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@Gary -- two considerations. 1) is about "who benefits?" Does this person have a vested interest in pushing something vs. something else? The other is, we fill many roles in life, we're someone's daughter/son, a parent, a teacher, an employee, a customer, etc. We borrow considerations from one type of experience to make decisions in others, for example, if you have a really bad experience working at company, you may not recommend its services or products.

@Doug -- and I didn't even talk about the dog owners not curbing their animals when nobody is watching, or when they do it on the street... which is not very socially friendly behavior.

Love the way you tied the neighborhood speed demons to Cialdini's work on social proof and how we allow others to determine what measures are indicative of successful engagement. Just like Meb, you, or I might define successful runs differently, we all have to determine what goals are appropriate for any activity including the use of new social tools.

Great post today. I am enjoying following your thoughts around Influence. You wrote "[some scores are] Not so useful when comparing apples to oranges - two individuals with similar scores, yet who affect totally different environments. " To me, this is the very heart of the matter when looking for influencers -- they may have a high potential influence score (aka: social graph) by the fact they have a voice that talks a lot in a lot of prominent places; but if they are not actually connecting with the audience looking for answers, solutions, thoughts, etc by saying things contextually relevant to that audience, it is really hard for them to have influence.
Further, I believe people will have many different scores – not one generic one -- , as they have different abilities to be an influencer depending on the target market or audience being addressed, and each target market or audience perceives them as influential or not accordingly.

For instance, I found you because you are talking about a topic I am passionate about -- influencers and measuring influence. If you had been talking about fruit, winter lawn maintenance or other topics, I still might have stumbled across you and enjoyed your writing, but it would not have influenced me in any way to respond, think or otherwise take action. Contextual / topical relevance is a key component for influencer measurement, and one most ignore at their own peril.

Because of the need for contextual relevance, few if any can be an influencer to everyone. But each of us can be an influencer to 1, 2, 3, 4...Z audiences and markets due to our ability to influence those markets with our thoughts, ideas and solution sets. And through that, we will each have our own "scores" or influencer rank. We may be the top influencer in market segment A who cares about Fly fishing. We may the 4th top influencer in the market who cares about boats, etc.

Contextual / topical relevancy is a very key part of influencer measurement, and acknowledging that a person is not represented by a single “score” or rank, but actually a series of scores or ranks is critical as well.

For more of my thoughts, you can see my blog posts on this topic here:

Gary Lee

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