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 @ 9:10am


    "But, can you have influence with no activity? No."

    True. Absolutely. But if the biggest SE in the world doesn't think you are "active" enough, which supposedly means "influential", and drops your rankings so low no one can find your "stuff" any more, you can't have any influence, either, no matter how helpful or "good" your content is.

    It's a 2 way street. Activity can take many other forms than a social link, too. Email, for one. Letters, for another. Newsletters, phone calls...

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