The motivations of influencers and amplifiers: how content becomes prominent

June 24th, 2009 / 04:06 by Ross Dawson

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.

Why do you tip Techmeme?
Tipping to techmeme is an avocation i.e. a hobby. But I have discovered it is great to build a personal brand and network with folks online. Techmeme is a excellent resource for consuming technology news for people in Silicon Valley and beyond. You can think of tipping to the Techmeme site as a modest contribution to bringing some of the news quicker to the attention of Techmeme and its readers.

How has this tipping altered your Twitter habits?
A little bit. I was using Twitter mostly to share technology news so tipping to techmeme has not significantly altered my Twitter habits. It has made me a better curator of links. If I come across some interesting on the technology front, I do assess if it is worth tweeting about and/or tipping to techmeme.

Is is worth you time tipping Techmeme?
It has been worth my time tipping to Techmeme. It has enabled me to reach out and connect with folks on Twitter and other social networks in a much more credible way. Given the current restriction of submitting no more than 2 tweets/hour to Techmeme, I actually spend no more than 30-45 minutes per day cumulatively sending tips over to techmeme. It is time well spent in sharing new about technology to folks who follow Techmeme.

People like Atul play an important role in the influence economy. They are rewarded in a variety of ways for their efforts in being first to highlight interesting articles. I suspect they will be rewarded in more ways in the future, as the influence landscape develops into a true marketplace.