Big Social Data: The Next Frontier?

6 04 2012

Closing a chapter, opening a new one. The social media revolution has been an amazing ride. Social media made it suddenly possible for brands & movements foster engagement and connect with their communities like they had never done before. It won’t go away and the world is certainly a better place for it. People and consumers have been empowered and everyone has had to relearn more human ways to communicate.

Yes, all the free stuff is good, but unfortunately, the ecosystem is still trying to pay for itself and more. This is where things could get interesting as the number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the world’s population in 2012. We pour our lives into social networks and consume an unprecedented volume of data. We learning to consume increasingly crowdsourced information and news. Al Jazeera is probably at the forefront of this new experiment, but other examples crop up everywhere, like the recentl Associated Press (AP) announcement of a partnership with Bambuser to leverage citizen reporters for live video news.

Look at us. We create more data every two days than we have in total from the dawn of time till 2003. Case in point: I only have 16,000 photos stored on Flickr since 2008!

There you goWe have invented a new aWEsome problem. We’re drowning in unstructured data. Every major company from Salesforce, IBM, Adobe…etc is launching their own social data analytical tools. Conferences are popping up everywhere:  StrataBig Data Summit… to name a few. Gartner predicts that through 2015, more than 85% of Fortune 500 organizations will fail to effectively exploit big data for competitive advantage. Some say that 80% to 90% of all social data is “un-structured”… what a task! It will take a lot of additional work to provide context and meaning to this data, which is what most companies actually need. Some predict that Data Scientist is the job of the future (read now).

Big Social Data is the next frontier. We humans still seek information pertinent to our lives while the Matrix should make our lives easier. We should rightfully expect technology to not only suck our time, but deliver us some truly smart information. We should also keep an eye on our illusion of privacy. Or should we?

So what are the opportunities for big social data? What are your thoughts? I am as excited today about Big Data as I was with Social Media 4 years ago. Are you?

@YannR

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EHRs and the Healthcare Productivity Paradox

7 11 2011

I think there are few places where opportunities for improvements are as great as they are in healthcare. Who hasn’t been hit by devastating healthcare news, treated poorly, or had the impression that going through the healthcare system is like moving through stove pipes one step after the other? For an industry that works on supposedly ‘negative demand’ according to econometric norms, it’s growing like a weed as aging populations in western countries are turning financing for healthcare on its head.

You’re probably wondering why I am blogging about this. Well, there are a lot of similarities between social media and the current evolution of our healthcare consumption. Extanz and its sister company Sterena (healthcare research and communication) have always been interested in healthcare. In fact, back in 2007, we thought the two enterprises would be one, and our first client was Syndicom (a thriving online network for surgeons). Early adopters are/were rare in healthcare though, so we diversified. But healthcare is still one area where we see many opportunities for change and improvement through participatory and social technologies, business intelligence and solving big data issues. We’ll be blogging more on those topics as we enter 2012.

Last week, I read a Austin Frakt post on labor productivity in healthcare, where they stated that healthcare is the only industry that “has experienced no gains over the past 20 years in labor productivity, defined as output per worker”. Ah, what???? Digging around in the blogosphere to substantiate this claim, I stumbled on some other interesting data points and points of view, which I thought I would share here….

It’s not a ‘US only’ problem: The NHS in England has spending cuts planned over the next 10 years, which will become the equivalent of creating a 400% increase in productivity per annum, we learn from Anna Dixon. Anna continues that these improvements can only be achievable if there is a transfer of responsibility beyond healthcare professionals. Read self-care and patient empowerment. Make people smarter though technology (or hammers) and they’ll need less costly healthcare. Right? Geez, that sounds like so much like what the social media industry has been preaching to brands when it comes to consumers — empower your consumers if you want them to adore you!

