What matters: measuring people’s clout

September 8th, 2009 / 07:09 by Ross Dawson

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 will mind if I put the full post here, as it doesn’t really bear excerpting (as long as I include a solid plug for his awesome blog!)


The web knows something, but it’s not telling us, at least not yet.

The web knows how many followers you have on Twitter, how many friends you have on Facebook, how many people read your blog.

It also knows how often those people retweet, amplify and spread your ideas.

It also knows how many followers your followers have…

So, what if, Google-style, someone took all this data and figured out who has clout. Which of your readers is the one capable of making an idea break through the noise and spread? Bloggers don’t have impact because they have a lot of readers, they have a lot of impact because of who their readers are (my readers, of course, are the most sophisticated and cloutful on the entire web).

If you knew which of your followers had clout, you could invest more time and energy in personal attention. If we knew where big ideas were starting, that would be neat, and even more useful would be understanding who the key people were in bringing those new ideas to the rest of the world.

Back in the old days, we had no idea, so we defaulted to big newspapers, or magazines or the TV networks. But now we know. We just need to surface the data in a way that is useful.

I’ll be writing a lot more on this topic and how this can best be done in coming weeks and months.