We adopted the “influence” buzzword last year when we re-branded our Face the IT Media Forum as the Influence Forum. Since then, we’ve increasingly tried to think in terms of influencers rather than just media, because clearly the influence universe is expanding.
This is such a fascinating area because it’s so new and really difficult to make sense of, which is why I’m keeping such a close eye on something like BuzzLogic. Other’s are having attempts at making sense of all this and the Edelman PR crew came up with a Social Media index.
There’s definitely merit to the idea of trying to rank and measure new influencers on more than just a technorati ranking, but I don’t think this index contributes a lot. The index applies scores based on the number of Facebook friends, Twitter subscribers, Linked In and Flicker ratings, etc, etc
For me, the obvious failing is that all of these hip, cool, trendy services being measured all fall under the same Web 2.0 hypeware and I would suggest if you had a look at the various audiences related to each, there would be massive cross-over between each. ie If I read the Micropersuasion twitter, I’ve probably also a reader of the blog and may have made a social connection via both Facebook and LinkedIn.
The truism that every web startup has a similiar number of “beta users” who simply jump from each new project to the next, extends to Influence. The “sphere of Influence” doesn’t grow the more Web 2.0 services you line up alongside a particular Influencer.
In fact, the most influential influencers are those that provide a bridge between the microcosm that is the Web 2.0 world and the rest of the community that the other 98 per cent of folk inhabit.