The not so mighty EHR (Electronic Health Record): This has to be one of the most talked about topics when it comes to productivity in the healthcare blogosphere. This market is expected to grow six fold by 2012 to $6.5 billion. Remember ERP (enterprise resources planning) and manufacturing companies 10 years ago?? Yep. The system never fit the ways companies were operating. Now with EHRs, throwing more training at it may not be the answer, but the cost of productivity lost over the long term will ultimately be priceless, argues Paul Roemer. ERP projects were not given the choice of whether companies wanted to be sustainable. Projects were ultimately more successful though as people and processes came together early during the design phase. Dr Reece’s blog here describes reasons for poor EHR adoption rates. Studies show that EHR projects which have 40.4% adoption rate, also have a rate of failure of 30% to 50%, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. Other studies show much higher rates, more in the 50% to 80% range. It has also demonstrated that the larger the practice (more physicians), the higher the success rate. This should tell us something. Productivity gains ultimately appear when technology works through the workflow of users. Google pulled out of EMR after all last year after launching its effort back in 2008, highlighting the fragmentation of the US healthcare system.  The move to ACO (accountable care organizations), increase in mergers and acquisitions, as well as the $27 billion in subsidies for Health IT is now putting EHR back in the spotlight again. Will these developments be the catalyst for better productivity through EHRs? The jury remains out. You need information technology + incentive models for all parties (providers, insurance, consumers) to support positive productivity growth.

They are many sources on these topics and while we’re not trying to be exhaustive, here are some starting places to find more information:

This list below highlights who is talking about EHRs the most (relevance ranked):
Then, if you’re seeking blogs discussing productivity in healthcare, these 10 should be enough to get you started (influence ranked):
This list below highlights who is talking about productivity the most (relevance ranked):
Once you’ve made your way through as many as you can, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on our current productivity paradox in healthcare and the role of health IT!




Refresh: Top 50 Most Influential Cycling Bloggers: Celebrating the ‘Cycle Chic’ Movement

26 08 2011

Eurobike and Interbike are fast approaching, making the cycling industry just about insane. We’re also lucky to have the USA Pro Challenge hurling through the Colorado Rockies this week. I will have the pleasure of attending Interbike again this year and hope to meet as many folks as possible. Drop me a line if you want to meet up for coffee: yann [at] extanz.com. I’ll also be DSLR cruising as usual!

Back in May 2010, I published the first list of Top 50 influencers in the blogosphere. With Interbike so close, it felt appropriate to refresh this list, which has grown considerably. Like last time, this partial list only looks at blogger influence and not twitter, Facebook or soon Google+ influences. I still updated the table to make it easy if you want to follow these awesome bloggers on Twitter or Facebook though. Disclaimer: This is a list and like any list, it misses things (e.g. who is influential by topics, bike types, brands, where is the buzz and plenty more…). It may also not reflect the amount of traffic each blog gets. It does represent inlinks between the thousand or so blogs in the cycling community however, so while VeloNews (arguably a blog) might have very high traffic (blog/mag) for example, it is not getting referrals like CycleChic.
You can follow each blogger’s tweets at yannr/cycling. I also have Paper.li producing a Daily Paper, to which you can read and subscribe here: http://paper.li/yannr/1308161136 – You’ll get the best of what they share on twitter. As usual, feedback is welcome – remember that we do study many other industries. Cycling is a passion of mine and it’s a nice show case of our understanding of new media influence. Please schedule coffee with me at Interbike if you want to know more, email: yann [at] extanz.com

Hard working bloggers can represent the biking culture in so many more ways than traditional media. Read their blogs, and think about bike products from their sponsors. There have been large movements in the Top 50 — up and down, with bloggers coming into the list and some disappearing. Here are my main take aways:

