Future of Influence
One of the most interesting topics at the recent Future of Influence Summit was the emergence of business models for influence. Some particularly intriguing issues were raised in the Business Models for Influence and Reputation panel, suggesting that one of the key currencies of the future will be influence.
The panellists generally agreed that total revenue in the influence sector, including the companies represented on the panel (Rapleaf, Buzzlogic, Klout) is around US$100 million. The primary business model is providing insights to companies on who the influencers are in their customer base.
One example given is a hotel that asks guests checking in for their Twitter name, swiftly ascertaining how influential in social media they are, and treating them accordingly. If someone who has real reach is their guest, the hotel might upgrade them or otherwise treat them in a way that they are likely to rave about.Continue reading
"Will Influencism supplant Capitalism? The emergence of the influence economy" »
Was just catching up on Ray Wang and Jeremiah Owyang joining Charlene Li’s Altimeter group from Altimeter. Jeremiah is quoted in the New York Times: Mr. Owyang said that his story holds lessons for other companies. “I think this is an interesting trend that many companies are going through — personal brands are here to […]Continue reading
"The shift from corporate brands to personal brands" »
In the wake of Future of Influence Summit last week, Seth Godin has done a short post titled Clout that neatly sums up one of the key themes of the event, and an issue that I and many others think is enormously relevant today. This subject is coming to the fore. I don’t think Seth […]Continue reading
"What matters: measuring people’s clout" »
Influence is the topic of the moment (as well as the next decade). In the wake of our very successful Future of Influence Summit earlier this week, not one but two significant studies of influence on Twitter were released today.
An extensive study titled The Influentials: New Approaches for Analyzing Influence on Twitter, created measures for relative influence, tracking in detail 12 popular users. Commentary on this further down in this post, and a nice visual showing response density to these users below.
Rapleaf, whose CEO Auren Hoffman spoke at Future of Influence Summit, released a quite different report showing the change in the structure of the Twitter ecosystem in the period late-March to mid-June of this year, during which time Twitter usage grew 60%. Rapleaf, in the course of doing a study to identify influencers in one of their clients’ customer community, came up with some interesting statistic in the dynamics of the most prominent Twitter users.
"Measuring influence on Twitter: the state of the art progresses step by step" »
I was very happy to be able to sleep in this morning after Future of Influence Summit. While I haven’t had a full debrief from the Sydney side of the event yet, it was a fantastic event on the San Francisco side, and I’ve had great feedback so far on what happened in Sydney.
Influence and reputation are now key issues on the agenda for any organization. At the Summit, we began to tease out the many issues that will be critical moving forward. I will spend some time digesting what was discussed and pull together some structured thoughts in the next little while.
We will also post videos of a couple of the sessions soon.
For now, it’s worth reviewing what attendees at the event captured on social media during the event – together these provide a great overview of the Summit.
Blog posts: (In no particular order – more coming soon I believe):
Mick Liubinskas: Live from Future of Influence SummitContinue reading
"Quick review: Social media coverage of Future of Influence Summit" »
See What are the business models for influence and reputation – today and in the future? for introduction to the panellists. Below are my notes on what panellists and audience members were saying – hope they’re correct but may not be 100% accurate. Todd: the market pushed them towards the advertiser space. In 2004 companies […]Continue reading
"Panel discussion: Business models for influence and reputation" »
This is a new presentation – experimenting. Money has been a dominant form of currency – it’s something we understand innately. In the days of barter, we would exchange things for mutual value. Advantages of money: it is fungible, trust is not necessary, and it’s independent of need. Money evolved to fiat money (in 1971 […]Continue reading
"Tara Hunt on You can’t eat Whuffie, but it’s harder to eat without it" »
I had the privilege of attending my second Gnomedex two weeks ago and there was a regularly used joke: everyone claims to be a “social media expert” just because they’ve used Twitter.
