Don’t Believe Everything You Hear / See In Social Media

Posted by Melissa in Social Media on January 5, 2011

Popular vs. Influencer

In the last few days there have been several articles about Social Media popularity and influence. These consistently discuss Twitter, as they should (I will do so as well). I had a discussion via Twitter with Michelle Robbins of Search Engine Land and we discussed Klout scores. We discussed Klout giving scores that make people seem popular. Michelle pointed out that being a real “influencer” is what is important. It is possible to be considered an influencer or thought leader by Klout and really not be what we, Michelle and I, consider an “influencer”.

Michelle said, “…anyone that needs an algo to say/prove they’re an influencer, has already failed. anyone that believes it is worse.”

In case you don’t know, she means anyone that needs an algorithm…basically a computer program that determines whether or not you are an influencer. As Michelle says, “I think the problem is that a formula is being applied to something that does not lend itself to being understood algorithmically.” Amen!

Why the Numbers, Rankings and Followers Do Not Mean Squat!

Social media leaders or influencers inspire people, educate people and/or by mere words encourage people to take a step in one direction or another. It doesn’t matter what number or ranking you are given by a program if you cannot do at least one of the above three things I mentioned.

Having said that, let’s discuss “followers” or “fans”. I can go out today and get 2000 more followers on Twitter merely by following those that instantly follow back because they want a big follower number. Just because someone has 30,000 followers doesn’t mean they are someone to listen to, especially if they are following 29,9995 people! I tend to shy away from people like that.

Big follower and fan numbers may make one appear “popular”, but what do they offer? There were popular people in high school that offered no value of any kind too…get my point?

I have found that most of the people I love to see on Twitter everyday have less than 3,000-4,000 followers. They give me the best info and things to think about. The question is how many people do they follow? Often it is a lot less than their followers list.

Quality, Communication, Friendship and Clean Twitter Stream

I follow very few people and the reason why is I have a clean Twitter stream to read everyday. I get the valuable info I need and I have quality conversations with people in my industry. They influence me, they educate me and the encourage me to take more steps in 140 characters or less!

If I followed 3,000 people just to have a high follower # I would have all kinds of stuff I am not interested in on my stream. More importantly, I couldn’t create solid and real relationships with that many people.  I wouldn’t even have time to get to know anyone or vise versa! I wouldn’t have time to dig through all the crap info to find the valuable. So, I follow only those that prove to me they offer valuable information! I follow the influencers!

So Back to My Point – Don’t Believe Everything You Hear / See In Social Media

You have to look at people in Social Media the same as you would in regular life. How do you know they are trustworthy? Have you met them and had a conversation? Have you got to know them over a long period of time? Why should you believe ANYTHING they say? What invoked that kind of trust?

DO NOT believe everything you hear, read or see in Social Media. Find the influencers please and look to them for real information.

Great articles about this top:

Your Followers Are No Measure of Your Influence

Why the Amount of Followers You Have Can be Meaningless

How To Track Down & Scout Out Influencers <– This just came across my Twitter stream as I was finishing this post…see?

Older Post:

Finding Your Value In Twitter

17 responses to “Don’t Believe Everything You Hear / See In Social Media”

  1. Nick Stamoulis

    It’s all about trust in Social Media. Engaging and creating relationships that build trust. It’s more about quality of followers than quantity.

    Nick Stamoulis

  2. Melissa

    I could not agree more!


  3. Sebastian

    Spot on! (Read, then delete my I-second-that comment)


  4. Dana Lookadoo

    You mean to say that if it’s spread by social media it’s not true? But it’s on the Internet!

    I couldn’t agree more about Klout and your and Michelle’s take. How can one “computerize” subjectivity of influence???

    I especially like your points about a clean stream. I sometimes feel guilty for not following everyone back. I probably connect with only 15% of those I follow.

    What’s interesting is how we change and follow and unfollow people. There are some friendships that remain constant, however. Those are influencers!

    Dana Lookadoo

  5. Doc Sheldon

    Dead right, Melissa! It’s both amusing and sad how so many people buy into such things as Klout to tell them how “popular” and “influencial” they are. If they need it measured…

    Great post! Let’s hope some folks get it.

    Doc Sheldon

  6. Fred Sexton

    What about the idea that more followes/tweets/posts/ect having an impact in your ranking. Anyone seen studies to prove/disprove this?

    Fred Sexton

  7. Melissa

    Fred, this would be a good article for you to look at –

    What Social Signals Do Google & Bing Really Count?

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