Your Digital Value

Imagine the drama…

Everyone in the audience is standing in anticipatory, participatory silence.

All a little nervous…anxious…edgy.

From the depths of the silence we hear the opening lines as they are sung with deep emotion:

“Let us now relate the power of this day’s holiness, for it is awesome and frightening…”

The singing continues…building the drama, the sense of urgency, the awe…

“…you cause to pass, count and calculate…the soul of all the living…”

Central to the prayer service and rituals of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the liturgy I have referenced above was recited last week by people of the Jewish faith, all over the world, as many fasted for 24 hours and meditated on the meaning of life – theirs to be exact.

Now you know why I got inspired to write about the value of life.

As I sat in synagogue and read the lines, I was struck by the disconnect I often feel when I present at forums or engage on “expert” panels and the topic turns to monetization or value.

Last week I wrote about the “analog” value of our human existence.

Don’t know where you felt the most comfortable – at the dollar end or the 45 million mark – or anywhere in between. If you champion the $45 million worth, I’d get a food taster….

But wherever you fall – there seems to be a clear and defined way to calculate your present or future, as the case may be, value.


But who cares about analog? We live in the digital age…everything is digital – even we have become digital….

So let’s leave the caves and move into the realm of the virtual.

How much are you worth online?

More importantly why? And to Whom?

Perhaps even more importantly…

How much of that value actually belongs to you? LOL!!!

Where to begin…?

SocialTRAC has anticipated my question and in fact assigns value to an audience that is already valued – Facebook Fans.

Based on their calculations – fans, on average, spend an additional $71.84 annually on products versus those who aren’t fans.

Let me make sure I get this bit of digital insight clear – fans are more valuable than non-fans – I imagine that many a merchant would have liked to have that knowledge pre-Facebook…

And, obviously not all Fans are equal – some Fans are more equal than others….

So for example – the most valuable Fan in the survey is the McDonald’s aficionado – whose value – based on frequent visits; frequent referring, active Facebook participation and high cholesterol levels (added that…) – is $508.16.

So for those of you who are merely run-of-the-mill, average fans worth less than $100 year – get with the program and overachieve! Weigh in (pun intended) with the Mac fanatics and add serious heft to your value.

Analog still wins…

Let’s keep going…

When does our value begin? At birth? Or when we learn to turn on iPad/iPhone and use the apps as my two-year-old grandson Teddy can do – by the way so can all his friends…I’m not bragging – just reporting – but he is cute….

No doubt there are nefarious data collectors who track those seriously early adopters and exploit their primal digital intelligence – although using a credit card is not yet on Teddy’s accomplishment list…

Most though – adhere to “strict codes” and ask for age verification…so for example Barbie collects email addresses but you must be 13 or older to register – and much like Nickelodeon you can play games; watch videos; follow content and I imagine get followed in return – without any verification or warning – and no doubt – value is being assigned and calculated from click one. In fact I must be building my bank account as I tried it all out myself…..

Let me be clear – I am not being critical here – poking a little fun maybe – while there are clearly dangerous neighborhoods for kids online – these are not them.

Moving on…

Twitter has added new value to your digital self. People now get paid to tweet. So for example Kim Kardashian receives $10 thousand for every TWEET she taps out….making her digital soul very valuable indeed as people hunger for the knowledge she shares.

How about we look at the basic value of your name on a list? This has always been one of the critical measurements of value even in the pure snail mail days.

Interestingly enough – the principals that define value remain the same – compiled list versus custom, verification and update, link to physical place and B2B lists remain the most expensive as people move more frequently and titles and position change so often.

It’s also easier to verify lists in the USA than it is elsewhere, so names in Europe, Asia and LATAM tend to be worth more.

Bottom line – the CPM delta for an e-mail name in B2B is close to 10x. In other words an average CPM is around $300 while the high averages around $3,000 – what do you think you are worth? 30 cents or $3?

Now – all of the above is good – but what happens when you are dead?

So while it used to be hard for you to buy from snail catalogs beyond the grave – our digital afterlives might stretch on forever – and it looks like there might even be new business models built around them – not to mention new rituals for grieving and memorial.

Having said all of that – I didn’t address the notion of anonymity (a favorite topic) and the notion that on the Web, no one still knows you are a dog – unless you want them to – and even then…so what does that do to your value…

While I have pushed the edge a bit – I do believe that we are in serious jeopardy of losing sight of what is and isn’t true value in human relationship, interaction and discourse.

And I do point out that while we are all digital – all is digital – our analog selves are still way more valuable. And our souls still the most valuable of all…

To that end I share two thoughts that inspired me…listen:

The secret of a good life is to have the right kind of loyalties and to hold them in the right scale of values.
Norman Thomas

“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.”
Simone de Beauvoir

And there you have it…

It’s great to be loyal to a burger – so long as you get back what you want and understand that value in kind. But nothing is or ever will be as valuable as you and what you do with your life.

What do you think?

One last thought…

Leonard Cohen wrote a famous song based on the prayer I began the Ramble with today… “Who By Fire” (see here for lyrics).






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