25 social media influencers Forbes ignored, and why

Forbes influencers

By Mark Schaefer

Once a year, a fellow named Haydn Shaughnessy shows up on the social media scene and creates a list of the “50 Top Social Media Influencers,” which is published via the online version of Forbes.

This list gets distributed far and wide and has become an important badge of “social proof” for those on the list. Last year I criticized the methodology as incredibly lame (and I was on the list) and I think that weakness is apparent by just viewing who is NOT on this list. But before I get into that, let’s first look at how this deceptive ranking is formed.

The “Forbes” list isn’t a meeting of the minds or even a popularity contest. It is the singular creation of Mr. Shaughnessy. Now, I grant you that “Shaughnessy’s List of Influencers” does not have the same ring of authority to it, so it has become the “Forbes” list, even though the magazine is simply the pot that is carrying the piss.

Mr. Shaughnessy, who writes about enterprise innovation and co-authored a small book about a new wealth creation system called The Elastic Enterprise, bases most of his influencer insight on a Peek Analytics score called “Pull.”  So what’s this all about?

Not so fast

First of all, the company declares on its website that its platform only evaluates Twitter. So Mr. Shaughnessy’s list is not a measure of social media influence, it is a measure of Twitter influence.

Or is it?

Let’s see how Peek Analytics describes their measure of “Pull” on its website.

“Social Pull is not a measure of a single individual’s “influence;” rather, it is an audience-based metric that is a direct reflection of the quality and size of the Twitter audience that has been “pulled” into following an account or mentioning a keyword @name, hashtag, or URL on Twitter.


An influencer list … that is not a measure of individual influence?

So the Forbes List of Top Social Media Influencers is 1) created by an individual, not a publishing company; 2) based on Twitter, not “social media;” and 3) admittedly not a measure of personal influence.

Can I have a hear a collective “WTF” from the audience?

In summary, this is a suspicious methodology to define social media influence, and that is about as charitable as I can be.  The people on the list don’t have to speak, blog, or write a book to demonstrate their influence. In fact, Shaughnessy describes one influencer, Jonathan Naferrete, as somebody who really doesn’t blog but does post images on Instagram.

Now, here is a LIST

I need to emphasize that there are tons of wonderful people on the Top 50 list and many legitimate social media titans I admire.  But I’d like to highlight 25 amazing people NOT on the list to demonstrate that we need to take lists like this crazy Forbes mess with a grain of salt.

You want some social media thunder? These are just a few of the truly great social media influencers of the world excluded from the Forbes list. I’ve linked to their Twitter handle. Please follow them so perhaps they can make this “prestigious Forbes list” in 2014. Heh.

Charlene Li — Founder of the influential Altimeter Group and author of the seminal book Groundswell

Avinash Kaushik — Google’s chief digital evangelist and one of the most influential bloggers on analytics.

Brian Solis — Arguably the most prolific and successful social media author in the field.

Mike Stelzner — Creator of the Social Media Examiner properties — perhaps the most successful and influential social media blog, podcast and conference in the world.

Lee Odden — Leading thinker and speaker about integration of social and SEO. Author of the wonderful book Optimize.

Amber Naslund — One of social media’s most influential and respected bloggers and thought leader. Co-author of The NOW Revolution

David Armano — An integrated marketing thought leader, contributor to Harvard Business Review, managing director, Edelman Digital.

Clay Shirky — NYU professor and for my money, the most visionary thinker in the business. Author of Here Comes Everybody and one of my favorite big think books, Cognitive Surplus

Tom Webster — His Brand Savant blog packs a wallop every time, Pithy, clever, wise.

Mark Ragan — CEO of Ragan Communications. Publisher of @PRDaily, PR Daily EU, Ragan.com, and about a million other useful publications

Joe Pulizzi — Single-handedly defined the field of content marketing through his Content Marketing Institute and wildly successful conferences and books.

Michael Chui — McKinsey Global Institute principal and expert in using social tools to enhance enterprise communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration.

Gini Dietrich — Fearless Spin Sucks blogger who writes about the intersection of PR, digital, and social

Seth Godin — World-renowned best-selling author. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.

C. C. Chapman — Incredibly insightful thinker, Co-author of the important book Content Rules

Julien Smith — An observer of the social space who is painfully smart and co-author of Trust Agents

John Jantsch — The man who represents the intersection of social, small business and common sense. Best-selling author of The Commitment Engine

Marcus Sheridan — Passionate evangelist of social media and content marketing for business. Just got a new book deal.

Jeff Dachis — A business leader and entrepreneur pushing for data-driven social marketing through the influential Dachis Group

Shelly Kramer — Gutsy entrepreneur-ess and blogger who tells it like it is.

Geoff Livingston — Social media, social good, deep thinker, superb blogger.

Jason Falls — Pioneering social media blogger and straight-talking speaker

Don Tapscott — Wise observer of our world on digital. Futurist and author of  Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World

Jay Baer — Perhaps the foremost social media entrepreneur on the scene. His new book is about to be released — Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is about Help Not Hype

Mitch Joel — An important, prolific blogger/author/podcaster and a digital marketing visionary. His new book Ctrl Alt Delete is stunning.

I have no idea how many Twitter followers these people have. But they have all accomplished something.

I normally don’t make lists like this because I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings — there are dozens of other people who I could certainly shine a light on.  And I haven’t even included the many innovators toiling at major companies and brands who are too busy to worry about the size of their Twitter audience.

And if you ARE on the Forbes list?  Have some fun with it. Let your mom know about it. Put a badge on your website.  Just don’t take it too darn seriously, OK?

