Social media white paper: social media index

21Jan08

As requested, I have republished the white paper into separate blog posts so that each section can be commented on. This post focuses on the third section – the social media index. You can still download the full paper by clicking the link: Distributed influence: quantifying the impact of social media (PDF).

Links to all sections:

  1. introduction
  2. why is it important to measure online influence?
  3. social media index
  4. defining influence
  5. is influence what we should measure?
  6. should marketers target influencers or the easily influenced?
  7. what can we be selling that is better to buy than impressions?
  8. what are the origins of influence?
  9. the move to micro communications
  10. be cautious 
  11. a formula to understand influence
  12. what makes this actionable?
  13. conclusion

 

Social Media Index

The initial catalyst behind the roundtable was the publication of the Social Media Index. A summary of which is shown below.

The eyeball model does not work in a long tail environment – Steve Rubel

Traditionally, an individual’s web influence was measured by the success of their blog. In its simplest form this was done by counting how many people subscribed and linked to it. However, in today’s Web 2.0 world, this is no longer a credible metric as people are currently using a variety of different social media tools to inform and hold conversations with their audience.

FACT: There is a definitive need to assess any social media publisher’s influence on the market as a whole.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the more engaged an individual is within the different channels available, the broader influence that person has.

The Social Media Index is a model, which recognises and attempts to quantify the impact and influence of multiple social media tools.

FACT: This methodology is not the standard.

The standard is a long way down the road. I have selected one way (of many) to analyse different individuals with the aim to provoke debate so that together the community can create a standard. This could include what social media tools to analyse (e.g. Facebook or MySpace or both?) and what weighting should be given to each category (e.g. is Twitter just as important as blogging?).

Methodology summary:
Each blog has been given a score out of 10 based upon 6 criteria:

  • Blog – analysed Google Rank, inbound links, subscribers, alexa rank, content focus, frequency, number of comments
  • Multi-format – analysed Facebook – number of friends
  • Mini-updates – analysed Twitter – number of friends, followers and updates
  • Business cards – analysed LinkedIn – number of contacts
  • Visual – analysed Flickr – number of photos uploaded from you or about you
  • Favourites – analysed Digg, del.icio.us

Each score out of 10 was given a defined weighting which created a total score for each category. The sum of each of these numbers created an individual’s Social Media Index. This index tells you the sum total of a person’s influence over multiple social media platforms.

To explain how this works, the first step was to list top blogs purely by the current recognised scheme of inbound links (via Technorati) – the top 30 were analysed. The table below shows the first 5 blogs in this space:

  Name blog multi format mini updates business cards visual favourites social media index

1

TechCrunch

98

0

0

0

0 0

98

2 Search Engine Watch 98

0

0

0

0 0 98
3 Boing Boing 98

0

0

0

0 0 98

4

GigaOM

97

0

0

0

0 0

97

5

Micro Persuasion

96

0

0

0

0 0

96

The second step was to take the same 30 blogs and score them based upon their use of multiple social media platforms. The first 5 again are listed below:

  Name blog multi format mini updates business cards visual favourites social media index

1

Micro Persuasion

29 17 25 7 2 13 93
2

TechCrunch

29 20 22 0 3 13 87
3

Scobeleizer

29 20 25 0 3 9 86

4

GigaOM

29 20 13 7 3 13 85
5

Gaping Void

28 20 22 3 2 5 80

This methodology was then used with a larger group of blogs. The overwhelming majority of new entrants to this more ‘pure’ Social Media Index are individuals which is probably not surprising given that corporates or even collectives don’t really use Twitter or Facebook . . . people do. Obviously each platform has different primary functions and some are much more personal (Facebook) than others. But bloggers quite openly use Twitter and Facebook and MySpace to market their blog posts and many blogs these days have widgets cross marketing the individual’s Facebook or Twitter profiles. And the personal and the professional was a line blurred for many of us years ago.

Technology has now enabled people to communicate in the way they want – David Dunne

There are of course many platforms that we did not include in this, like MySpace, Jaiku and Pownce and of course this list is very English-language centric and includes none of the local social sites which dominate in countries like Korea and Germany.

This presentation of the Social Media Index was never intended to be an end in itself. Rather it was hoped that it would create conversations with the aim that people would move closer to understanding how to measure influence. The resulting roundtable was one of the more tangible outcomes of this.



2 Responses to “Social media white paper: social media index”

  1. I can only imagine how challenging of endeavor this must have been. Certainly very necessary, and despite flawed, remains an excellent foundation and the best analysis I’ve seen. It’s not uncommon for one of my articles or new releases to take hundreds of hits in a day while my blog takes a dozen!


  1. 1 Social media white paper: a formula to understand influence; what makes this actionable? « Technobabble 2.0

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