  • Watch the Cycle Chic Movement: Denmark Cycling Chic (TM) Copenhagen (9th in 2010) dethroned Bike Snob NYC this year, and there’s a very good reason. At least 11 of the Top 50 cycling bloggers here are women. Cycling Chic Copenhagen has started a global movement — we can see many links pointing to Mikael’s blog (not ‘her’ indeed). This sub-community is rocking the blogosphere, or shall say women are rocking it! Women bloggers are a definite force to be reckoned with in the cycling world. In any community, sub-communities have stronger ties. They read each other more closely and influence each other. They also link to each other more which shows in this list. Next year, I may have to separate them from the larger pool to be fair to the rest. If a blogger dropped from last year’s list, it doesn’t mean they are less influential however. The Cycling Chics are just getting stronger. More women in cycling is good IMHO :)
  • Twitter and Facebook use: Looking at the numbers, Twitter is the definite place for people to connect with the Top 50 bloggers (over Facebook) beside their blog. 18 months ago, only 10% were on Facebook. It’s the reverse today as a large majority (66%) are using this medium to keep in touch with their community. Still a good 1/3 do not have either a Facebook page or a Twitter page, depending on preference. I assume the main reasons are either it is to time consuming (Facebook especially) or too brief (Twitter) and lacks conversational meaning. It’s also interesting that a good 44% have not shifted to ‘vanity URL‘ on Facebook. Get on it people!
  • Influence through Twitter and Facebook: As we can see with the both the numbers of followers or fans, we could have re-ranked everything accordingly. There is not a strong correlation between bloggers’ influence and social network influence even though some clearly use it well to spread the word and engage i.e. Cycle Chic Copenhagen on Facebook or Bike Snob NYC on Twitter.
  • Other interesting tidbits: Some blogs have had an impressive progression like Let’s go ride a bike by going from 29th to 4th place or Lovely Biycle going from 38th to 6th. On the brand side, Surly is doing it right… by breaking the Top 50 while no other brand blog is even close (we’d be happy to advise :))
That’s all folks. I’m anxious to see your feedback and any data I may have missed. It’s fascinating how much it has evolved in 18 months and how much all blogs focus on cultures and micro-cultures, beyond the bikes themselves. It’s not about the bike, right?
and now drum roll please…. The rank is based on blogs influence, not twitter or facebook follow. It still makes for a interesting comparison.

Blog Twittter follow Facebook fans
1 Cycle Chic™ –  Copenhagen. 4,300 10,565
2 Bike Snob NYC 21,691  ?
3 Copenhagenize.com 5,235 1,096
4 Let’s Go Ride a Bike 2,500 297
5 EcoVelo 1,745 2,377
6 Lovely Bicycle! 731 ?
7 Amsterdamize 3,497 191
8 Bikes and The City 289 1,159
9 Fat Cyclist 14,361 ?
10 League of American Bicyclists 5,885 3,368
11 BikePortland.org 8,955 ?
12 Cyclelicious 5,011 877
13 A view from the cycle path ? ?
14 Urban Velo 3,434 3,685
15 Kent’s Bike Blog 1,094 ?
16 Bicycle Comics 2,783 1,077
17 RidingPretty-Bicycle Chic California 451 309
18 Chic Cyclists ? ?
19 Surly Bikes 3,130 1,598
20 Jill Outside 494 405
21 Los Angeles Cycle Chic 530 149
22 Change Your Life. Ride A Bike! ? 318
23 Commute by Bike 400 846
24 Sac Cycle Chic 1,341 613
25 Bike Hugger 8,716 2,922
26 vélocouture 77 82
27 Streetsblog New York City 3,174 1,580
28 i b i k e l o n d o n 2,065 ?
29 Bike Commuters 72 724
30 VeloNews 41,000 13,875
31 The Path Less Pedaled 193 3,920
32 Bike By The Sea Blog ? ?
33 Portlandize ? ?
34 Hungarian Cycle Chic 80 6,396
35 All Hail the Black Market 1,952 1,499
36 Cycle Chic Belgium ? 1,397
37 Cycle Chic Sundays! 120 541
38 Vélo Vogue 1,006 342
39 Sheffield Cycle Chic 267 56
40 London Cycle Chic 1,842 1,413
41 She Rides a Bike ? ?
42 Sydney Cycle Chic 951 550
43 Toronto Cycle Style 416 981 67
44 Clever Cycles 1,712 1,247
45 BikeBlogs.com 270 ?
46 MnBicycleCommuter ? ?
47 London Cyclist Blog 6,822 729
48 Vancouver Cycle Chic 433 359
49 Lublin Cycle Chic ? 76
50 London Cycle Chic ? ?

Ride on and see you in Vegas,

+YannR @YannR

Yann Ropars





Spotlight: The Good Work of Greenhouse Scholars

28 04 2011


Every now and then, you meet people who really can and do change the world.

On Thursday April 28, 2011, Extanz, along with 200 other guests will gather at the Denver Botanic Gardens for Glass Half Full, the first in a series of annual fundraising events for the Greenhouse Scholars program.

