Social Media Influencers in 2009.

I came across this through the wonder that is @jmacdonald and think it’s fantastic. I love predictions, because they are just that. Ideas, thoughts, views on the future. They aren’t gospel, no one is going to lose their jobs if their predictions don’t come true (well, actually, 600,000 might in 2009!) but when people / publications / companies of authority speaks out, others listen.
In the embedded slideshare presentation by TrendSpotting below and where the original article can be found here, such figures like Charlene Li, Rohit Bhargava, Jeremiah Owyang and Todd Defren are included, along with many more.

Are there any influencers that you think have been missed out?

Who are your ones to watch in 2009?

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: social media)

Who is the twitority online?

Question for you, leave me a comment at the end of the article with your answer.

Who is the twitority? (AKA Authority) ?

In short, firstly, twitority is a tool that lets you search Twitter posts and then filter the search results by authority. Check it out for yourself at twitority.com.

Back to the question, it’s not a trick. Are you an authority figure? If you said Yes, then in what? Who says? What qualifies the classification as an authority? Similarly, if you said No then why not? Chances are you’ll be more educated in your field than most if your job is in a space when your knowledge is important to your company. You’re an educator, so yes, you are an authority.

I’m fascinated by the idea of authority on an online space which is completely open and unmonitored. The idea of authority to me brings more questions than it answers.. There is no right or wrong answer so we’re going to try and shed more light on the situation with a host of quotes from various individuals who have authority in their fields.

Before that, let’s take school as an example of a place where there is a definite line between student and authority. Authority being the teacher or headmaster/mistress. Students are at school to learn and the teacher is there to impart their learnings, knowledge and wisdom on their students. The teacher has the authority to merit or discipline the student and the head of department or headmaster/ mistress has the authority over the teacher to overrule their decision. In it’s simplest form, that’s the hierarchy of school. Same can be applied to a business environment. CEO, Head of Dept X, Manager, Exec.

So when we’re used to hierarchy and authority, how can we apply this to an online space?

We can’t.

On the internet, it’s a free for all. Everyone is deemed equal. In turn, everyone is a specialist in something. Regardless of age, background, job title, online you can find out as much as you want about anything! When you’re looking for advice on buying a product, where do you look? The Internet proves to be the most important source for researching consumer electronics information for example, according to a survey conducted by Synovate on behalf of Microsoft Advertising.

Who are the people to ask for a valued opinion? How does the definition of authority differ and what can we learn? Here’s a few ideas.

“Authority is based on perception. Once an environment of trust is created between people or people and companies, authority can be authorized! As it is all relative there is no one single source, just 5 billion sources with a number greater than zero perceiving and therefore regarding each as an authority or not.”

Jonathan MacDonald

Completely agree. It’s all subjective.

“Page rank is a surrogate for authority already based on the amount of inbound links as a vote.”

Ged Carroll

One way for assessing authority currently is through the Google Page Rank. What is a Page Rank? It reflects the importance of web pages by considering more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Pages that Google believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results.

“I think trying to apply authority to twitterers based on followers is like trying to build a house out of spongecake.

Authority is EARNED and I just INHERENTLY know now whose word to trust on a particular topic when advice is sought.

It’s far more complex than being able to have an algorithm applied to it – any such algorithm’d be flawed. In fact so flawed as to be misleadlingly useless.”

Drew Buddie

All good points, especially the house built out of sponge cake!

“It depends if they can truly measure authority by topic and not assume if you have lots of followers you have authority on all topics.”

Kerry Gaffney

Nail. Head. I really believe in this.

“Calling me an idiot will increase your popularity but not your authority.

Explaining why I am an idiot will increase your authority but not necessarily your popularity.

If I call you an idiot I will be neither authoritative nor popular. Life isn’t fair! :-)”

Robert Scoble

Following on from Kerry’s comment above, let’s take a well known example in the online world, Robert Scoble. I’ve got nothing at all against the guy, he’s one of the social media pioneers but I’m betting that the large majority out there would see him as an authority on anything and everything because of the numbers that read his blog or that follow him on Twitter (45,962 on last count). He puts it an interesting way himself above.

“You can only quantify authority so far in my opinion – so what if someone has 1000 followers, how many are actually listening?”

Paul Borge

This is key and brings me back to thinking about the old adage of quality over quantity. Also, links to my thoughts about ROA (Return on Attention) over the traditional ROI (Return on Investment) in Social Media when I spoke with Jamie Burke at P2PR in a previous blog post. In brief, my thoughts were that a project can be more successful by targeting the ‘right’ 100 people, instead of going for a general 1000. The ‘right’ 100 can in turn send the information on to 10 of their friends and so on, it’s a domino effect.

Finally,

“Popularity over time = Authority. Unfortunately it is meaningless. In 1905 who had more authority Einstein or Newton.. and who was right?”

Anton Mannering

He’s got a point..

