Activity Is Not Influence

from the tweet-this! dept

I recently wrote about my concerns with the rise of services that try to measure "social media influence" by giving it a number. I had a few concerns about this, including the fact that trying to put a number of something that is not quantifiable inevitably leads to problems, but also in that this would lead people to change how they use certain tools. I don't use Twitter for the sake of "influence," but as a communications vehicle. Yet, that harms my "scores" on these services and gives me incentive to do things that I'm not interested in doing.

It appears I'm not the only one concerned about this. Jeff Nolan points us to a writeup by Mack Collier, in which he express similar concerns, specifically noting that these services measure activity, which is different than influence -- and, in fact, can be antithetical to influence. He notes this because one of these services, Klout, told him his "score" was dropping, and the way to increase it was to tweet more things:
Essentially, Klout and Empire Avenue are measuring your level of social media activity, not your level of online influence.

Simply sharing more content and engaging with my network isnít going to make me more influential over them. In fact if itís not the type of content and engagement that they are looking for, my influence over them will fall, not rise as I become more active.
And yet, because these sites and their made up numbers declare that they're measuring "influence" lots of people just believe them. It's really unfortunate, and it's going to lead to people changing their behavior in ways that don't increase influence at all, but decrease it.

Filed Under: activity, influence, social media

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  1. icon
    Jeni (profile), 4 Jun 2011 @ 8:47am


    In my head - Mike, this is why I enjoy reading your writings SO much - not once have you failed to echo a thought or sentiment of my own that I can only sit here and think (and too often get upset about with no outlet).

    Anyway, this has been an issue that has driven me batty for years. Now it's costing me web site rankings for what I do online since Google's Panda update. I am NOT into the "social marketing" scene - now I'm paying for that. Literally and dearly.

    Thankfully I have some resources that will hopefully allow me to get by but suffice it to say this has greatly affected my ability to give and to donate and to SHARE as I've always so loved to do and that, in turn, is so frustrating. For example, I do a local Dial-A-Prayer site and love to donate the hosting/domain; I had to ask for the $ this year. I hated that. I REALLY hated that.

    You see, I would far more like to work than sit around "socializing". If I sit here and "socialize" all the day long, I can't work - am a one-woman operation here and can only stretch myself so thin. I would far rather work on quality content and good web design skills that need constant updating as anyone who's done that work knows but now I find myself babysitting "twitter" and considering other avenues should I ever have the time. But it goes against everything in me and I can't afford - especially now - to outsource this.

    And really sorry for rambling but please just a sec or two more - I was surfing a site called to see what the deal is and what do I see? People PAYING others to write content. People paying others to tweet, to post FB profiles and get "fans" - NONE OF IT IS EVEN FOR REAL; IT IS ALL FOR "SCORES" OR "RANKING" SO HOW DO WE EVEN KNOW WHO IS FOR REAL MUCH LESS HOW "GOOD" THEY ARE!?

    Sorry. Didn't mean to shout. Deep breathes...


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