This is the uncut version of my latest post on TechCrunch…
Measuring individual influence in Social Media is as coveted as it is elusive. While many tools claim to calculate authority, it is the definition of influence that requires clarification in order to grasp the relevance and differences of existing tools and services.
For the sake keeping this discussion on track, let’s define influence. According to Merriam-Webster, influence is having the power or capacity to cause an effect.
While the title invites a predicted round of wordplay, I will spare you the attempts at low hanging witticisms.
I carefully considered this topic before sharing my views. In doing so, my perception might have altered since the news of Hollywood studios banning film stars from using Twitter initially broke.
It’s not a secret that Hollywood has a long history of controlling what is said in the media. Like in almost every industry it touches, Twitter has completely disrupted the chain of command, democratizing influence and shifting the power of publicity, control and reach of information from executives to communities – for better or for worse.
The role of influence is changing and diversifying and with it, the rules and responsibilities of engagement are also reshaping. While PR, analyst, and investor relations were clear yesterday, the rise of new influencers, tastemakers and authoritative users and customers becomes both pervasive and uncertain. As such, new opportunities for engagement emerge; creating new opportunities for cultivating distributed relationships. However, each new connection requires management, a support infrastructure, including a dedicated host.
Over the past several weeks, leaders in the search industry launched an aggressive, very public series of campaigns designed to capture the elusive future of search mind and market share.
What follows is my opening address to the Social Media World Forum…
As we look ahead to 2010 in the world of social media, we should first stop to appreciate how far we’ve come in this journey to new found relevance and presence.
Social media served as a great equalizer. The technology and the corresponding networks that freely connected us, democratized the ability to publish and share content, weave more meaningful relationships, as well reset the ecosystem for establishing and wielding influence.
Each year at Blogworld Expo, Technorati CEO Richard Jalichandra presents The State of the Blogosphere as one of the event’s prestigious keynotes. For those who are unfamiliar with Technorati, it serves as a directory and search engine for the blogosphere as well as a benchmark for the ranking of blogs worldwide.
While there has been much discussion about the relevance and even demise of blogs as the statusphere and micro updates gained traction in addition to earning prominence in the mainstream spotlight, the reality is that blogs are a vital ingredient to the media ecosystem.
In media and blogger relations, PR typically wields two powerful tools to help boost the effectiveness of pitching and potential placement of news: the embargo and the exclusive.
Prior to leaving Forrester to join Altimeter Group, Jeremiah Owyang, along with Josh Bernoff, Cynthia N. Pflaum, and Emily Bowen, published a report that attempted to bring the future of the Social Web into focus. If we viewed the content of his research as a social object, the conversations that would transpire could in fact expedite the development and implementation of the most valuable predictions and observations contained within.
As consumers, I think you’ll agree, prior to making any decision purchase, most of the time, our journey begins with a combination of online search and real world conversations with friends, family and peers. As the Web matures, a greater volume of our attention and focus continues to shift from other mediums to the Web for not only purchase considerations but also for content discovery.
It’s how we learn.
It’s how we stay connected.
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research firm focused on disruptive technology. A digital analyst, anthropologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging technology on business, marketing, and culture. Solis is also globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. His new book, What's the Future of Business (WTF), explores the landscape of connected consumerism and how business and customer relationships unfold and flourish in four distinct moments of truth. His previous book, The End of Business as Usual, explores the emergence of Generation-C, a new generation of customers and employees and how businesses must adapt to reach them. Prior to End of Business, Solis released Engage, which is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to market, sell and service in the social web.