A non-commercial view of a social media “community”


The U.S. Federal Trade Commission enacted new rules, effective yesterday, calling for bloggers to disclose any connection they have to an advertiser, including both sponsored posts and free products received for reviews or endorsements.

So here’s where I stand –  I don’t have ads.  I will not do paid endorsements.  Period.

I have had the opportunity to go the commercial route, and making money is probably the ultimate aim of most (all?) bloggers.  So I thought this would be a good opportunity to open up a little about where I think {grow} is heading and why a commercial stratey is not part of the picture:

  • I have come to really care about the people on {grow}.  It is awkward for me to sell things to my friends.
  • This has not been a blog for a long time.  It’s a community.  This is a place where people don’t just connect to me, they connect to each other.  I don’t want sponsored posts in the middle of that. In fact, where I could have ads at the top of the blog, I have posted your comments!
  • I don’t think I could write what I want to write without having the advertisers in the back of my mind.
  • At this point in my life, it’s more rewarding to create an authentic learning, helping community than to make a few bucks off of it.   Once in a while I sense that this space makes a small difference in somebody.  This is better than money to me.

You’ve heard me say time and again that bottom line, social media is all about the money. In an indirect way it is for me too, so don’t peg me as Mr. Altrusitc quite yet!  A blog helps me enormously as a teaching tool in the classroom and also shows to my business clients that I practice what I preach.  But at its core, I do believe {grow} is destined to be different.

To make this little experiment work, you need to be active — yeah, I’m talking to YOU!

  • Please, please, please jump in. Comment and debate and joke around.  Let everybody know you’re HERE!
  • Reach out to others in the community and help when appropriate.  We’re all in this together.
  • By re-tweeting posts, you’re inviting others in your audience to join the party, which adds to the richness and diversity of the content we’re developing together.  When the community grows, we will all benefit.

So what do you think about this social experiment?  It’s really been taking off, but what can we all do to make it even better? Or, do you think this is just dumb and I should take the money! : )

P.S. The day after the rule took effect, this is how social meda blogger Jason Falls started his post:

As I’ve indicated before, content ranking and analytics service Postrank is a sponsor of Social Media Explorer. One of the benefits of that sponsorship is one post per month about them …

As I’ve said several times, Jason is one of my favorite bloggers but man, that is a gig I would NOT want to maintain!

Who are the most influential people in social media marketing?

influence people

I’ve been thinking about lists on Twitter and how they might be used to assess someone’s influence.  I’m about to let you in on my thought process.   Please keep all  hands and feet in the car until it comes to a complete stop. We are entering murky and dangerous waters …

My assumption is that if somebody puts you on a list, they really want to pay attention to you.  They are giving you a vote of confidence.

By dividing the number of lists a person is on by their total number of followers, I believe this might serve as a quick and dirty rating of relative influence. To me, this is one simple method to answer the question — you have a lot of followers, but how many REALLY listen to you?

Certainly this is more straight-forward than the mysterious algorithms of Twitter grading apps. Both number of followers and number of lists are public, easily-accessible data points.   Another advantage is that “list” is a relatively new Twitter function.  People have not had time to figure out how to “game” it yet.  If this formula would catch on, people will probably figure out a way to boost their numbers, but in this moment in time, it’s still “pure.”

For your edification and discussion, I came up with a representative list of top social media bloggers (those with more than 10,000 followers) and ran the list formula (# of lists / # of followers = influence rating).   Try it on your own favorite marketing personalities.   Any surprises?

Blogger Followers Listed Rating
Olivier Blanchard            18,167          926 5.10%
Mitch Joel            12,673          593 4.70%
Valeria Maltoni            12,183          553 4.50%
Beth Harte            14,045          634 4.50%
Chris Brogan          110,239       4,811 4.40%
Steve Rubel            34,632       1,465 4.20%
Jeremiah Owyang            56,038       2,212 3.90%
Guy Kawasaki         194,955       7,661 3.90%
Jason Falls            19,100          701 3.70%
Darren Rowse            82,648       2,975 3.60%
Chris Pirillo            74,372       2,677 3.60%
Mack Collier            11,517         413 3.60%
Amber Naslund            21,432         721 3.40%
Scott Monty            34,777      1,132 3.30%
Danny Brown           17,880         555 3.10%
John Jantsch            28,753        898 3.10%
Chris Garrett            17,404         459 2.60%
Joseph Jaffe            14,958          245 1.60%
Mashable      1,772,210    17,972 1.00%
Jeff Bullas         25,878         251 0.90%
Gary Vaynerchuk         849,441     3,398 0.40%

P.S. My own ranking came up as 4.5.  Eat your heart out Brogan.  ;  )

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