SXSW 2016 3Mark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

Illustration courtesy BigStock.com

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  • But the focus was more on social media marketing. Many people you list have more to do with other parts of business

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  • Thanks for highlighting the holes in the Forbes list. It just goes to show everyone that credibility goes way beyond a logo/list.

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  • If presence on my “favourites” list is a measure, you are overwhelmingly right.
    I am very familiar with many of those on your list, supruisingly few of those on the Forbes list.

  • Fiona Stewart

    Thanks for sharing the list. More than anything for me, this article highlights the importance of correctly measuring any marketing activity undertaken (in this case, the list) to ensure the data being used to make decisions is being interpreted correctly – a marketing fundamental! 😉

  • Great points… and a much better list at half the length! Frankly, I don’t know what to make of Forbes’ credibility in general these days. They have been very successful in leveraging a once-leading name in business news by (to paraphrase an article in The Guardian yesterday) “industrializing” the concept of native advertising (and by the way, can we just all switch to calling that “Disguised Advertorials”?). The Top 50 List seems to me just another bit of questionable Forbes content.

  • Does “quality and size of the Twitter audience that has been “pulled” into following an account or mentioning a keyword @name, hashtag, or URL on Twitter.” mean that if you’re mentioned, you must be an influencer? And if you have a lot of ‘quality’ followers, you’re also an influencer?

    On the up side, I see a lot of familiar names on your list. Thanks for sharing!

  • I don’t know why you make that assumption Thomas. That was not part of his criteria, and in fact, there are people on his list who are not marketers. But thanks for the observation!

  • Thanks Mark!

    Your list is an amazing collection of movers and shakers in the social media space! Thank you for corralling this and for setting the record straight on the Forbes list!

  • None of them are on the Forbes list.

  • Forbes has ruined their brand. They have systematically blurred the line between editorial and advertising to the point that most people cannot tell what is what. Very disappointing.

  • WTF!!! Problem with list, even legit (we all make them) is that someone is always left off. Excellent additions Mark and I am sure you could expand to another 10 or 20 that are deserving. Great post bringing clarity.

  • Fantastic list Mark, could not agree more! Thanks for this!

  • Could not agree more. I am continually puzzled when reading their pieces on a lot of things.

  • I don’t think it is possible to separate social media from other marketing disciplines. It is a part of the whole. Evaluating the number of someone’s twitter followers is not a criteria to consider anyway.

  • It is perfectly fine to make a buck but i don;t think the way to do it is by tricking people.

  • Way to “bring the thunder” Mark! Totally on point.

  • Great post Mark! There were several on the Forbes list that I would never consider an influencer. His list was flawed and I will say WTF with you. You pointed out some great people who deserved to be on that list and wasn’t. You should put out a list – we know it would be more reputable and accurate.

  • The day I make that Forbes list, I will go out and literally jump a shark.

  • I believe he means he’s familiar with surprisingly few of those on the Forbes list (as opposed to those on your list).

  • Is there no such thing as journalistic integrity anymore? Thanks for helping us better understand that effing list, Mark.

  • Brooke Ballard

    When I read the Forbes list, I was wondering where about 10 or so names from your list were – and how on earth they weren’t mentioned. Thanks for the breakdown of how the “Forbes” list is actually created. We need more transparency about stuff like this!

  • Thanks for this {grow} list Mark. I believe I discovered most of these social media marketing brainiacs and mainiacs through the {grow} community already but now I will go back and double-check to make sure I follow them all. Never quit learning!

  • Hey Mark – as you’ve so clearly highlighted – there is no objective way to measure influence. Try as we might influence is relative, subjective and only meaningful as an opinion – so thanks for expressing yours so eloquently.

  • Matt Scherer

    WTF!!! I love the snarky tones of this blog. There are a lot of people who call themselves social media experts, but I can tell you that I know of three. You’re one of them……………..

  • Great list. But even better? Great blog post idea. Keep it up Mark.

  • I love your take on that BS influence list… It’s great for your business to be on it, but it’s by no means an accurate indication of your ability to move a crowd.

  • Social Media Examiner and John Jantsch are daily required reading at my startup.

  • Great list. But all lists — even this one — shouldn’t be taken too seriously. I admire you work, and I get what you’re preaching. They are fun to create, and they are a great way to give recognition to people, even build community and one’s own influence. Lists are good PR.

  • Awesome list, Mark. And in my humble opinion, it packs a bigger punch that Forbes’ list, even though it’s always interesting to discover new names, new influencers and people to follow on twitter or blogs.

  • mark – thanks for calling out shoddy science and poor journalism. our quest to enumerate, list, rank in social media (and anywhere) inevitably leads to elevation of some and exclusion of others – and we’re still left wondering what it means to us as individuals. i like your list of those lost off the so-called forbes list and yet even then, there are more people who influence in big and small ways that will never be on a list except our own.
    be well, jr

  • Amen!

  • Thanks for the support sir.

  • I try not to be snarky, which i associate with “mean.” The first post I wrote was snarky, which is why it never ran : )

  • Thanks. Honor to have you comment Jason.

  • Amen. Well said.

  • I ment Forbes list was only about Social Media. They have to teach about social media and are influencers in that community. The list hereexpands more on other channels of business

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  • trishnet

    Much better list Mark! Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks Mark. Somehow I missed the original list, but if I had seen it I’m sure I’d be wondering why some of these folks didn’t make it. Yours is a terrific list, and thanks again for your usual directness and honesty.

  • Firstly, I’m on the list (yeehawww) and I agree with the names listed here. I basically read books from almost all the authors listed above. Finishing Optimized shortly.