What’s your view? What do you think about the idea of a search engine based on authority? Is authority subjective? Is there a universal authority on topics?

The 5 stages of Twitter acceptance.

Originally published by Rohit Bhargava on his brilliant Influential Marketing Blog, I thought it was particularly useful to new users of Twitter whilst still appealing to the more frequent user. It essentially allows you to find out where you are at in the familiarity process of using Twitter. Still, when I tell friends and family about Twitter and how I think it’s fantastic, they look at me as if I’m from another planet.

They don’t get it. They are at Stage 1. That’s fair enough, it’s not for everyone, but it’s up to me to tell them what’s it all about and whether I think they would get any value from it. For some it just wouldn’t work, but for others it’s become a staple part of their online life who went from Stage 2 right through to Stage 5. There’s many out there like Guy Kawasaki for example who I’d say are at Stage 5 or even Stage 6 if there was one but choose to use it more as a promotional tool for his site Alltop.com. That’s more of a Stage 3 activity. There’s no denying that Guy is a true inspiration and offers value with his blog posts and tweets but he’s used Twitter to build up an army of Alltop fans that help him spread the Alltop word by posting links to new categories and interesting stuff. Nothing wrong with that, power to the people!

Talking of all things Alltop, a great place for beginners to start would have to be Twitterati which features the top ‘tweeters’ across the globe. For example, Robert Scoble, Jason Calacanis, Chris Brogan, Leo Laporte, Chris Pirillo and Hugh MacLeod. Have a look and see how they do it, follow them, and get started!

So I bet you’re thinking Twitter is the new kid on the block, it’s a fad, it will all die down soon. It’s been around for a while, several years infact. Only now is it garnering mainstream attention. The Mirror picking up on Jonathan Ross’s presence on Twitter, or the Guardian’s coverage, or the Telegraph, you get the picture.

As the days go by, the numbers who are discovering Twitter is shooting up, it’s experiencing rapid growth YOY. A few stats.. everyone loves stats!

  • 70% of users joined in 2008.
  • 20% have joined in the last 60 days.
  • An estimated 5-10,000 new accounts are opening every day.
  • The average user has been on Twitter for 275 days.
  • 80% of users have a bio on their profile. (I personally don’t follow users without a bio)
  • 62% have a photo on their profile.
  • Traffic has grown 600% over the last 12 months.
  • Total user numbers are between 4-5m with approx 30% unengaged.

(Sources Hubspot and Compete)

It’s not there yet, but it’s getting towards reaching the tipping point. It has potential for business also, success stories are starting to emerge from well known brands who are establishing a presence and engaging with their audience. Perhaps most famously, Dell recently reported that they have made more than $1 million dollars through their DellOutlet Twitter account. It’s clear that there’s value to be had from many angles.

I use it myself as a way to 1) learn 2) converse 3) pass on any useful info or links i’ve found. It’s all about the community and sharing instead of finding a useful link and keeping it to yourself.

So what stage do you think you’re at from the 5 above? As a brand, do you have authentic 1 to 1 conversations without promoting a product or service? As an individual do you use it as an information resource or as a communications tool like Facebook or MSN?

My question to you, all of you, is How do you use Twitter?

Have a hugely enjoyable break, merry christmas and enjoy the new year.

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Lunchtime catchup with Jamie Burke of P2PR.

So I caught up with Jamie Burke, MD of Brando Digital and blogger at Social Glue the other day, who recently set up the P2PR community. Since launch it has been a runaway success, with active participation from it’s members.

We talked over lunch about all things Online PR, social media, paid for blogging (Chris Brogan) and of course ROI and the almighty echo chamber.

To view the video, click my face.. be nice ! (or alternatively you can click here if you can’t bring yourself to do it!)

There’s a whole host of videos also on the community, all of which can be found here.

As always, interested to hear your thoughts and feedback on the topics discussed. Hopefully you can take something away from it.

What does your Youniverse look like?

I found out about Youniverse through Dom Whitehurst’s blog over at Pr-otagonism so cheers for that Dom!

Youniverse gives you questions in which you don’t have to give an actual text answer, it’s all about the choice of images that best represents your thoughts and emotions towards the question. In turn, it anticipates that you’ll have a better idea of the type of people you will get on with most if they answer similarly to the questions. Going a bit deeper, it tells you more about yourself. It’s one of those fact finding, personality questionnaire types.

If you look past the ever so slightly off putting dating and relationship finding type vibe the site gives off in abundance it does offers a few good nuggets of wisdom.. Is it useful though? It may tell you things you already know about yourself but at the same time, it’s only as accurate as the answers you provide!

So for me, within the ‘Personality’ test the following characteristics ran true.. You can do as little or as many of the tests as you like and report back on the details but let’s go with the ‘Personality’ test for the moment..

I’m going to tag Adam Lewis, Jed Hallam and Tom Chapman in this as I’d be interested to see what it says about them through the images they choose.

What does your Youniverse say about you?