This one of a kind event features wine and culinary delights generously contributed by local and regional supporters of the program such as Table 6, Root Down, Sushi Hai, Colt & Gray, Masters of Whisky, Ben Parsons and the Infinite Monkey Theorem wine, and Haystack Mountain.

Silent and live auctions will raise funds for the program, with current scholars presentations rounding out the evening. Key sponsors for the event are Crestone Capital Advisors and Deloitte. Special thanks go to Beverage Distributors who donated all of the wine for the wine tastings, Lathrop & Gage, Liquor Mart (donated wine paired with each auction item and 3 cases of Silver Oak), The Quintess Collection (donated 10 nights), and RC Special Events (partnered on rentals).

Greenhouse Scholars is a non profit organization dedicated to growing Colorado’s community leaders by supporting high performing, under-resourced students in college with mentorship, scholarship, leadership and professional opportunities. Founded by Greenhouse Partners and grounded in the Whole Person approach of mentorship, the program works to support the relentless energy and passion of its incoming classes. The program annually receives in excess of 100 applications for its 12 slots. Scholars receive personal support from a mentor for four years, complete an internship, participate in peer support programs, come together annually for the Summer Symposium and participate in a professional contact program to support networking and professional interviewing skills.  The good work of the scholars as a result of this support is awe-inspiring.

The 55 current Greenhouse Scholars are passionate leaders in their communities.  They graduated from under-resourced high schools and communities across Colorado: 78% are the first in their family to attend college. The Scholars are now attending top universities, including Stanford, Georgetown, University of Denver, University of Colorado, Colorado College, and Dartmouth.  With the support of the Greenhouse Scholars program, they have college GPAs 20% higher than average – and 95% volunteer as mentors and advisors to younger students, compared to 23% of college students nationwide.

If you won’t be at Glass Half Full with us, don’t despair. There will be two more community events to come this year – The Annual Inspire (August 9, 2011) and Venus de Miles (August 28, 2011).

For more information or if you would like to support the program with a contribution, please visit www.greenhousescholars.org. You can also friend us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greenhousescholars/ and follow us on twitter!

With thanks to IraGelb and love2dreamfish for such wonderful images!

Kirsti





Real“ism” at 2011 South By Southwest Interactive #SXSWi #SXSW

17 03 2011

Did you need to go to SXSW to find out what’s been happening in the last 12 months? Did you need to attend Clay Shirky’s keynote or hear about the gamification aka. Game layer of social media? –  Just think for a minute about how you feel about Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Quora…etc these days. Overloaded?

No you didn’t need to attend. Nor did I. But I still had a great time there because SXSW is casual and people are still very approachable. I went to hear, discuss and exchange thoughts and words about what matters. And those I did find. No, the latest gimmick wasn’t there and launching anything in such noise would probably be a mistake. Social Media Tech is only a servant for those who want to make meaningful change happen. The revolutions happening in the Middle East are what’s important; much more important than any another location or photo app. I have ultimately come to the conclusion that I didn’t go to SXSW to see more technology, and if Leo Laporte or Jeremiah Owyang didn’t find enough (see tweet). I think it was predictable since buzz usually builds up before but none had risen before.  To quote Valeria Maltoni, “people will always outlast tools.”  Yep, we’re living it.

Let’s keep doing real work which impacts real lives. The superstar ego-system is fading away and the time of “the next killer app” has passed. If an app is really good, it will come to us no matter what. Startups don’t need SXSW to make or break it. We’re all too networked to miss the really good stuff. Yes, we’re still in a recession and it is keeping people realistic. In that same vein, Google was rumored by RWW (before retraction) to announce a new social network (Circles). Let’s not create hype when ‘we’, the industry geeks, shrinks and new media people, want real apps that add real value and do not waste the user’s time. So what did I see at SXSW?

1. An -Ism or separation between being entertained and meaningful changes. That’s right, the point of this blog. We are experiencing a real separation between the hordes of people who want to use technology, the web and applications to turn people into uber consumers or seeking fame and the OTHER hordes that believe that those technologies should serve societal change for the better.  2011 is certainly showing strong signs of an increase in both populations.

