Power, influence and the social web

Mitch Joel hosted me on his excellent Six Pixels of Separation podcast this week and I’m really proud of this content.  I think you’ll love this lively discussion!   It’s a pretty wide-ranging look at power and influence on the social web …

  • Is there true power in reciprocity on the social web? Why is the power of favors toxic?
  • Why are new power brokers emerging who have little real business experience?  What is the source of that power?
  • What are the dangers and possible advantages of the “social proof” that occurs through badges like the number of Twitter followers and Klout scores?
  • How does power result in new monetization models?
  • Can anybody disagree with Chris Brogan and not get blasted by his followers?

Any way, it was a lot of fun and I would love your feedback, either here, or on Mitch’s blog.

Click on the image below to access the podcast!


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  • Always a pleasure to have you on, Mark! You have an open invitation 🙂

  • Geez Mitch, you’re totally blowing our cover. We’re the social media odd couple remember? We’re supposed to be adversaries. Quick … bitch at me before somebody notices your comment!

  • Pingback: Podcast: Power, Influence And The Social Web With Mark W. Schaefer « Claude Oggier – Go4bigpoints Blog()

  • Anonymous

    Always a pleasure to listen to creative thinkers! The podcast is great fun and I am definitely influenced by you guys and don’t expect anything in exchange;-)


  • Congratulations, well done Mark and Mitch!  I enjoyed and learned a great deal from you both, thank you… 

    I shared the link to your podcast, purchased your book for my “newbie Twitter” son and today my plan to do the same for his brother since influence and reciprocity on the social web is of great interest to us all.

  • Mark,

    There was so much good information there I listened to the podcast TWICE! I love hearing you and Mitch together. The two of you really do have such different ways of looking at things. I love it.

    I pay attention to my Klout score because i would be foolish not to, but I am waiting for Dino Dogan to interview me about my importance as a “bacon expert” since I am still influential about “bacon”

    Bacon is the most perfect food ever, so I am cool with my bacon influence. I promise to use my power for good. With great power comes great responsibility!

  • Thanks Claude, it is a real pleasure to be on these podcasts. Mitch really pushes me to think in new ways!

  • Wow, Thanks Dr. Rae!

  • Bacon.  God’s most perfect food. Salt, fat, cholesterol, calories and if you’re really lucky, it’s sugar-cured too. Covers all the basic food groups.

    I’m so delighted you got so much value from this content Nancy! : )

  • Mark,
    It took me a while to listen to the entire podcast, as I kept being interrupted (mostly by my weekend on call). Certainly appreciated hearing your voice, and being introduced to Mitch, Also realized that when I have been recommending Tao of Twitter to friends (which I did just last week to a friend in the fundraising business who was skeptical about how his group might be able to connect with people using Twitter) I have been pronouncing it WRONG.

    So, as I was listening to the comments about presumed compliance and citizen influencers I realized that it is not only in social media that people can be fooled. You and Mitch pointed out how easy it is for a person to check out someone from whom they are considering purchasing a webinar, or believing their advice. Yes it is easy, but why do so many NOT do it? I think that is because they are accustomed to NOT DO IT in real life. Take choosing a doctor, for instance. 

    I have been absolutely amazed at the number of people (many of them are my friends and relatives) who seem to have no idea that a doctor’s value or credibility is not equivalent to the “trappings” of gray hair, pleasant disposition newspaper ads and well-appointed office. When I ask if they know if their doctor is board certified in the particular specialty they give me blank stares, when I ask if the doctor was able to provide any “evidence” for why they are recommending a certain course of action, they look at me with gaping mouths for my audacity in questioning the “authority” of their physician. 

    So I think that if human nature is such that we would rather embrace the trappings instead of investigating the facts (ask your surgeon his or her rate of wound infections, whether he or she has additional training in advanced techniques they are suggesting they can use, etc) for something that might just be life-threatening, why should they take the time to expose spammers on twitter, or question the authenticity of the self-proclaimed social media guru? Yes its easy, but the bell-shaped curve of people who engage in social media suggests that at least as many will be naive and trusting as will be out to trick others. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Any way, just my two cents. Thanks for listening

  • This is a very powerful observation and a centerpiece of a new book I am working on : )

    In real life, at least we may have some CLUES to a person’s capability — referrals, news coverage, diplomas on the wall, even the car they drive — but on the web?  We have NOTHING even that good!  We may reduced to looking to social proof like the number of followers to judge somebody’s worth.  As Mitch said, he is amazed that there is almost a reversal — people with the least experience are the most popular.  In many cases, it is simply a case of whoevever was there first established the most followers and, by association, credibility.

    This was one of the most shocking lessons I learned when I came on to the social web. Many of the “thought leaders” were dispensing incredibly naive, maybe even dangerous advice. In the real world, this would be shot down in a minute, but here, people are actually oooh-ing and aaaw-ing over the dumbest stuff. One reason is that criticizing these people upsets the economy of favors. I wrote about it here: The social media country club http://bit.ly/7s550n

    Any way, I’m really glad you’re here Alice. I’ve enjoyed your commentary and look forward to getting to know you, especially as it relates to your professional life.  Here is another post you might find helpful: Marketing a medical practice http://bit.ly/h6CsUm

  • Thanks so much for the warm welcome, Mark. I have entered the social media realm from a business standpoint only recently, starting a blog less than a year ago, and adding a twitter account in the latter half of May.  My goal is really simply to let people, especially in my region, know that my institution is present and capable. It’s funny, because from a professional standpoint, within my specific field of medicine, I have a reasonable of influence, among my peers, but having just put my toe in the water of social media I have not been able to judge how much influence I might have, or when and how I should monitor it (Klout score notwithstanding). I have nothing to sell, except my reputation and trustworthiness, which would make others want to invest in me as a leader of pediatric healthcare in my region, as a recruiter and manager of other physicians, and the developer of a place where they would want to bring their children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends for health care, or a place where they, as a physicians or nurses, would want to work. 

    The “marketing” courses I took as part of my MBA did not introduce me to social media as an outlet, nor  focus on how to break away from the traditional marketing models to build credibility as a developing  academic medical center and growing provider of specialty care for children. I plan to read the above posts you’ve highlighted, and appreciate all the wisdom I am absorbing along the way. Thanks for being there.

  • You and Mitch are a powerful marketing duo. Good job guys. Love the passion you both have for this awesome profession.

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