    There will NEVER be a complete list because there is no way to measure them. Algorithm will ever know who or what people achieve online or offline because its simply impossible.

    And no matter how many people you put on a list, there would still be many missed out and people that we don’t know that should be on the list. Every list will be based on relationships (or voted and picked to be included or consider)

    Heck most list online are biased because of relationships 🙂

  • Hey Mark

    I hope you’re ok with me on the Forbes list. 🙂

    I agree, Forbes isn’t what it used to be and the way they pulled the names. I also see some on the list are basically spammers.

    Many of the descriptions are awful. I know Jonathan, he’s a good friend of mine. He’s pretty influential in photography and Social Media. He’s huge on Instagram.

    Audi recently, flew him out to LeMans to photograph the race in Paris.

  • Thanks for the “insider” scoop Aaron!

  • Hey man. Certainly glad to see you on any list that makes you happy : )

    Thanks for the insight on Jonathan. I’m sure he’s a cool guy.

  • Calvin, your name is Mr.Influential in my book 🙂

  • ShellyKramer

    That just really makes me want you to be on that list. Dammit.

  • geofflivingston

    I’d pay money to see that.

  • I need to agree with you Mark. I wrote something very similar to your post with identical names in core that are missing from the Forbes List. No matter what anyone will say about Godin, Solis, Armano and some others, this are the people who in very core are the reason that we talk about so many subjects in today’s online world.
    My 2 cents.

  • geofflivingston

    Thanks, Mark. I do appreciate you thinking of me.

    I always have deep mixed emotions about these lists, whether I’m on them or not. For example, I was really happy to see some folks like Sean Gardener and Warren Whitlock, who usually don’t end up on the lists get much deserved, long overdue credit. Others felt robbed, for example, I thought Solis should be on it.

    There’s just a level of discomfort that comes with lists, which I am not sure is fair to the list maker, the listed or the unlisted. Someone always loses. Just keep doing great stuff, clean up the bad, and it all works out in the end.

  • krusecontrol

    Thank you so much Mark for pointing these facts out. I had the same thoughts the other day when I saw Mr. Schaugnessy’s list. The people on your list are, as you say, the truly great Social Media Influencers of the world. I can honestly say that while many on the Forbes list are my mentors too, the people on your list got me through some tough times in my career/business transition. Awesome post, my friend!

  • Thanks Geoff. Couldn’t agree more. Lists can be fun but at least let’s stay transparent about what it is and isn’t.

  • Lists always make me giggle. They are the best form of link bait out there and they always attract plenty of attention.

    Thanks for including me on this list. To be among some of my personal friends and people I respect means a lot.

    Hope our paths cross soon.

  • Guest

    Mark, this is one of the few times that I disagree with your perspective. I don’t think Forbes has ruined their brand. Many publishers are moving to a model that blurs the line between editorial and paid content in the name of money.

    What’s interesting to me is the customer (reader) is not revolting (with a few exceptions like the blowback on The Atlantic from running paid content from Scientology). Now, is this because the reader doesn’t care or hasn’t figured out he/she is being plied with paid content?

    If it’s the latter, we should see an outcry of disgust toward Forbes down the road. If not, then there appears to be a willing audience for the Forbes product.

  • How do we create Tom Webster meme that would get him on that list? Forbes or bust.

  • This is a great list, Mark, evident by the fact that I’ve heard of and/or met about 95% of the people on it. I looked at the Forbes list and recognized/heard of maybe 3 or 4 at most of the top ten, so I didn’t look any further.

    Who is that Joe Pulizzi guy?

  • Sorry. I made a mistake in handling the sign in to a post comment. The perspective above comes from Lou Hoffman

  • I agree with you and many of the names you list above should be on the list. However, we could find many lists we, those listed above and others are not listed on that should be. I think you know how I feel about lists as well as influence.

    Haydn did also make it clear the specific criteria he used, right or wrong. We can never truly measure influence and therefore there will also never be a perfect list of “influencers.” Lists are as good as the person making them and the data they are using.

    We are all influenced by different people organically. As an example I know most of the people on this list well. However, there are even a few I don’t know and have never read their content. So, does that make them non-influential? Of course not, they just don’t influence me, yet. 😉

    There is no perfect list and I don’t think it’s fair to criticize those who do show up on lists (not saying that you did in this post.) I show up on many lists I wish I could remove myself from.

    As you know the thing that bugs me more than anything are the folks who spam constantly, tweet 24 hours a day to game a Klout or other influencer score so they can make this list. We both know some of them are on this list and to that it is disappointing. However, we also can not change that behavior. They have to live with themselves daily & will know who they are when they read this post & others.

    I do my best to provide the highest value to my audience, clients, partners and friends. I focus on content, and building the highest quality following & communities that I can for myself and our clients. We focus on creating value within the community and for the community, not just for the person or business creating the community. I don’t do it for influence scores, influence lists or other self serving reasons. I do it because I like to help people, period. If I make a list, I make a list. Out of my control 😉

  • It’s the game of Othello. The board can flip at any time. In Chicago I was named best networker by Crains one year. I just got into my high school hall of fame. I also have landed big corporate deals involving social networking and, like many, published books on the subject. But what does it all mean and does it matter?

    To me what matters most is when I help young professionals get better starts in life by mentoring them, helping them avoid the many mistakes I made. It’s better to have this activity as the thing that matters most to me than fall victim to the up’s and down’s of the daily social media stars-of-the-minute list.