2. Gamification, aka the ‘game-layer’: The Seth Priebatsch keynote was quite interesting, as it made the case for re-creating experiences (like education) through gamification. Boredom and disengagement have been long standing problems in education, and elsewhere in our lives. Nevertheless, we are human beings with cyclical needs, not computers. Creating genuine experiences and learning is not something that should be only solved through more gaming. Being a parent myself, we ought to let people learn outside of pre-deterministic tracks like those computers and the game layer will impose.

3. Location is trying to grow up: LocalMind was quoted in many blogs as being a great step forward when it comes to location based shopping discovery. But location applications are going to have to become much smarter than they are today. Foursquare fatigue, ‘nuf said. I have, like many, subscribed to Groupon and other deal sites to experiment, and I am slowly… unsubscribing. They’re only filling up my inbox.

4. Healthcare is only getting bigger:
I spent a substantial amount of time at the OVERcrowded health track as Extanz is increasingly working in the healthcare space alongside its sister company, Sterena.com. We simply couldn’t fit any more people in each session. The health track was an unconference at 2010 SXSW and is overflowing already. This year, it was overflowing as well as a main track. Last year, I had heard way too much marketing/PR discussion during the sessions. This year, sessions were focused on the flourishing possibilities between healthcare, new media communication and community improvement.  Asthmapolis was mentioned as a breakthrough example of such possibilities. The apple app store accounts for 8000 health or healthcare related apps. Here are few take aways:

- Users’ first apps should be to connect with their doctors.
– Change has 3 main levels by Dr — epiphany (the rare case); change of context (more feasible)’ and baby steps (needs a feedback loop)
– Recurring use and measured behavior change are key for any app to have a hope of surviving. Too many apps are asking too much from users without giving data back quickly, or even better, first.
– Information VS. Prescription: The government will probably step in very soon to define the line between a simple app and a ‘device’ (where regulation will be imposed (FDA)) Information apps, however, will face less regulation as they are ‘prescriptive’ (via Jane Sarasohn-Kahn)
– Data people vs health people – “I ran two miles but I can’t visualize that” (Jon Richman) along with Roni Zeiger, argue that “all the healthcare data in the world is useless if it is not meaningful to the patient.”

5. #140conf – looking for inspiration? This is it.
This was my first opportunity to attend Jeff Pulvers’ year round conferences. Time flew by me, with short presentations from people using social medial or technologies to make big differences. The stories of Erik Proulx (@eproulx) with the lemonademovies.com project as well as Melissa Leon @melissaleon and Aj Leon @ajleon telling us about the extendedvillage.com project are all about such change.

6. Curation is the ever coming wave even for online shopping:
The more we curate, the more we produce, the more difficult it is distinguish between noise. Flipboard, My6Sense, and Paper.li all promise more signals and less noise. I was surprised to see this trend growing in social shopping. The web has diminished one thing, the ability for brands to share emotions as they do through print or TV had built. We learned from @willotoons that many new sites are trying to recreate both emotion, but more importantly, the curation of the shopping experience, like blippy.com, followstyle.com,  everlane.com, pinterest.com, pixazza.com, polyvore.com …etc.

So…My wish for next year: Sustainable / Cleantech will finally get a track in proportion to the magnitude of the problems they address. I think we can fill up rooms but it’ll take some bridge builders. I

sincerely thought that after last year’s unconference tracks on the subject, it would have been much bigger. Clearly ‘people’ lack data to know realtime what their consumption behaviors are. Just like healthcare, step 1 is the feedback loop. We all think our houses run like a Prius, while really they are more like Hummers. Cleantech will become big at SXSW when the early data collection players (Tendril Networks and other Power Tagging folks) come and meet people who can build cool apps. Or renewable energy folks like these best sellers should get invited. I want my phone to give me real time power consumption analyses of everything around me. The “internet of things” revolution will be much bigger than “social things.”

Anyway I hope to see you next year! I’ll go for longer, be picky, do more panels, continue to attend parties, ride a bike to get around and bring my power strip to be charging at all times.

@YannR







Whose words are they, anyway?

