Are You Influential? The Odd Need for Social Measurement
In another decade, Jimi Hendrix wailed, “Are you experienced?” Today the social media cry is, “Are you influential?"
Recently one of my colleagues, fresh from a conference, asked enthusiastically if I were using Klout. Actually, no, (not yet?), but I was certainly familiar with the growing trend to seek social media validity.
I find it interesting that we equate influence with numbers and not with results. This reminds me of getting 2,000 leads, with only 20 qualified. What’s the criteria?
To me, a teacher is influential because he/she shapes a life. A doctor is influential because he/she saves one. My concern is that social media “influence” is too often a regurgitation of other people’s ideas where claims of audience are highly exaggerated, occasionally corrupted, and certainly manipulated.
Don’t get me wrong – I understand the marketing logic. It makes sense to inform those who inform others. But even if a post is deployed to many, doesn’t mean that many act on it.
A blog on L + E admirably explores the pros and cons of social influence measurement. But I would like to pose a different angle – not so much regarding the usefulness or functionality of solutions like Klout, Kred, Sulia or Tweet Grader – but why we feel a need to use them.
As consumers, the need seems more obvious. Social media is new; its reach is vast. So how do you corral it? Manage it? Curate it (we’re busy!)?
But as content generators, the need seems rooted in vanity. Being Friended , Followed and LinkedIn is a real ego trip, but is that influence? One could argue, the bigger the network, the less the impact – because your “ripple of influence” is increasingly diluted in the clutter.Continued on the next page