The line may seem glib, but it has serious roots. The label social media expert is being used by all and sundry just because they have used Twitter, or started a blog, or at the extreme, have a Facebook account. It’s not a title I’ve ever applied to myself, although it has been applied to me on occasion. I’m probably qualified to use it given my experience, but I have no particular interest in being a “social media expert.” I’d rather use my skills to build something quantifiable that doesn’t involve me telling others at every opportunity that I have some idea about what I’m doing.Continue reading
"The coming trust crisis in the social media expert space" »
Throughout all our events, including among others Future of Media Summit, Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum, and now Future of Influence Summit, our intention has been to have top-level participants who are themselves creating the future, and generating useful insights from interaction with their peers. This is not supposed to be about the audience coming to […]Continue reading
"The quality of the audience is the heart of Future of Influence Summit" »
Once Future of Influence Summit finishes in San Francisco on August 31 at 6pm, we will go to the nearby 111 Minna bar for drinks and the After Party. The conversation on where influence is going will continue with a little lubrication See here for location and full info on 111 Minna If you’re in […]Continue reading
"Future of Influence Summit After Party: San Francisco – August 31" »
I just got off an interview on the future of influence on 2SM radio which lasted almost 15 minutes – close to a record for my interviews on live AM radio, which tends to do 3-5 minute segments. The talk show host was clearly fascinated by the issues of how influence is shifting away from people like him, and towards the unwashed masses.
In the interview, done in the lead-up to Future of Media Summit which is on next week in Sydney and San Francisco, I discussed the social transformation wrought by the changing influence landscape, and pointed to key five trends driving this change:
1. Influence is democratized
It used to be that people were influential by virtue of their position, such as CEO, journalist, or politician. In a world of blogging, Twitter, and social media anyone can become highly influential, shaping how we think, behave, and spend. Companies can ignore no-one. As many more become heard, a truer democracy will emerge.
"Five key trends in how influence is transforming society" »
One of the most exciting topics of Future of Influence Summit next week is exploring the business models for influence and reputation.
This is an issue which is better addressed in San Francisco/ Silicon Valley than anywhere else, and we have an extraordinary panel lined up to address the topic of Business Models for Influence and Reputation at 2:20 – 3:10pm Pacific Time.
Some of the questions I see include:
* Will there be new mechanisms for individuals to monetize their influence?
* What products or services will advertisers and marketers spend money on in seeking to tap influence?
* Will advertising spending be driven primarily by influence?
* What are models for monetizing the measurement of influence and reputation?
* Who will take the bulk of the value? Will it be the influencers themselves, or intermediaries in the emerging ecosystem?
Let’s take a very quick glance at the people speaking on the panel and what they’re doing – absolutely a star-laden cast.Continue reading
"What are the business models for influence and reputation – today and in the future?" »
When we started organizing Future of Influence Summit, our minds turned immediately to Brian Solis, who is himself one of the most central influencers and thought leaders in this rapidly emerging space.
So it’s awesome that Brian is speaking at the Summit, providing his insights on Influence at the Center of Marketing and Advertising.
Brian’s blog PR 2.0 is essential reading on the topic, and he also often guest blogs for TechCrunch. Just a few of his prominent posts that are particularly relevant to the future of influence include:
– Full Disclosure: Sponsored Conversations on Twitter Raise Concerns, Prompt Standards (Great post, will write more about later)
– Identifying and Connecting with Influencers
– Real-Time Conversations Gain in Influence, Hasten Social CRM
– Unveiling the New Influencers
"Brian Solis at Future of Influence Summit: Putting the Public Back in Public Relations!" »
Belatedly launching the hashtag for Future of Influence Summit: #foi09 FOI is Freedom of Information as well as Future of Influence, so putting the year in will help us stand out… I have been remiss in not using the hashtag in my Twittering yet, but now we have quite extraordinary cast of attendees as well […]Continue reading
"Hashtag for Future of Influence Summit is #foi09" »
We weren’t the first to use the phrase ‘Future of Influence’. Most prominently Nate Elliott of Forrester wrote a report ‘The Future of Influence‘ (though you’re better off going to Future of Influence Summit than buying the report ) and has done a number of presentations on the theme.
