Understanding Influence On Twitter – (interesting research supports depressing theory) #FB #IN


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One fun thing about social media is there is lots of research and numbers that come out pretty regularly. They are easy to misinterpret, so we all have to take care. Here’s something that may help you understand something about how social media and Twitter work in terms of one aspect of influence.

Some research about Twitter influence was published in : The Million Follower Fallacy: Audience Size Doesn’t Prove Influence on Twitter

I haven’t finished digesting it, or looking at the raw study yet, but one thing jumped out:

The researchers also examined the ability of Twitter users to influence others. They determined that the most influential users hold significant influence over a variety of topics, as opposed to being experts in just one area.

This tends to confirm something I’ve been suggesting for a while and that is that influence in social media has to do with a number of factors, not the least of which is skill in manipulating others via the social media, but one thing it does NOT have to do with is expertise. That’s not to say that complete idiots will be influential, but it does mean that veracity and insight are not necessarily the coin of influence.

It’s one place on the Internet where content is simply not king, but things like time spent, volume, social media acumen and similar things will determine whether you are influential or not.

The possible extension of this is that as a society we are moving to a determination of what is “true” based on who is popular, a very dangerous situation for any society.

In any event, it’s rather startling to consider that if this theory is somewhat accurate, those that lead via social media are NOT going to be experts in their fields, but in fact are going to be the best manipulators or the medium.

Good news if you aren’t that expert, but have the other skills. Maybe bad for society. Good for marketers. Bad for consumers.

Or not.

Ok. What is the implication for marketing and customer service via social media? You need to become expert in manipulating the medium, and that’s going to take time and commitment, and even more time if you want the level of influence required to use social media as a business platform.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Robert Bacal
Robert began his career as an educator and trainer at the age of twenty (which is over 30 years ago!), as a teaching assistant at Concordia University. Since then he as trained teachers for the college and high school level, taught at several universities and trained thousands of employees and managers in customer service, conflict management and performance appraisal and performance management skills.


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