  • Great post Mark. You’ve done a great thing here. Wholeheartedly agree that Lee, Tom, Danny & Gini should not only make, but top such lists (when human insights are used as a measurement). But don’t tell Gini I said that. There’ll be no living with her!

  • Amen @melissagiovagnoli:disqus !

  • Thanks Calvin for the kind words. Yes I do agree quite a bit of spammers on the Forbes list. I really love the list posted here, I find a number of these individuals have inspired my work within social media and have directly impacted successful client work.

  • Thomas Wooldridge the Forbes list had nothing to do with teaching about social media or being an influencer in the social media education community. On the list were many, many people who have large twitter communities and are influential solely due to the quantity of followers and RTs/Shares. Following someone and RTing what they post isn’t a sign of influence. The Forbes author states that one of the factors has to do with being motivational. For that criteria he uses “… … inspirational messaging is becoming an essential part of being a social media leader.” this quote. So, by tweeting out hundreds of inspirational messages daily one could, seemingly, raise their influence. Tell that to Warren Buffet!

    Being influential in social media should, at minimum, look at multiple social media platforms. There are fantastic people who have dedicated followings on other networks that were not included. Furthermore, there are a host of people missing from this list who have very large twitter followings but concentrate their tweeting things other than “inspirational messaging”.

    The 50 people on the Forbes list are all well-deserving people. Many of them I’ve met and follow. But I think what Mark W. Schaefer was saying is that the Forbes list is not as objective, transparent, or scientific as it purports to be.

    Influence is measured in a multitude of ways. So when creating a list of “influencers” it’s important to strip out bias as much as possible or just own one’s own bias and say so.

  • Ross Quintana

    Great post and point Mark, funny I thought the same thing when I saw it was all based on this one system and I thought I would rank higher myself as my network is not as large as some, but it is all quality people so the ratios would be higher. Anytime we base a decision on a formula without thought the results will not be valuable. Data doesn’t tell the story.

  • I was on that other list but I must say that everyone on this list should have been on that list. It should have been 75 folks, at least.

  • Every time I try to write about such lists, I get yelled at for seeming sour. You did a swell job with this list. Most of the lists I’m on are undeserved (not just saying that). I’m a typist. I help people sometimes. I talk a lot. I’m fast (and fat).

    The only list I care about is the “things I hope I do before I’m dead” list and the “things to do when I’m the Walking Dead” list.

  • @businessesgrow:disqus thanks for tackling this list-creating by major publications that seem to be more link-bait than added-value. I’m on neither list, but have met (and follow) people on both lists and think many are deserving of being mentioned as social media influencers. But when talking about influence, the list of people is often very fluid depending on a host of different factors.

    Often there is such a low investment to click RT/Like/ThumbsUp that that alone should not be the measure of influence. We’ve seen celebrities with millions of followers fail to get their communities to act while everyday men and women are doing amazing things with small but very connected communities.

  • Thanks, Mark. Being someone on your list is a bigger and more important achievement to me ANY day of the week. The respect and admiration are mutual, and I thank you for including me.

  • ShellyKramer

    However it is, I am in, Mark. All in.

  • Herb Sawyer

    Created and shared a google+ circle with names from the list. But can’t find the circle link to share it here…find me on G+, can get it to you.

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  • include me!

  • I agree and disagree. It clearly states on the Forbes list on how they measured the score but also, can we really score someones influence. I love Seth Godin, read his blog everyday but he never uses social media. He’s influential online but if he was to make any social media list, he at least has to use the channels for 2 way communication.

  • Once again, Tim Sackett (@TimSackett) is left off the list…

  • Andrew Grill Great piece Mark. When you understand that the author gets paid on a “per click” basis by Forbes, you will see why he optimised his list. See my article http://lc.tl/faker some on this list are known fakers, so this year’s list does not ring true with me. More fact checking needed to confirm social proof!

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  • Thanks for including me in the list – honored and humbled to be mentioned. What I love about these lists is that there is always someone on there that I don’t know — so it’s a great opportunity to learn from the people you feel should be heard. Thanks for taking the time to pull it together!

  • Once again, Thor brings the Thunder 😉 Fantastic post Mark.

    BTW, I didn’t realize the methodology Forbes uses to generate their list. Thanks for enlightening me. More importantly, thanks for your alternative list. Your recommendations are much appreciated!

  • I bet Dale Carnegie and Dan Edelman are sharing a good cognac and chuckling wryly somewhere. Remember when influence was associated with usefulness and actually meant something?

    Thanks for the nod, Mark, very kind.

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  • Hey Mark
    Great to see some passionate clarity on influence. You wrote the book!
    I could almost hear the steam coming out of your ears and the gears grinding. 🙂
    I happened to be on the Forbes list which is kind of nice but I have to agree on your observations. Any list needs to be taken with a deep breath, a grain of salt and a reality check on the metrics that substantiate the rankings.
    Twitter doesn’t define influence and neither does “Peek” or “Haydn”
    Great to see you shouting out some “movers and shakers” that are making a difference every day.

  • Did not realize this Andrew. That’s pretty significant.

  • Good point. He has been kicked off the list : )

  • A great point. I explore that concept of low involvement quite a bit in Return On Influence.

  • That is really need that you plan to be part of the Walking Dead. Good thing I have that zombie finder app on my phone.

  • Great comment Sara and thanks!

  • I really like the fact that you called out the Forbes list as being the ” singular creation of Mr. Shaughnessy ” – That is what most lists are. The criteria and methodology are shady at best and reflect personal preferences or interactions. It also notes how lazy the author is because he/she never bothered venturing out of their network.

