Our Klout Stars series highlights top influencers and how they got to where they are today.
About: I’ve started and sold several companies. I’ve also failed brilliantly at several others. I write for the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and TechCrunch. I write for my own blog, jamesaltucher.com. I’ve published eight books, including 2 self-published (the last one was “I Was Blind But Now I See”) and one that was a comic book based on my blog (probably the first comic ever based on a blog).
1. How did you get started in social media?
I’ve been on Facebook since the beginning. In August 2007, I wrote a column suggesting Facebook would be worth $100 billion at some point and the amount of hate mail I got was staggering. I’ve been on Twitter almost since it was started. I usually try every social media platform that comes out. Working on my own ideas as well.
Expanding my profile in social media literally made me “social.” I made friends. Friends introduced me to other people. My “social network” became my real network. This real network expanded my investment opportunities, my self-publishing of my last two books (which never would’ve been possible without social media), the opportunities of my blog, and businesses I’ve been building that I have yet to officially launch. Without the trust afforded by an ever-increasing social/real network none of this would’ve been possible.
2. What role does social media play in your current job or industry?
Everyone in the tech industry connects via social media. This is a new cultural artifact. We all want to be around people who inspire us. 200 years ago we were limited to the people who lived next door to us. 100 years ago we were limited to the people we could take a train to and perhaps make a telegraph to (or rarer, a phone call). Now there are no limitations. We have 7 billion people we can reach out to due to social media.
3. What does influence mean to you? Who influences you the most online?
In general, I like to be around people who inspire me and uplift me. I think all people should seek that in their lives. Even 20 years ago we were limited in our inspirational choices by who was in our immediate vicinity. Social media has given us the gift of choosing our friends among the 800 million people out there who have signed up social networks. So influence for me is a direct measure of A.) how I am helping people and B.) my potential to be around people who can inspire me. And this is never going away. For the rest of our lives we will have more and more opportunities to help and, in turn, to be uplifted, by the friends we meet through our influence in social media.
Who influences me the most online? So many people it’s hard to list them all. I feel so grateful to be born in a time where I can turn on the computer and be instantly transported to a world filled with so many inspirational people that I never would have otherwise known or even been aware of. Friendship has layers and not everyone who influences you will become a “friend” but so far, several have and I am also grateful for that.
4. What advice do you have for someone who wants to take their online presence to the next level?
Three things: Bleed, Tell a Story, Provide Value that can’t be found anywhere else.
Connect with James on Twitter at @jaltucher