towards the same readers of “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” or “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” I also doubt I can relate to my namesake character, who likely won’t make it to the final chapter, as I was born mostly deaf, I rarely drink and I would watch reruns of “Seinfeld” over “South Park” any day.

But still, it’s fun to occasionally Google yourself and see what comes up. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve found when searching for your name?

Advertisements

8 obnoxious (but quick and easy) ways to improve your Klout score

Klout logo

Klout ranks social media users in influence with a score out of 100. Most people have less than a 50, but Justin Bieber has a 98. How can you catch up to him?

“How can I improve my Klout score?” For those not in the now, Klout is considered the foremost measurement of social media influence — I can’t go more than an hour or two without seeing someone whine about their Klout score. It mostly measures activity on Twitter, such as number of followers, retweets, clicks-from-links, mentions, and quality of who they “influence” but they also claim to look at Facebook, Google+ and other social networks.

While I applaud Klout for attempting to assign a numerical value to something that’s virtually impossible to assign a number to — influence — I think it’s ridiculous how concerned people have gotten over it. They go on vacation for 3 days and their score goes down, boohoo. My alma mater Syracuse University dropped from 2nd to 7th place on this year’s list of the “top 10 most influential colleges” and fellow alumni are having a coronary.

RELAX, people. Klout is not that important. (See: “Klout only matters if you say it does.“) But for those of you that are concerned with it, here are some tips — obnoxious, but quick and easy tips — to improve your Klout score:

1. Tweet a lot. A LOT.
One friend of mine currently has 2050 followers, follows 1484 people and has tweeted 12,110 times. Another friend has 526 followers, follows 1148 people and has tweeted 59257 times. You might assume the one with more followers has a higher Klout score, but nope — despite having only 1/4 as many followers, the second user has a Klout score of 64 while the first has a 61.

2. Follow a lot of people on Twitter.
In tip #1’s example you’ll notice both users follow roughly the same amount of people. Several blogs have claimed that the number of people you follow has no impact on your Klout score, that they just look at who follows and tweets you. Even if that’s not true, a lot of Twitter users still adopt the philosophy “if you follow me, I’ll follow you” so the more people you follow, the more will follow you. (Of course, following thousands of people isn’t ideal for a quality social media experience, as Chris Brogan learned way too late.)

3. Be “influential” about popular topics.
Klout’s decision about what you’re “influential” is always dubious (I love how @dagsly once gave me a +K for the Shaq Fu video game) but if you tweet about popular topics (i.e. Facebook privacy, Apple iPhone) then you’ll get more responses and be considered an influencer on those topics.

4. Participate in every Twitter chat you can.
There are tons of chats which happen every week on Twitter (such as #SEOchat, #blogchat, #cmgrchat) where people pump out 50 tweets an hour, including a lot of retweets.

5. Hijack every hashtag you can.
Most conferences and events (i.e. #SXSW, #140conf, #grammys) are easy to follow and, if you tweet them (whether you’re at the event or not), other people following the tag will likely see your posts and retweet/respond even if they don’t follow you. Do it with weekly events, such as #MusicMonday, #FollowFriday, #TravelTuesday.

6. Live-tweet everything.
Watching #Glee with another 10 million people? Post a reaction to every little thing. “OMG, Artie’s new glasses are sexy! #Glee” will likely get you a few responses and retweets. (Note: Live-tweeting laundry and household chores won’t work, unless your socks come to life and put on a show.)

7. Post inspirational and funny quotes.
Steal them from @iheartquotes, @quotations, or any site with Twitter-ready quotes. People are suckers for retweeting these. Accuracy and correct attributions matter little, as a fake MLK quote went viral after Osama Bin Laden’s death.

8. Start a fight.
Most social media gurus/experts/rockstars embrace the philosophy “respond to criticism before it becomes a PR nightmare,” so they’ve conditioned themselves to reply to any mention, especially the negative ones. Say something controversial and debatable (not “your face sucks”) and you can go back-and-forth tweeting for hours. Others will see the debate and chime in, too, and you’ve just boosted your number of @ replies.

If you think these tips are absurd, you’re right. But that’s my point — Klout scores are flawed and shouldn’t be used a yardstick for social media success. At least, not yet.

I’ll point out that Klout gives their own suggestions for improving your score — including signing up for a Klout account, which is ridiculous to bother with since they now measure 100 million users whether they have an account or not. I have a score, but I’ve never signed up for Klout — why would I? Really.

Google, CEO convicted of defamation

THIS IS A BIG DEAL.  No, seriously.  Defamation in the age of the internet is a hard lawsuit to convict and, since various sites have been frantically trying to replicate Google’s much buzzed-about new “instant search” function, this IS a big deal.

A Paris court has convicted Google and its CEO Eric Schmidt of defamation (Yahoo! Tech News) after the new search function started suggesting the words “rapist” and “satanist” when the plaintiff’s name was typed into the search engine.  They ruled a symbolic payment of 1 euro in damages must be paid, but the implication is huge — a search engine linking a person’s name to negative words can be deemed defamatory. 

This changes everything.

Google will surely be appealing, but they were also ordered to pay 5,000 euros for the plaintiff’s court costs and, if the conviction holds, this could kill Google’s instant search function and the future of search engines could be forced to take a different direction.  I’d be upset if a person started typing in my name and “rapist” came up, immediately associating my name with the word – after all, if Google somehow associated it, then it’s easy to expect someone else would. 

Goodbye, instant search.  (I hope.)

Personally, I’m glad.  I love most of what Google’s done for the internet, but I hate the instant search function.  It never finds what I’m searching for until after I’ve typed in the whole search string.  Further, it makes Google’s homepage run slower because it’s running multiple searches with every keystroke – annoying.

With Google’s phone falling out of the hot seat, Google Buzz becoming buzz-less, and now this… are things finally going to end for Google’s reign of the internet?  Aw, we still love their search engine.  And the cute pictures they put on Google.com for anniversaries and special events.  Speaking of which – happy 12th birthday, Google.