For several years now I have been working on the measurement of influence in conversational networks. Here are two ZD Net pieces that begin a rolling commentary that will go from the 90,000-foot level down to practical personal, marketing and political applications of influence measurement.
Influence is incredibly specific, personal and peered.
After working on a social network analytics system for two years, here are some initial thoughts on the meaning and value of the many economies proposed as foundations for measuring social networks. My contention: Influence, the conversion of one’s basic ability to attend to and convert the raw material of their life into meaning that, as the OED puts it, has “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something,” is the productive feature of the networked economy it is most important to measure and understand. Influence takes work—it is work in the networked economy—and we know how to measure the value of human effort.
Is paying attention to something a form of consumption, production or both? Depending on how you cut it, attention is both a form of consumption and it is productive in the same sense that iron ore has value. Actually creating new value in the information flow requires more energy, albeit human energy, than paying with attention for something. And a lot less energy than producing a Volvo.