Is Flawed Influence Measurement Better Than No Influence Measurement?

Shigero Miyamoto - One of the Time's 100 most influential people of the year I just spotted the bit in LinkedIn Groups that identifies “Top Influencers this week”....

Shigero Miyamoto - One of the Times 100 most influential people of the year
Shigero Miyamoto - One of the Time's 100 most influential people of the year

I just spotted the bit in LinkedIn Groups that identifies “Top Influencers this week”. In the Connected Marketing Network Group I’m apparently the Top Influencer this week. The fact is though, I’m the Manager for that Group so I add lots of comments and generally hang out there a lot. On the other hand, there are members who post much more insightful comments and who are certainly (in real life) far more influential than me.

At our Social Media Monitoring Bootcamp in London in March, Philip Sheldrake ridiculed the influence calculations of Twitter monitoring solution Klout – highlighting how they were calculating influence based on what they could, not what actually reflected the real nature and complexity of “influence”. The same seems to be the case for LinkedIn: the number of posts you make is no reflection of how influential you are.  It might indicate how committed, networked or bored a person is, but not how much they are influencing people.

This raises the obvious question, is a flawed measurement better than no measurement? Or are we just trying to ascribe value to something far too nebulous, fuelled perhaps by the personal vanity of people (like me) who love to be defined as “influential”.

We’ll be talking about this more at Monitoring Social Media Boston, San Francisco, New York, London and Paris. Hope you can make one of them!

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    40deuce Reply

    That’s a great question Luke.
    I think a lot of companies are going to say “yes” for now.
    there’s been a crazy influx in the talk about influence as of late, and the problem is that no one has a real answer for how to measure it. All different things come into play when people are influenced by others and some of those things can be measure and some cannot. I think that as long as people are interested in finding “influencers” in social media a flawed approach may be better than none at all… for now anyways.


    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

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    Michelle Reply

    Good question Luke, and there certainly has been a fair amount of waffling on the subject.
    For the moment we’ve decided that the best option is to provide all of the indicators that we use to calculate their influence score (SynthesioRank). The lists of influencers can change, then, according to what the person judges to be most important at that time, for example page rank or Alexa rank or audience, etc.
    Other than that Linkedin might want to push you forward as an “incluencer” because, in fact, you do spend a lot of time in that space and are familiar with those that come and go, and the questions that are asked and answered. I would say getting emails from the Linkedin conversations that you’ve started counts as influential 😉

    Michelle @Synthesio