Wednesday, May 20, 2009

influence vs popularity part 1

Without wishing to add to the never-ending noise about social network 'influence' ranking - as calculated by how many 'friends', connections one has and how many other users read and republish material - there needs to be a distinction between true influence and simply popularity.

Many self-annointed 'influencers' main point of influence seems to be the endless postings of tactics for gaining more followers on twitter. Whether the is any real value in amassing huge networks is moot. If this empire building does not propagate the spread of any purposeful idea then it's pretty meaningless.

The stamped of brands on to Twitter hoping to get celebrities to re-tweet (in the interests of 'influence') is really no different from any other bullshit celebrity endorsement in any other broadcast media (except it is 'free media' of course).

Having said that, here's a good, simple twitter influence idea from @Penguinbooks.
Penguin followers were encoraged to tweet 140char book summaries using the #shortpenguin tag and direct their tweets @penguinbooks.

Penguin then retweet the reviews to the whole network.

Why this is good...
Penguin facilitates discovery - the rest of the network see the short versions and maybe decide to investigate further - and connectivity through sharing - the potential for members of Penguin's network, ie accidental influencers, to connect with each other based on interest.

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