    I agree with the names on your own list and think more people are doing stuff that are worth talking about. Unless there is a governing body like the Guide Michelin (and by the way, heard that Japanese restaurateurs don’t care about being listed on it) giving out stars, then lists stay a personal outlook on the social media space.

  • Allow me to begin by disclosing that for the last two years I have appeared on “Shaughnessy’s List of Influencers” – and that through the alchemy of marketing I have somewho managed to tout it as the “Forbes List…”

    Now, let me also confess that TIME magazine never actually called me a “man of action”, though a TIME magazine writer in a TIME magazine article did. Ditto NY Times and “national hero”.

    Anyone who know me knows that I am both a friend and fan of Mark’s. Even where we might disagree, I somehow, paradoxically, still find myself in his corner. And, Mark has certainly put together a fine list of influencers and raised some fair points.

    In the end…I will certainly redouble my efforts to try my best to be worthy of a spot on his list next year — whatever you might care to call it! 🙂

  • you hit on the only reason I use these lists. Source of ideas for networking. Being on the list makes me suspicious (ala the Groucho quote) but does give me a kick in the butt to check who I need to add to my own network.

  • clearly link bait. But a nicer way to say it is “attempting to be social”

  • thanks Geoff. I’m influential in that I can get you to notice me occasionally. You rock

  • Since I’m already on record as not wanting to be part of any group that would have me, I was surprise to see the link bait headline on this and find my name in the top 10.

    It’s great to talk about influence and learn what make it work but it’s not so easy to measure (I say this while looking at the cover of your book.. YIKES). Unfortunately it makes for great link bait and is way overused.

    After I laughed and got back to my ego, I decided to try to figure out how I got on this list. As best as I can decipher, the tool he used measures how many engagements a person has. “AHA” I says.. I don’t have the biggest following. I’ve never work for an agency or been the keynote at anything with “social” in the title. but I do rank extremely high on “number of people actually talked to one-on-one on Twitter”

    Some would say this is a questionable talent (the loudest is married to me). While I’ve not yet seen an algorithm that takes this on, I know that I have many thousands of conversations with whoever directs a public tweet to me. Yes, I’m the teenage girl of Tweets.

    Assuming I haven’t totally misread what Shaughnessy and Peek said, it boils down to methodology. Shaughnessy has the Forbes logo and that apparently still pulls enough weight to get me called by the local reporter wanting to know if I had a comment on the mess in Boston. I’m hoping it’s more than that. My ego can always use such boosts.

    So, do we trust Shaughnessy or Shaefer? DUH.. I’ll go with the guy who says there is an ROI on influence. I see that every day.. (I just don’t rank people)

    Speaking of ego. Just after seeing the list, I looked a alpha test “SM grading system” that gave me mostly A+’s.. except on Twitter, where I got a B-. Clicking through to the docs, I was told that I need to “have more favorite tweets” Huh?

    Of course these people on your list are highly influential, but as you stated, the list was not really “who has the most influence” contest. Shaughnessy follows up in his methodology by stating “real people not bots” .. as if anyone not talking to kids in Kenya and the student studying Japanese is follow by bots.. They just have more sense than me.

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  • First, to be clear, I only highlighted people NOT on the Forbes list to make a point. Certainly you would be on my list of influencers : )

    You make a good point around authorship, a nuanced point. If a reporter calls you out in an article, he or she is a representative of the journal. Point taken. But I doubt “TIME Person of the Year” is selected by one person. I’m not saying this is apples-to-apples, but somewhere between that important selection and a routine news article resides the Shaughnessy List. Should a freelance writer getting paid by the click (reported by Andrew Grill but not confirmed) have the weight of the publication’s brand behind the list? Thanks for bringing up this point Glen.

  • To be clear, on the Peek website, it specifically says that the “Pull” measure used as the basis of this list does not consider engagement. It is only a reflection of the perceived influence of the people who follow you on Twitter. Presumably, you could never even tweet with these people and still be on the Forbes influencer list. Just does not make sense.

    That is not to say you are not an influencer sir. You are in my book! : ) Thank you very much for commenting.

  • Mark, I’m just back from vacation and saw this sitting in my alerts and it made me a litte teary. Thank you! I know there’s lots of debate about lists, but I thought you did a very fine job here.

  • Actually, I like being on lists created by people who actually know my work. I think that is a nice tip of the hat. Of course it is arbitrary, as my list is, but it means a lot to me to be recognized by peers who I admire and who actually have some insight into what is going on in the business Thanks for the great comment Karima-Catherine!.

  • Excellent point. Honored to have you comment Charlene!

  • I really appreciate the wisdom and centeredness of this comment Melissa. It is so easy to lose sight of that on the web.

  • I agree with your comment but disagree that Haydn was clear on the criteria. I had to dig to figure it out. The criteria are available, but not explained. Calling the list “social media” is inaccurate, calling the list “influencer” is inaccurate (even Peek Analytics says that). Thanks for the very thorough observation!

  • Thanks for the dissent Lou. Appreciate that very much. I don;t know if there is a willing audience or an uninformed audience, or simply an audience that is too busy to care. For example, there is no clear disclosure on the paid content that it is indeed paid content. You have to realize you are in a different “paid” section of the publication. If you stumbled on to the post via search, how would you know that a company has paid money to post that article as content in the editorial section of the site?

    To me, this crosses a line. It is OK to have sponsored content but it better be very clear that it is sponsored content. Otherwise we are heading into a world where we will be getting our news as interpreted by big companies and special interest groups.

  • Great list Mark!