Nate summarizes the topic:
* As Users Become More Active in Recommending Products and Services, New Influence Challenges Volume of Classic Influence
* The Growth of New Influence Will Overwhelm Some Users, Reinforcing the Value of Personal Recommendations from Known Sources
* Marketers Should Focus on Classic Influentials to Drive Direct Action, Encourage Them to Make Off-line Recommendations
Nate’s presentation below describes the difference between what he calls ‘Classic Influentials‘ (who exert passive influence by responding to requests for information) and ‘New Influentials‘ (who exert influence by proactively giving advice).
A key focus in this analysis is user reviews. As we get a critical mass of reviews of products and content, this becomes a better source of information to consumers. However simple recommendation behaviors, for example in Twitter, are also being aggregated to provide information that guides decisions and behaviors.Continue reading
"The changing nature of influentials and the role of the social graph" »
You (or your favorite charity) can make money from your tweets! Participate in an experiment on making money from influenceAugust 24th, 2009 by Ross Dawson
You (or your favorite charity) can benefit from your influence! To find out how, read on…
One of the key themes of Future of Influence Summit, on next week in San Francisco and Sydney, is ‘business models for influence and reputation’.
There are many angles to this particular topic, including:
* Will it be possible for individuals to effectively monetize their influence and reputation?
* What new mechanisms will allow people to make money from the influence?
* How will influence intersect with spending on advertising? (some of the leading players in this space will be speaking at the Summit)
* What are business models for the measurement of influence and reputation?
I recently wrote about Sponsored Tweets, which is one of a number of platforms for people to make money by tweeting sponsored messages and links. There has been extensive discussion on this concept, with a high level of polarization in the community as to whether or not this is a good idea (see for example the comments on Mashable, and thoughts from David Risley, White Hat Crew, and AdWeek).
In the spirit of experimentation and learning how paid influence may work, we are introducing a rewarded tweeting system for promoting Future of Influence Summit. Here is how it works:
1. People using an approved discount code get 25% off the full price of registration (US$199 in San Francisco, A$600 in Sydney). For any registrations with that code, an additional 5% of the registration fee (US$10 for US, A$30 for Australia) is paid to you (or your favourite charity).
"You (or your favorite charity) can make money from your tweets! Participate in an experiment on making money from influence" »
We continue our Influence research series, paving the way for in-depth insights and breaking new ground on the topic at Future of Influence Summit 2009 in San Francisco and Sydney. See the Future of Influence Summit blog for the full series.
Earlier this year Bernardo Huberman and colleagues at HP’s Social Computing Lab did an analysis of Twitter networks, resulting in the article Social Networks that Matter: Twitter under the microscope.
They studied a random sample of 300,000 Twitter users to gain insights into how they communicated and connected. There were a variety of insights from the research, including the relationship between Twitter activity and number of followers.
The final conclusion of the paper was:
Many people, including scholars, advertisers and political activists, see online social networks as an opportunity to study the propagation of ideas, the formation of social bonds and viral marketing, among others. This view should be tempered by our findings that a link between any two people does not necessarily imply an interaction between them. As we showed in the case of Twitter, most of the links declared within Twitter were meaningless from an interaction point of view. Thus the need to find the hidden social network; the one that matters when trying to rely on word of mouth to spread an idea, a belief, or a trend.
This is of course hardly a surprising outcome. Having hundreds or even thousands of Twitter followers does not imply a strong relationship, just as anyone with over a thousand Facebook friends will not necessarily be influenced by all of them.Continue reading
"Influence research: what are the real influence networks within Twitter and social media?" »
We continue our Influence research series, paving the way for in-depth insights and breaking new ground on the topic at Future of Influence Summit 2009 in San Francisco and Sydney.
Duncan Watts is one of a handful of scientists instrumental in developing the study of networks as a key scientific discipline. He tells his story in his book Six Degrees, which begins by recounting how he found a subject for his Ph.D in mathematics in biological phenomena, which turned out to be based on networks, and to apply to subjects as diverse as society, technology, biology, infrastructure and beyond.
