In the old days of “influencer relations” (you know way back when in 2009), PR professionals targeted the magic middle and top tier bloggers, which triggered larger blog coverage, and then more often than not traditional news media.
Since then digital media companies straddled the space occupied by both traditional journals and the top tier of bloggers. They use algorithms to detect hot news stories before they trend in the blogosphere, then break the news before traditional players and bloggers alike.
Specifically, Mashable, the Huffington Post, Forbes, Google and the others use algorithms listen to chatter on the social web. When hot trends bubble up they source the content provider, assign a reporter, or in the worst cases use narrative science — computer-based news writing — to break the story first.
This effectively takes power away from PR executives to affect the news cycle through traditional influencer outreach, and in turn, empowers the crowd to determine stories.
Some news outlets use the crowd to validate top stories, too. Validation is embodied by shares on social networks and comments.
For example, USA Today features stories on its web properties based on the posts that get shared the most. The old assignment editor loses weight in these scenarios.
Read More »Beating the Algorithm
Scoring systems encourage people to build wide networks to foster reach and create the perception of influence.
The highest scoring “influencers” like to think they deliver widespread impact with their followings. Every single book I’ve read by a blogger on influence claims this.
In actuality, that influence lies closer to home.
When real researchers parse influence we get a different story than the blogger myth propagated by social scoring. Instead, we see that true influence comes from those who are closest to us in our on and offline social networks, our peers.
As the old adage goes, “You are who you hang out with.”
Influence: The act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command.
I’m reading a series of books right now trying to understand what makes someone influential. There are more tangential theories and approaches into the psychology of motivation than one can imagine, well beyond the universe of Klout.
It’s easy to conclude that no one understands what causes one person to influence another.
Today’s influence theories offer just a slice of individual online behavior based on attention and reach metrics. These strength and influence algorithms support theories about content production and authority. Yet they cannot identify what causes actual people and their larger social networks to adapt and move towards new ideas and behaviors. I will prove this shortly with my very good Klout score and my very humble AdAge Power 150 ranking.
Read More »A Heretic’s Quest for Influence Beyond Klout
You probably know the legend as Bigfoot, the yeti, or the Abominable Snowman. The mysterious, gigantic hairy biped eludes human contact in mountainous regions, vying for its own survival. Thrilling and scary at the same time, northern cultures dream of this elusive and powerful icon of the unexplored wilderness.
Similarly, PR and marketing types alike dream of the influencer, the person who will trigger an online contagion (a.k.a. viral event). They desperately look for that powerful personality who will become their brand hero.
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by Heidi Sullivan Stage actors have an old, if somewhat crude, joke. When they read a script it looks something like this: “BS BS BS BS … I enter … BS BS … My line … BS BS BS …… Read More »Listening Is Key, But Don’t Forget Your Research