Measuring online influence


A few months ago I suggested that the current way of identifying online influencers is fundamentally flawed. I believe that any system that solely looks at blogs as a way of creating a tier 1 list in today’s world is outdated. Many would agree that there are a myriad of multiple social media platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter) that people are using with great effect to engage in conversations.

My suggestion was to analyse individuals usage across these multiple tools, weight each one according to it’s importance in the industry and create a Social Media Index (SMI) score that when collated against peers in a market could help create a tiered influencer list. Even though this approach is the equivalent of mixing apples and pears I believed it would create debate, stimulate conversation and would help to define a better way of working.

And what a heated debate it caused when David Brain posted about it on his blog (currently some 108 comments). Some thought that the SMI was a good start – others believed that a completely different approach was needed. Where consensus was reached though, was that a new way of identifying online influencers was needed beyond simply counting inbound links.

The next step seemed obvious. Get a group of clever people from the industry in a room together with the objective to reach majority consensus on a practical and effective means to measure online influence.

This meeting I am pleased to say is happening in New York at Edelman’s offices tomorrow and a great group has been assembled, these include:

  • Jeff Jarvis, Buzzmachine
  • Henry Copeland, BlogAds
  • Peter Kim, Forrester
  • Charlene Li, Forrester
  • Max Kalehoff, Nielsen NetRatings/Buzzmetrics
  • Keith O’Brien, PRWeek
  • Advertising Research Foundation 
  • Dr. Walter Carl, Northeastern University
  • Richard Edelman, Edelman
  • Jonny Bentwood, Edelman
  • David Dunne, Edelman
  • Rick Murray, me2revolution
  • Steve Rubel, me2revolution
  • Sarah Petersen, StrategyOne
  • As Steve explains on his blog, the solution will not be about “quantifying eyeballs” – I hope that this roundtable discussion can help create a methodology that anyone can use on any group of people to help them understand who the key online influencers are in their market. I will report back with key findings and look forward to hearing your views.

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    7 Responses to “Measuring online influence”

    1. i want to know more about the “quantifying eyeballs” . i know but i would like to know something new and more about it plz.

    2. Wish I were there…on the panel or a fly on the wall. Also…and I qualify this with the recognition that I write about women a lot… I don’t see enough women on the panel. Gender does influence…many things. And women’s voices typically get left out of tech talks. Please understand, I do not mean to complain or whine or indicate that this is intentional on anyone’s part…it’s often a fact of life. For me, and the women who read my blog ( a long tail influencer), we wish there was, maybe, ONE more woman. Bet you can scare one up…

      Regardless, glad you’re doing this and can’t wait for the report. Cheers!

    3. Yvonne, thanks for your comment.

      I completely agree that when I look at the 14 people assembled round the table, it’s a shame that only 4 of them are women. I do not disagree with your point that women’s voices often get left out of tech talks and that gender does influence.

      I will make sure that when we continue this discussion (probably in the UK over the next month or two) we will ensure that more are invited.

      Cheers again.

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