    The Forbes list has a flaw in witch it’s only calculated by one score, and only one author puts the list together. It’s a list of “his” influencers, based on a metric that “he” likes. A much more powerful list would be if Forbes would ask for submissions of who is most influential, review, vote, have a judging panel, and dig deeper into why these people are influential.

    You’ve named many thought-leaders whom I agree with you, would be in my list of influencers. Jure Klepic gave his list as well, which many of the names I would agree with (there’s a lot of cross-over between your lists). Forbes’ list, I only agree with a select few names – but that’s who’s influential to “me”. My list of influencers would definitely be different than yours, or Jure’s, or anyone else out there. And I think the reason why, is that influence happens at the consumer/individual level, and not the “influencer” level. The reason why I’m saying this, is because every time someone is labeled as an “influencer,” there’s a group of people that agree, and there’s a group of people that disagree. There are great thought-leaders out there that have 0 influence on my actions, as I’m not interested in them. But to the next person, they might be the most influential person in the world. It’s really not a black and white subject, haha 🙂

    Again, great list! I agree with most of the names you mentioned – the others, I haven’t heard of yet, so I’ll have to check them out 🙂

  • Thanks for the compliment. I respect that above any list.

    I read the “pull” definition as “not influence” rather than “not engaged” and assumed that pull was the opposite of push. (silly me, using the dictionary). I admit that my comment above has some wishful thinking. I have been saying:

    1) The most important number on Twitter is ONE.. the one person I’m talking to at the moment

    2) I’d drop the “follow counts” from the page (like LinkedIn) and replace them with “number of conversations” and “people helped”

    As for Peek, I’ve just went back, determined to find out more about “pull” and wound up on the “people” page. Searched for myself and see that I’m 106 years old and I can buy a public records search. I’m not going to pursue that any further.

    I think the quotes I share might be a better trigger for getting a higher score. I don’t do the standard “inspirational” list of quotes, but I do share those I read and have tested for what gets people talking.

    Some of the best discussion come from engaging the people who use a “I agree.. but” format. I call them on their crap or probe for what keeps them from being fully positive and we learn from the process.

    Does this have any value for me as a brand? Sort of. Its really me, engaging with real humans. However, it doesn’t sell any soap.

    What it does do is raise my scores. Not the discussions.. the quotes themselves.. mindlessly retweeted by dozens if it’s from Einstein or Jobs. That certainly is a score factor that bothers me.

    Thanks for the feedback and the post. I’ve read all the comments and made several notes. As always, you are making me think.. in my book, that’s how to measure the value of a relationship!

  • Most of these 25 people you listed are actually in the top-100, but Forbes decided to limit it to the top-50. Nearly 1000 people were nominated. Perhaps we should open up the entire list.

  • I was definitely pushing for a top-100 — there are incredible people all the way through that deserve the recognition.

  • With all due respect, what makes your list any different Mark? I know most of those people (hat tip to Amber for name dropping) and am familiar with every one of them. They are all certainly social media influencers who have achieved success, shared some brilliant insights and proven themselves as thought leaders in social media.

    But there something else, they are all in a pretty tight circle which includes you. That’s not a bad thing, I am just pointing out that your list isn’t very diverse in the world of social media.

    For example, I don’t see anyone like Jenny the Bloggess, Rhee Drummond aka Pioneer Woman, Kelby Carr from Type A Parent, or how about Jory, Elisa and Lisa the founders of BlogHer?

    How about Tim Street, Cliff Ravenscraft, Adam Corolla (Yes that Adam corolla the biggest podcast in the world), Aisha Tyler, Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo from One Extraordinary Marriage, Leo Laporte for godsake! The man has inspired hundreds of thousands of podcasters.

    Cali Lewis, Jace Hall, Chad Vader, Chris Hardwick from Nerdist, Techcrunch? GigaOm? Copyblogger, Darren Rowse from ProBlogger, Johnny Jett, Gary Arndt, Deadspin, Nate Silver from 538, Powerline, and Daily Kos? Impacting presidential elections is pretty influential.

    I could go on and on and on and this list would be no where near complete.

    The larger point is any list like this including yours is entirely subjective, one persons opinion and usually very narrowly focused. If you are looking for influence in the parenting space talk to some of the ladies I mentioned above and hundreds of others, if its tech, then there are hundreds more, travel, sports etc name a sector and the influencers change.

    If you are looking for people in social media talking about social media your list is great but far from complete. You could add and arguably should add Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan and a hundred more to your list. You have the draw the line somewhere. Haydn writes great link bait and you did too with this post. Pot meet kettle. I just thought it would be fun to join the fray. You can call me the skillet 8).

  • Bellagio Fountain This January Tom jumps the shark for our closing keynote!

  • dont be sour chris 8)

  • Thanks for sharing your post Andrew. That is a great post!

  • Glad you liked it. I know some people won’t like it 😉
    In fact just noticed it is the only comment here that has been voted down.

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  • There is no such thing as a perfect methodology for creating a list like this, but that doesn’t make it useless, either. At minimum, I’m glad to see that people’s passions are stirred and we’re recognizing people who deserve it. For PeekAnalytics, such lists are a good way to show the industry what it is we do and we’re always happy to participate.

    Let me attempt to defend the methodology a bit.

    1) PeekAnalytics measures Twitter audiences – but the data we analyze is much more than just Twitter data in a silo. PeekAnalytics marries Twitter data to public info from up to 60 other social sites and every major blog platform, as well as offline public records data. No other social listening or analytics tool offers the rich demographic data we offer (age, locations, interests, industries, incomes, education levels, social media usage on other popular sites, Pull and social connectedness).

