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Month: January 2008

Context of the Influence Discussion (it’s getting very meta around here)

In the latest issue of Fast Company there is an article that is creating a little bit of a stir, “Is the Tipping Point Toast?” The guts of the article is that Duncan Watts is taking The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and other influencer marketing sources to task saying that the current state of using influentials to spread messages/trends is a waste.

There has been some good thinking on the subject already. Noah weaves some thinking around engagement, or participation, of what is being spread and how Strong vs. Weak ties within social networks drive viral. I’ve been doing some of my own work on the idea of Strong vs. Weak ties and have found that yes ,you can identify the spreaders or influentials within networks. For me, they are the weak ties across networks. The reason a weak tie is the influential is that they are the ones that have the best opportunity to continue the spread of a message to a wide range of individuals. Now while they are easy to identify on paper, much more difficult in reality for a couple of reasons. But there are a couple of problems with this thinking. First, just because on paper someone is a weak tie, i.e. has multiple social points they participate in, doesn’t mean they are an ‘active’ membrane for messages/ideas/trends. They could just be by-standers in different groups. The other problem is, and you could say it is the human factor, the ties (Weak or Strong) are in a constant state of flux. And I think this is the point that Mike Arauz is getting to. That influence and influentials are part of a very complex relationship system.

Scott Monty is right that really to make influential marketing work the right pieces need to be in the right place at the right time. But it wasn’t until I read Armano’s post that it clicked in for me. Armano pointed out that influentials must work because he didn’t read the article against influentials (even though he saw the Fact Company headline) until an influential pointed it out to him. That’s when it clicked – context and relevance.

So the influential equation might look something like this – the message needs to be context and relevant, delivered by someone who has access to multiple audiences and is a participator within their multiple audiences. When identifying an influential strategy we need not just to identify influentials, but the audiences to which the influentials will interact/engage with and apply that learning/insight to the message/idea/trend we want to spread.

Update: Have you noticed the number of articles/post of influentials lately? Just saw this one on automotive influentials.


“Blogging is the new Facebook in ’08”

Co-worker of mine said that quote in passing, half joking, half teasing me because of the area I work in (she also has a nick name for me that plays off my name and viral diseases…because I “spread” things in social media…I’m sure it’s meant to be endearing). But whether she realized it or not, I think that there is some actual truth in her statement.

In my own observations, I think we have hit the tipping point within the general masses of people feeling comfortable blogging. For the sake or argument, I’m staying in the blogging world…I think this trend actually holds true across all consumer created content. I say this because the same girl who said that quote has just started blogging more on a regular basis. Her friends are the same way. I’ve noticed that co-workers who have teased me in the past about having a blog…have now started their own. They post fairly regularly – pics, videos, etc.

Fueling this I believe is the combination of several trends;

  • Adoption of reading blogs has tipped – from journalist to my office mate who read 15 craft blogs a day
  • Blogging is becoming accepted and is shedding the ‘only early adopters do that’ attitude
  • Tools to blog, post pics, post video are now very simple
  • People feel comfortable publishing

In an interesting spin, I think Facebook became the Trojan horse and catalyst for people to get into blogging. For the sake of argument lets say that Facebook is basically a personal content aggregator to all your friends. It opened the door to let a group of people know that you’ve been tagged in a photo. Mentally, this helps people get over the hump of having themselves published on the internet…and actually they think it is not that bad. But while Facebook is great for aggregating content, it doesn’t really have the ability to create content, allowing for people to express themselves beyond just a photo tag. Creating a simple blog does. For the 80% of 18-42 year olds who have broadband (rough summary/estimate from this emarketer report), blogging is now just another simple login. With news stories of people micro-publishing, a la twitter, the masses also get comfortable with the idea that they don’t have to publish the next great novel on their blog.

Given, this trend is all from the observation of space 967 on the 9th floor of 110 North 5th Street. But if my co-workers who just gotten into blog stick with it…we just might be on to something. We might be able to ladder this up and say this is part of a larger trend and that ’08 will be about mass adoption of people creating their own content, growing the content creators past the 1-10% range…but that’s another blog post.

Update: Thank you Heather for the edits. 


It wasn’t my idea (good news, I’ve been promoted)

I read announcements on other blogs…but now that I have the same announcement, it’s a weird post to write. As of last week:

New title – Consumer Engagement Research Strategist

New responsibilities – I have a team to craft and grow

New challenges – Help brands and their messages engage with consumers

We are building/transitioning at my agency and it is a exciting time to be here. I want to thank those who are giving me a chance to help to tackle the challenge of creating something new.

Not to get too sober, but had a chance to reflect this weekend over the last two years. Done somethings right, did somethings wrong. Felt a bit of a growing (and dare I say it – maturing) sensation the last couple of days. Need to put on the leader boots my mother always said I had. Need to release a bit of the ego that I thought I needed to get things done (I know, that’s a bit to admit). Need to always remember to never stop dancing so I never grow old.

Looking forward to all the challenges ahead. Once again, thanks to those for the opportunity.


it was a nice likemind.min 1.18.08

likemind.min was yesterday morning and we had a great turn out. We had close to 20 people, 4-5 new faces again. I’m a little nervous what will happen when everyone will show up.

While co-host Sarah and I had throw out the topic of discussing trends/predictions of ’08, the conversation quickly wandered in its own direction. Check the likemind.min twitter to get a quick idea what we were chatting about…but with some many different conversations, it was hard to twitter any centralized them.

Next month we will be celebrating out 1 year anniversary of likemind.min. Reflecting back over the last year they have been several nice surprises that have come out of this group. Now I can trade emails with likemind around the world. Hopefully in ’08 will do some traveling to meet some of them. Was able to pull a conference panel together through likemind connections (how I got to meet Noah). But what I like the most about our group is that it has stayed true to the main idea – a non-agenda meet up of people who are likeminded.

Stay tuned for likemind.min celebration details…don’t worry, it won’t be at 8am.

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