Duncan co-wrote a paper in 2006 titled Influentials, Networks, and Public Opinion Formation. This used mathematical modelling to examine the dynamics of how influence could disseminate.
The paper’s abstract summarizes their findings:Continue reading
"Influence research: Duncan Watts and the debate on whether “influentials” really matter" »
Twitter has just announced the first of a series of changes to how retweeting is incorporated into the Twitter platform, called Project Retweet. This is significant in how influencers make content popular, one of the key themes of the upcoming Future of Influence Summit.
Retweeting (forwarding someone else’s tweet to all of your followers) has become central to how Twitter is used. This user-invented behavior means that Twitter has become an extremely strong amplifier of the dissemination of interesting content.
It also provides a very good indication of people’s influence and credibility. While Twitter follower numbers are very crude a proxy of influence, it is far more effective to see how much people are prepared to forward someone’s messages. High follower numbers does not necessarily result in lots of (or any) Retweets. However if someone is consistently and diversely retweeted, they must be saying interesting things, or more often, pointing to interesting content.Continue reading
"Twitter’s Project Retweet will amplify how influence drives content" »
Below is the video where I first saw Tara in action, speaking at the Web 2.0 Conference in April 2009 about The Whuffie Factor: The 5 Keys for Maxing Social Capital and Winning with Online Communities.
For those not in the know, “whuffie” is the measure of reputation used in Cory Doctorow’s sci-fi novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. Since we don’t have any other good words for describing collectively assessed reputation, whuffie has gained traction as a description of this phenomenon.
Taken from the book description:Continue reading
"Tara Hunt “Queen of Whuffie” doing opening keynote at Future of Influence Summit SF!" »
In the lead-up to Social Media for Marketing: An Analysis of Digg.com Engagement and User Behavior, created by new media research company One to One Interactive.
Digg was one of the first “influence aggregators”, bringing together the opinions of many to guide what content people read. In addition, the Digg ecosystem is a great example of an influence network. Research in early 2007 showed that 30 people were responsible for 30% of the stories that made the front page of Digg. Their personal influence networks generated waves of behavior that resulted in stories becoming very popular.
Today Digg’s prominence as an influence aggregator has waned relative to the growth other channels, most notably Twitter, however it is still a powerful force that concentrates vast amounts of web traffic to those stories the community push to the fore.
One to One Interactive uses a proprietary methodology that uses physiological data (breath rate, galvanic skin response, heart rate) in addition to eye tracking information and self-reporting to assess engagement. They did the study on a number of respondents who visit Digg an average of twice a day to see how the engage with the site.
The above diagram from the report shows part of the research that resulted in the second insight below, that headlines are the most important factor in driving attention and traffic to stories.
These are the four key insights generated by the study:Continue reading
"Influence research: what drives people to Digg stories" »
How many Twitter followers do you have?
One of the reasons Twitter is important is that it is introducing the concept of assessing people’s degree of influence. A person’s number of Twitter followers is increasingly being taken as a proxy for their influence. If the only thing you know about someone is that they have 5,000 Twitter followers (or 50), you can make some preliminary assumptions about their influence.
Of course Twitter follower numbers is a hopelessly flawed measure for many, many reasons, and pretty much everyone knows that. However it’s often all you have.Continue reading
"Twitter follower numbers as a proxy of influence – what comes next in measuring influence?" »
At Future of Influence Summit at the end of this month many of the most prominent people in the influence space will get their heads around where the space is going.
Given what I’ve been seeing and hearing over just the last few months, it is clear that an important part of this is the sweet spot where influence meets advertising.
A good overview of the space and two of the leading players in the space – 33Across and Media6Degrees – is provided in a recent article in New York Times titled The Online Ad That Knows Where Your Friends Shop. The article concludes with:
Margaret Clerkin, the head of the invention group at Mindshare, a division of WPP’s GroupM, who works with clients including Unilever and Sprint, said she wondered whether the approach would work for every category.
