<![CDATA[Matt Galloway hits on many great ideas, which I found via Dina.
The gang (it’s growing) at Persuadio is building a company on many of these ideas, focusing on vertical analysis of influence—not just the influentials, but the paths around them, the velocity of ideas, the fact that there are influentials and amplifiers, and more—we will have a real Web site in the next couple weeks as we emerge from stealth mode. The first example of our technology, at www.mydensity.com, which tracks the social network two degrees around any URL, doesn’t get to any of the influence tracking by topic/theme, but it is available in an enterprise service.
I agree with John Dowdell, who commented on Matt’s posting, that aggregate-by-author will not always work to identify influential bloggers. I agree with Matt that the size of the whole Blogosphere doesn’t matter, nor does the whole Web. When looking at influence, we have to dig very deeply into narrow spectrums of network relationships.
I contend that there are layers of influence based on different interests among writers, but the existing relationships we have with the writer (or podcaster or…) do carry over into areas where they are not necessarily “expert” or consistently writing about. Understanding how those marginal relationships can be amplified is important to seeing into the flow of influence. So, aggregate-by-author must be combined with topic-based aggregation and other analysis to provide real insight into how a conversation is changing, how it is changed by the marketer’s participation or by advertising or other types of messaging, whether a competitor’s or a customer’s.
“Influentials” casts the influencer as an end-point on the network, which simplifies how marketers deal with them; they are, however, conttenuated by the network. Participatory marketing based on increasingly transparent views of the conversation needs to recognize how dynamic influence is—getting an influential talking is only the beginning, not the end, of the process.
We’re building the system that delivers feedback that lets you see into what the process is producing for the marketer; and we’ll do some great things for bloggers, political campaigns, media watchdogs and media companies, too.