    2) PeekAnalytics sets aside spam, private, and anonymous accounts – and is focused on identifying and analyzing the real people in any social audience. One of the key insights we have is that real people who are on Twitter can be found elsewhere on the Web or at least matched to offline data. PeekAnalytics was behind stories such as Newt Gingrich’s army of fake Twitter accounts – we showed that he had just about the same amount of Pull as his fellow Republican primary competitors, despite having 10x as many followers as any of them.

    3) Pull is a measure of the quality of an audience, relative to the average Twitter user. 100x means 100 time greater than the average Twitter user. 200x is twice as good as 100x. The number can theoretically scale to infinity. This metric is calculated by analyzing at the makeup of your Twitter audience two degrees away from you (your follower’s followers) – setting aside the spam and anonymous accounts (making it quite hard to game). Of course, this number doesn’t reflect which specific interest groups a person reaches. You have to look further down the report to see that info.

    4) Because PeekAnalytics analyzes audience interests and industries, we checked the top-50 to make sure that not only did they have a lot of Pull, but had Pull within the right audience sub-groups (namely people in marketing/pr and the Internet industries).

    5) Other companies in the influence space are measuring a user’s ability to drive engagement. PeekAnalytics is measuring audience demographics and audience quality. Together, they give you a pretty solid picture – though you’ll notice that audience quality (Pull) correlates quite well with the engagement scores out there (Klout/Kred/PeerIndex etc).

    As many have noted in the comments, this is just a list. I’m sure we missed some people, though over 800 were nominated and analyzed. Curiously, everyone who was listed in Mark’s article was nominated and most of them are in the top-100. PeekAnalytics has come a long way since we launched it last year and as the offering continues to improve, so too will our methodologies.

    Thanks much to Mark for writing this thoughtful blog post and I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

    -Michael Hussey

  • The other day, a got a note from somebody that said “I just got a big raise and a promotion at work because of the success I am having with social media for our company. I wanted to let you know that you get the credit for this because I am learning how to do this from your blog and your books.”

    I had an impact. I am an influencer. That keeps me coming back another day! : )

    Thanks Warren!

  • Great list! You get points for including my friend Marcus Sheridan He is awesome (along with many other folks on the list).

  • In all due respect (back) I wonder if you read the post?

    I created the list to make a point, not to create an authoritative list. Of course it is subjective.

    I did not include Chris Brogan (and many other great leaders in the field) because he is already on the Forbes list. I stated that clearly in the post.

    I knew I took a risk writing this post, figuring that somebody would not see the over-arching point and, predictably, claim this was link bait. For anyone who knows me and knows my work, I think they would dismiss that idea pretty quickly. I focus on issues and start conversations.

    The number of social shares and comments I received on this post were not unusual. A post I wrote recently about my grandfather got more shares and comments. Not all conversational content is link bait Rick.

  • I really appreciate you adding your voice to the discussion Michael. I’m not sure the deeper explanation really reveals anything that changes the point, though.

    It’s not really about the tool. It’s about how it is used. Something like Klout, or even Facebook, is the same way. It is what it is. It does some things. It doesn’t do other things. It’s a tool or platform. The strange things happen when those tools start to be used in ways that draw inappropirate conclusions.

    You have some awesome capabilities. Does analyzing a Twitter audience indicate that the person is changing behavior or attitude? No. That’s what influence is about.

    Keep up the good work and many thanks for the very useful explanation.

  • I would be interested to know if there is any commercial relationship between your company and the author of the article or between your company and Forbes? I have been curious about this and since you’re here, why not ask? Thanks!

  • I did read the post Mark. What is the point?

    Your list is different than theirs. Yours is subjective as well. How is what you did any different that What Haydn did?

    What risk?

  • We can hold hands and jump 🙂 Mark, thanks for including me. These lists tend to make me go, “meh,” but when you say it… I pay attention 🙂

  • I don’t think the post was obtuse or complex. I regret that the post was unclear to you but I’m not going to take time to re-explain the point of what I have already written, especially when the purpose of the article seems to be accessible to many other people.

  • I enjoy your writing, insights, and books. My social media marketing students at the University of Northern Colorado enjoy seeing your list and even the Forbes list of social media experts to follow and learn from on Twitter.

    The problem is that when my students follow these experts, very few will follow back. As a result of following all these experts, they quickly display an off balance follower to following ratio which is not favorable for social proofing.

    I recommend my students to add these experts to a list so they can regularly retweet and engage them, but only formally follow a few at a time to keep this ratio in balance. What do you recommend?

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  • Nice list! Definitely have interacted with a few names on there. Does that make me an influencer by association?? 😉

  • I love that you made this list! I recently found a list of top 100 global social media influencers, and many from your list were on the top 100 but not on Forbes’. I look forward to exploring your 25 that Forbes missed!

  • Sigh.. this is the 2nd ‘right back at you, Forbes’ post I’ve read, still hadn’t had a chance to check out their list. (Ok, that’s done. Lots of recognizable names but .. no I’ll get to that in a minute.) As I commented on the other, lists are what they are and have their purpose – but they’ll never be ‘end all be all.’ Milage will always vary per methodologies, analytics, zodiac signs, BMI, perspectives.

    Yours is a good one – I know these name, respect your choices. It’s just as we toss around terms like ‘social’ and ‘influence’ and Twitter scores and stuff.. I know a few of these peeps may move content as you like to say, but barely ‘use’ Twitter, FB, social to do more than syndicate feeds and reply once in a while.

    I get the point Mark. Yours or theirs, it’s just one person’s list so don’t take it too seriously and more importantly, look closer at the methods and motivations behind the madness. Critical thinking FTW!