“The theory feels strong that in this very social environment that people are influenced more by their friends than they are by advertisers and brands,” she said. She plans to test Media6Degrees and 33Across later this year.
“I think the validity of that is going to end up being tested by brand and by category,” she said. “I can’t believe you’re going to see the same ratio in buying a bar of soap that you are in buying a car. The influence rate is going to be so much greater as the price tag of the product goes up.”
A recent article in AdWeek, Connect the Thoughts, also examines the space in some detail, describing some of the key ideas:Continue reading
"The rapid rise of the sweet, sweet spot where influence meets advertising" »
One of the key themes at Future of Influence Summit 2009 on August 31 / September 1 will be the emergence of the ‘reputation economy’, and how value is being created in that space.
Howard Rheingold, who has been deeply involved in this space since the 1980s, and has demonstrated his prescience by writing – among others books – Virtual Reality in 1991 and Smart Mobs in 2002, will be doing a keynote at the conference.
In our recent conversation about influence and reputation Howard mentioned the 2004 article Manifesto for a Reputation Society, which appeared in First Monday. I saw this a number of years ago but had forgotten it. It is in fact a great overview of where reputation may go. The abstract reads:Continue reading
"A Manifesto for the Reputation Society: it’s coming soon!" »
The Sponsored Tweets platform works by giving advertisers the ability to create campaigns and select, invite, and approve Twitterers of their choosing to participate in their sponsored campaigns. On the flip side, Twitterers can set their pay rate and find opportunities to tweet on behalf of advertisers and get paid per tweet and/or click.
Of course, IZEA’s attempting to cover the disclosure and ethics and portion with their Disclosure Engine software that automatically detects whether or not the appropriate hashtag or text is included. According to IZEA’s CEO, Ted Murphy, “disclosure is systematically enforced” and adheres to FTC and WOMMA guidelines.
This is the first substantive platform in what will undoubtedly become a crowded space. How prominent twitterers and their followers will respond to this is an unknown.Continue reading
"Sponsored Tweets opens up the world of monetizing influence" »
Travis Murdock has a nice blog post: Who influences the influencers? (which, tellingly, I found from @louisgray on Twitter). Travis offers five tips: 1. Check who they are following on FriendFeed 2. Follow Influencer RSS reader feeds 3. Research Facebook events 4. Research ReTweets and @replies on Twitter 5. Follow the social brick road There […]Continue reading
"Working out who influences the influencers" »
Chris Anderson, currently most well-known for his provocative book Free, today put forward his views in yet another interview, this time with a cranky reporter from Spiegel, published under the catchy title of ‘Maybe Media Will Be a Hobby Rather than a Job’.
I’m most interested in what he says about how he gets his news, which is precisely the How Influence Drives Content and Publishing theme of the upcoming Future of Influence Summit. It is good to hear this said in someone else’s words, from an information consumers’ perspective. Here is an excerpt from the interview…Continue reading
"Chris Anderson on the social filtering of news and media" »
After three extremely successful years running the Future of Media Summit, held simultaneously in San Francisco Bay Area and Sydney, it is time to move on. This year the event, run by The Insight Exchange, will be titled Future of Influence Summit. This is because:
INFLUENCE IS THE FUTURE OF MEDIA
We have already begun to discover this through the now-dominant concept of “social media”. In the Future of Media Strategic Framework that was launched for our Future of Media Summit 2006 we described the (symbiotic) relationship between Mainstream Media and Social Media.
Social media is all about human relationships, about how we shape our view of the world based on our peer communication. The extraordinary breadth of information and opinion that we are exposed to today, combined with the ability to converse, means our own opinions are often driven more by peers than traditional sources.
In fact this shift to the social means that media is becoming far more about peer influence than information and reporting.Continue reading
"“Influence is the future of media”" »
Today we launch our Social Media Strategy Framework. This provides guidance and a frame on how organizations can approach engaging with social media, following in the tradition of our highly popular frameworks such as Web 2.0 Framework, Future of the Media Lifecycle, and Influence Landscape.