10 02 2011

Like in the non-virtual world, fights and squabbles are a part of online communities. After all, bloggers and tweeps are groups of like-minded people who have all congregated together in the vast space of the Web.  As with any group, there is bound to be friction and tension as people interact and connect.  We’ve seen before how bloggers will fiercely defend one of their own against a larger entity, and while bloggers will occasionally pick fights with each other, it’s generally a contained fallout.  Recently, however, there was a situation where the ramifications spread far beyond the bloggers involved. The subject matter? A familiar one: ownership of content.

Twitter conversations (or Twitter parties) are a common occurrence in certain communities.  Using a keyword and hashtag, a group of tweeple will congregate at the same time and hold a discussion.  Generally, there is at least one or two conversation hosts or moderators who set up and help guide the discussion.  The online travel community has several of these conversations on a weekly or monthly basis, the most popular being #TNI.  Run by a group called ZipSetGo, #TNI is a quickly moving conversation that covers a variety of travel related topics.  Up until a few weeks ago, everything seemed to be running fine until Pam Mandel (@nerdseyeview) noticed something on ZipSetGo’s website.  Under the Traveler’s Night In tab, there was a notice where ZipSetGo explained that they were compiling and publishing a book from the Twitter parties and that those participating in #TNI chat were giving their consent for their tweets to be used (this notice has since been removed from the website).  Pam Mandel was not comfortable with this potential use of her tweets and wrote an entry about it on her blog.  The response was immediate and overwhelming.

Comments on her blog started flooding in from both sides. The next #TNI conversation, held only a few days later, was rife with resentment and comments from people who ignored the topic at hand (Australia, I believe) and instead, drew lines in the proverbial sands of this battle.  In a show of fairness by both sides, Pam Mandel published a response from ZipSetGo publicly on her blog. She responded to them, they responded back and the readers continued to chime in.

From blog to twitter and back again, everyone seemed to have an opinion.  All the big names in the online travel community weighed in on one side or the other.  There was so much fallout that ZipSetGo eventually sent out a statement saying they had pulled the book from publication and all profits made would be donated to charity. Although the pulling of the book appears to have effectively ended this argument (or not), nothing was actually resolved and the underlying questions have yet to be answered.  The crux of the issue was this: Did ZipSetGo have the legal right to take words that someone typed in a Twitter conversation, put it into physical print form and profit from it? If reviews by Amazon customers are the property of Amazon itself, does ZipSetGo hold rights to any tweets sent out using the #TNI tag?  Or does that mean that Twitter does, but Twitter users do not?

In order to give you a more definitive answer than a half-shrug and a weak “eh….maybe?”, I asked business lawyer Elizabeth Lewis, who works mostly with online companies, for her professional insight.  Lewis quickly summarized the two legal opposing arguments for me: 1) to enter into a contract, both parties must know they’re entering into the contract,  and 2) in most cases, short phrases and slogans can’t be copyrighted.  Let’s examine these two aspects as related to this case study.

You cannot be bound to a contract if you weren’t even aware you were in one. The founders do all have http://www.zipsetgo.com in their twitter profiles and if you click on that link you could maneuver through their site to the paragraph (which has since been deleted) that supposedly released them to use #TNI tweets.  However, you can use the #TNI hashtag without ever having visited their site.  If you’ve ever participated in #TNI, you know that it can be hard enough just to follow the conversation, much less narrow in on the hosts and click through links in their profiles.  Unless ZipSetGo could prove that the tweeps participating in #TNI had read and agreed to the paragraph on their homepage, there is no ground for consent. Essentially, the use of the #TNI hashtag really makes no difference as to whether ZipSetGo could publish someone else’s tweets.

In most cases, short phrases and slogans can’t be copyrighted. Everyone knows that Twitter limits each tweet to 140 characters; it’s a defining (and challenging!) characteristic.  What we don’t know is whether 140 character is considered a short phrase or slogan as in most cases 140 characters do not have the creativity to qualify for a copyright.  Lewis explained that there is no qualification for what constitutes a “short phrase” since a case centered on a tweet has never gone through court.  140 character is approximately a few sentences long (although that can quickly be eaten up by retweeting, directing them at certain people, or by using hashtags to associate it within a certain context).  Tweeps have come up with all kinds of shortcuts and acronyms to help them fit complete thoughts into the limited amount of space they’re given but there is no legal understanding for whether a tweet falls under copyright non-protection.

