Neville Hobson has a post that provides a good summary of the evolving methodology for measuring the influence of individuals online. This is a critical issue for public relations practioners and marketers trying to identify and reach those oft-mentioned “influentials.” Seems like the methodology is becoming more sophisticated and going beyond the Technorati/Alexa rankings (which are watched obsessively by some) and raw traffic and subscriber numbers. Edelman has developed a new social media index that captures social networks like Twitter, Linked-In and Facebook and measures the number of friends and updates, among other items, to generate the index. At first glance, I’m nervous about counting “friends” in networks since that gauge is more a reflection of popularity than influence and is highly vulnerable to abuse, but I applaud Edelman for its efforts in this area. And like Neville, I agree with the premise that any true measure of influence has to go beyond blogs to include the social network platforms.

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