This is a Beta version, pulled together to release before The Insight Exchange’s Social Media Strategy event today. I can already see some improvements to be made, but I would love to get your thoughts on what’s wrong (and right) for this to be taken into account for the next version.
The Framework begins with LEARN, follows two streams of ENGAGEMENT and STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT, and comes together in the ongoing imperative to DEVELOP CAPABILITIES.
The five key points for each element are also written below.
Use social media yourself
Study relevant case studies
Educate senior executives
Hear from practitioners
Explore the latest trends
"Launch of Social Media Strategy Framework" »
One of the most important applications of influence is in launching start-ups. This is often a make or break situation – you have a great opportunity to get attention (and on the back of that revenue) when you launch a new company. If it doesn’t work and you don’t get much attention at that point, it doesn’t mean you never get another chance, but it’s going to be a lot harder when you’re yesterday’s news.
The New York Times has a long feature today about PR in Silicon Valley, which has brought an extended response from Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, bringing into focus the question of who the REAL influencers are when it comes to getting word out on start-ups.
The New York Times piece, describing the formation of the PR strategy for word-focused start-up Wordnik, says:Continue reading
"Influence for launching start-ups – who do you go to?" »
Citizen journalist site Allvoices.com has just moved out of beta. CNet provides a story of the site, its founder Amra Tareen, and Allvoices’ features including a map of the world showing where the latest stories are emerging. A Reuters story, Allvoices happy to pay popular posters, focuses on how the site pays contributors and its […]Continue reading
"Who will provide the credibility ratings for the journalists of the planet?" »
Twitterboard – a very interesting way of aggregating Twitter conversations on a website – launched in alpha yesterday.
I’ve installed it on this blog to give it a try. You should see a tab on the left hand side of the page. When you click it this will bring up the Twitter thread. I’ll give it a whirl and see how it goes.
Twitterboard describes itself:
Tweetboard is a fun and engaging micro-forum type application for your website. It pulls your Twitter stream in near real-time (max 1 min delay), reformatting tweets into threaded conversations with unlimited nesting. Conversations that spun off the original conversation are also threaded in-line, giving your site visitors full perspective of what’s being discussed.
The way it works is that tweets on the site are appended with posted.at/ and inreply.to/ short URLs which take people to the conversation. This means that people who see parts of the conversation on Twitter can go to the site to see a single threaded discussion.Continue reading
"Twitterboard and the rise of distributed conversations" »
Increasingly, we primarily find content through aggregated influence. In other words, influencers use Twitter, blog, Delicious, Digg, Reddit etc. to highlight the content they find most interesting. Collectively these influencers make this content highly visible, driving at times massive traffic to articles.
A couple of years ago I wrote about Uncovering the structure of influence and social opinion, which drew on research on how just a handful of influencers drive the content aggregation sites such as Digg, and a little later analyzed how influencers and amplifiers had helped one of my blog posts hit the front page Delicious.
These topics will be covered in detail at Future of Influence Summit 2009 – details coming soon.
In January the grand-daddy of the tech news aggregators, Techmeme, started accepting suggestions for stories, by people sending links on Twitter along with “tip @techmeme”. The most prominent Techmeme story suggestor has been @atul.
Atul is interviewed in Success Secrets of a Top Techmeme Tipper. The entire interview is worth reading; I have picked out some of his comments on his motivations.Continue reading
"The motivations of influencers and amplifiers: how content becomes prominent" »
Today we launch our Influence Landscape framework! Click on the image to download the pdf.
This continues our tradition of creating frameworks to elucidate where things are going, including extremely popular visuals such as Future of Media Strategic Framework, Future of the Media Lifecycle, Enterprise 2.0 Implementation Framework and many more.
The Influence Landscape framework is launched in a Beta version that will be refined and developed over time, as influence is now one of our major research and content directions.Continue reading
"Launch of the Influence Landscape framework (Beta)" »