So where does that leave us now?  Essentially, with a more assured shrug and a less hesitant “maybe.”  Lewis explained to me that the courts are way behind in social media law and until someone takes a situation like this into the courtroom and a judge makes a ruling, there is no legal precedent. However, she went on to explain that copyright looks at the whole of something being taken.  If ZipSetGo’s book had published the last thousand tweets from a specific (and uncompensated) twitter account, she would take the case.  However, if a single tweet was taken from the potential client’s history and published, she would have to look at the case more closely before deciding whether to take the case or not.

The moral of this story is perhaps best summed up by one wise #TNI participant’s point:

Which side of the line do you fall on?  Should ZipSetGo be able to publish their book without fear?  Is there an expectation for ownership of tweets?

~Laura

Thanks to michperu and Ed Yourdon for use of their images.





Klout vs. the Blogosphere: What does it mean to be influential?

16 12 2010

For a long time now, we’ve had a pretty good idea of who was influential (generally based on the strength of their blog) and such influential bloggers also tended to be influential in other online spheres, including social media sites. We’re starting to see a divergence now, however, between influencers in the blogosphere and in the social networks (namely Facebook & Twitter). So… with the increasing power of Facebook and especially Twitter, how do you compare an influential blogger with an influential tweeter? Is that influence equivalent? Transposable? One has hundreds of links pointing to her/his website and receives tens, if not, hundreds of comments to her/his blog, sustaining a focused series of committed conversations and partners. The other has thousands of followers and is often retweeted, wielding a power to draw folks into conversation. Apples and oranges? Or should the label ‘top influencer’ be given only to those powerful across all social media realms?

To date, blogging has been the gold standard for online influence in new media (see Brian Solis’ recent post on the subject). The most influential online personalities create blogs with high readership and audience participation, are highly shared and have a significant amount of inbound links pointing towards them. Bloggers create meaningful content that produces action. Social networks are a way for that content to be distributed, but are not the conversation mechanism. That’s all changing. Twitter personalities are becoming influential and possess the power to draw people into conversation, but their blogs don’t always rank. We also see some of the most influential bloggers lacking Twitter influence at times. So, back to the questions at hand – who is influential and how do we know?

Klout has recently come onto the influence-measuring scene and offers interesting metrics for gauging online influence. Klout claims to be “the measurement of your overall online influence” and bills itself as the ‘Standard for Online and Internet Influence,” but when you read through its metrics, it does not look at the strength and ranking of your website/blog nor your influence within the blogosphere. So are the folks Klout identifies really the top online influencers? Let’s compare metrics. How do Klout influencers compare with blogging influencers?

One industry we watch for influence is the travel industry. We recently came across this list that ranks the ‘Top Online Travel Influencers’ using Klout’s metrics. It made us wonder how it compared to a list ranking blogger influence based on inbound links within the travel blogging community. Initially we were going to re-rank the list according the blog influence and compare, but we discovered it was missing a number of key influencers (Gadling, for example). Instead, we pulled a a list of the top 50 travel bloggers (removing print travel publications) out of more than 800 travel blogs and re-ranked them by social media influence using Klout. Below we compare the original list we found, the top 50 travel bloggers and the top 50 travel bloggers ranked by Twitter influence. As you’ll see, they’re very different lists.

