Influencer Lists: The Good, Bad and Ugly

By Jay Palter


I’ve compiled my share of influencer lists over the past few years. Yet when I read Ron Shevlin’s post, Fintech Influencer Lists Have Jumped the Shark, I found myself agreeing with much of it.

Shevlin is skeptical of influencer lists and what they purport to measure: influence. And he rightfully calls out list makers who publish lists as clickbait with little regard for accuracy or evidence of actual real world influence.

Yet in his effort to call out some of the bad practices, Shevlin’s arguments also seems to call into question the usefulness of influencer lists in general, even the good ones. On the contrary, I think a well-crafted influencer list is a powerful tool for an effective social networking strategy.

The rise of influencer lists in tech

Indeed, more influencer lists have started to appear online for all kinds of areas of disruptive tech, including fintech, insurtech, blockchain, artificial intelligence, etc. These lists employ a wide variety of criteria to measure and quantify “influence” – despite, and without great awareness of, the inherent challenges in defining the thing they wish to quantify.

Since the earliest days of Klout and its 0-100 scoring system for influence, I was also a skeptic. Whatever Klout purported to measure, it was not to be confused with authentic influence in the offline world. But what a growing set of social media scoring tools are measuring bears some relationship to influence and ought not to be ignored. I call it “online influence” and I believe it measures the ability of an influencer to attract an audience interested in their subject matter and, perhaps most importantly, their ability to move content through their network.

Valuable tools for social networking

Good influencer lists identify people with subject matter expertise who have developed considerable online audiences that follow them. These influencers typically have attracted the attention and earned the respect of other knowledgeable people in their industry.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. A good influencer list is very valuable and can be very useful in a variety of ways.

Good influencer lists can function as excellent starting points for tuning into and understanding the best thinking on an issue. Fintech is a perfect example. While we used to rely on trade journals and conferences to keep up to speed on new developments in the fintech space, innovation is moving so fast these days that influencer lists and the curation and sharing that these influencers facilitate is one of the best ways to stay up to date between meetings and live events.

Influencer lists are always going to be the product of objective and subjective analysis, relying on both quantitative data and qualitative observation. Even the choice of what quantitative data we are using to measure “influence” is subjective. And as we each observe a variety of influencers, some of them stand out as more influential to us than others – and this is also subjective. So, in Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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