Top Travel Bloggers Top Travel Bloggers by Klout Score* Top Influencers from Influencers in Travel**
1 Gadling Everything Everywhere EarthXplorer
2 Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site Everything Everywhere
3 Trip Base Family Traveler – Soul Travelers 3 Tremendo Viaje
4 Uptake The Planet D Legal Nomads
5 Travel Blog Exchange Europe A La Carte Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site
6 Wanderlust & Lipstick Travel Dudes Intelligent Travel Blog
7 Everything Everywhere Brave New Traveler Land Lopers
8 Delicious Baby Uncornered Market Wild Junket
9 Elliott GranToursimo! The Planet D
10 World Hum Gadling Midlife Road Trip
11 Travel Blog Sites Ottsworld Travel Experiences Inn the Kitchen
12 Nerd’s Eye View Vagabonish Trains on the Brain
13 Jaunted Travel Blog Exchange Andy Hayes
14 The Planet D foXnoMad Wild About Travel
15 Vacation Gals Hotel Chatter Brendan’s Adventures
16 The Cranky Flier Jaunted yTravelBlog
17 Brave New Traveler My Itchy Travel Feet Fine Homes Las Vegas
18 Vagabonding My Melange Where is Jenny
19 foXnoMad 501 Places Mobile Lawyer
20 Ottsworld Travel Experiences Nerd’s Eye View Celebrated Experiences
21 Travel Wonders of the World Hole in the Donut Travel Dudes
22 Wander Mom Elliott The Carey Adventures
23 Indie Travel Podcast The Cranky Flier The Quirky Traveler
24 Heather on Her Travels Vacation Gals Europe A La Carte
25 Wandering Educators Wandering Educators Bacon is Magic
26 Travellers Point Inside the Travel Lab ZipSetGo
27 Uncornered Market Boarding Area Miss Adventures
28 Family Traveler – Soul Travelers 3 Mother of All Trips Velvet Escape
29 Travel Blogs Indie Travel Podcast Malaysia Asia
30 Ciao Bambino Travel Savvy Mom Chris Guillebeau
31 Top Travel Content – Europe Wanderlust & Lipstick Uncornered Market
32 Mother of All Trips Delicious Baby The Traveling Philosopher
33 Hotel Chatter A Traveler’s Library Two Backpackers
34 Upgrade: Travel Better Trip Base GranToursimo!
35 Inside the Travel Lab Ciao Bambino Flying Photog
36 My Itchy Travel Feet Solo Friendly Ottsworld Travel Experiences
37 Perceptive Uptake Traveling Mom
38 Sharing Travel Experiences Wander Mom Adventure Girl
39 Europe A La Carte World Hum Sheila’s Guide
40 Hole in the Donut What a Trip The Longest Way Home
41 Travel Savvy Mom Top Travel Content – Europe Eurapart
42 GranToursimo! Travel Wonders of the World Hotel PR Guy
43 Boarding Area Heather on Her Travels Vacation Gals
44 My Melange Upgrade: Travel Better Tiffany Travels
45 Vagabonish Travel Blogs Travel Blog Exchange
46 What a Trip Travellers Point Beth Blair
47 Travel Dudes Travel Blog Sites Luxury Travel Mom
48 Solo Friendly Vagabonding Travel Writer
49 501 Places Perceptive foXnoMad
50 A Traveler’s Library Sharing Travel Experiences Brooke vs. the World

Clearly the degree of online influence varies vastly depending on the metric used to rank it (social networks vs blog power). For example, EarthXplorer is extremely ‘influential’ when it comes to Klout but does not even rank as a top blog. Oppositely, Uptake is quite influential when it comes to blogging but less active or influential on Klout. Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site is pretty much influential across both realms and well respected among the most influential bloggers as is Gadling. What does this all mean?

Well, for now, influence is in the eye of the beholder, or measurer perhaps, and you need to take note of the metrics used to measure influence before you accept any list of the top 50 anything. The most influential bloggers are not necessarily the most influential in the social media realm and vice versa, particularly as narrow into specific topics as expertise varies. A list of “the top online influencers” based on Klout may leave out influential bloggers, who, as mentioned, have long been considered the most influential members of online communities. Gaining respect as a blogger is a lot harder than gaining Twitter influence (we all know that many very powerful people on Twitter are uber chatty with big numbers but don’t have real influence) and considerable influence on the blogs does not come quickly or easily. With the ever-increasing power of the social networks AND the ongoing importance of bloggers, a good strategy is to look across networks, especially if a brand navigates inside niche markets.

Ultimately, influence comes from one’s ability to draw people into a conversation AND hold them there. Influence means one’s blogs or tweets or Facebook posts are shared and re-shared throughout the online world. Influence creates action towards a person or a brand and has the power to create effect. So how influential are you?

What are your thoughts on measuring online influence in light of the growing power of the social networks?

Katie

With thanks to webtreatsVrmpX, johnrawlinson, and quinn.anya for the images.

*From Klout scores on December 15, 2010

** From Influencers in Travel’s December 16th, 2010 list








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