    My big thing – as others have dropped names, some I know, others I don’t, ‘influential’ in other arenas – it’s so inside baseball. Are we talking those who influence VIA social media, are influenced by SM or who influence SM itself? Anyone out there changing the ways we live, changing the way we work by changing how we tweet, blog, connect? IDK. I guess.. when I hear F&F drop one of these names as why they booked that hotel or donated to that cause, then I’ll consider it influence beyond the cabal of ‘social.’ FWIW.

  • I think this blog post will help answer your student’s questions: https://www.businessesgrow.com/2011/03/27/why-are-the-social-media-elite-ignoring-us/. If you have any more questions,
    Let me know Denny.

  • My intent is not to set up a “competing list.” It is not a matter or mine versus theirs. My intent was to encourage folks to think critically before swallowing “social proof” whole. I hope by showing a few people who were NOT on the list that I might increase awareness of the flawed thinking behind this high-profile list. It is a list rating an audience, not a person, for Pete’s sakes. Just trying to keep it real around these parts. : )

  • I understand now Mark. You are brilliant and beyond question. Anyone who does is obtuse and Forbes is “simply the pot that is carrying the piss”.

    Thanks for the great conversation. I was certainly stimulated.

  • Mark

    Excellent! Thanks. I appreciate that you do follow me and many of those with similar interests in social media that are not yet in the influencer elite.


  • Rick, if you sincerely do not understand this post I’m sorry if I came across as abrupt. If you would like to take the conversation offline, I would be happy to spend as much time with you as you need to understand the point of the post. My phone number can be found here: https://www.businessesgrow.com/contact/

  • Haydn Shaughnessy

    Hi Mark – where to begin. Best by ignoring the ad hominem
    attack (always easy to do) and going straight to the issues (needs a bit of

    First, the list is not a Forbes list, as I made clear when we asked for
    nominations and as I made clear last year – that didn’t stop people from
    labeling it as such but not much can do about that. A question – did you refer
    to it as a Forbes list when you were on it?

    Second, on the issue of influence. It is easy to pull a list out of your head.
    One part of the social media world is almost a closed circle to people outside
    of it. It would almost predictably self-select, I believe. I don’t set out each
    year to recreate the implicit hierarchy of that community. In fact I try hard
    not to because I don’t know what value it would have to do so.

    What the Peek Analytics data gives me is a metric, one that you are free to
    criticise, though I wish the debate could be slightly more elevated than using
    toilet references. That’s what kids do right?

    The Peek Analytics score is composed of follower activity across 60 social networks – seems to
    me that’s the best metric I can get hold of, though it is not perfect.

    One objective with the list is to create
    multi-year data on how people’s networks evolve – we know this year for example
    quite a lot about the gender of followers, as well as age and geographical

    I hope over a five year period that will tell us a lot about how social media
    networks evolve – it’s a little bit of social science, with all the limitations
    of the discipline thrown in. That’s my training, by the way.

    For this list people who are not part of the community of
    social media influencers who know each other and self-refer, are sought out. We
    researched 865 people.

    Someone in Warrington England who you have never heard of,
    stands a chance of making this list – because they influence 100,000 people,
    maybe teenagers, maybe seniors, in Poole, Portland and Portsmouth.

    They are not being called out necessarily because they influence
    IBM or GE but because they are part of this extraordinary new phenomenon where
    people can suddenly make a boundary-free business out of their own knowledge
    base and personality and through their ability to connect.

    They are the result of a democratized form of communications
    – if there is something suspicious in this field it would be an unwillingness
    to acknowledge or celebrate that.

    The egalitarian aspects of the form of communications are
    the phenomenon I want to study.

    Finally should I respond to the few lines where you want to
    diminish me? That’s one of those issues I slept on and decided it’s not worth
    it. But I am happy to discuss the rest.

  • Most names on the list are outside my network. The analysis meant locating and assessing over 800 profiles.

  • There’s a lot more to it than that – one criterion for inclusion was creating original content but see my response to Mark for a more detailed explanation

  • How do you justify those remarks jr ?

  • the list wasn’t “optimized”

  • Haydn, so I will concede that point.

    Do I take it from your reply then that you do receive compensation for the traffic to your posts and this one? Is this clearly disclosed?

    A list like this will drive a ton of traffic, irrespective of the methodology used.

    If you still prepare a list in 2014, I would suggest doing some background checks on the people going onto the list prior to publishing.

    As the 100+ comments have shown here, the consensus is that your list does not mirror reality.

  • Mark, sadly this is the case. Unfortunately # of twitter followers is a bad proxy for social proof.

    Last year, my hometown of Adelaide’s only newspaper published an article on “the top tweeters” based on the number of tweets??? see http://lc.tl/twits

    I think between the two of us if we start now we can educate the whole world about # followers and #likes being a dumb metric and change opinions and finish this by 2093?

  • Thanks for conceding. Yes, Forbes pays based partly on traffic. Do you think writers need to disclose their income sources every time they post an article? My word that would be a sorry world.

    In an article like this the fee nowhere near covers the time I put into it, but why am I allowing myself to be drawn into your insinuations? There are people who take objectivity seriously and I try to be one of them.

    The list does not have to mirror your reality or those in these comments – in fact one of the reasons to use an objective metric is to challenge subjective assumptions. It has done that quite well.

  • Not insinuating anything. Here you have been transparent, and I commend you for that.

    The “elephant in the room” is that there are people on your list that pretty much everyone knows that they game the system. They are the “fakers” that I referred to in my post.

    Those that fall into this category reading this will be pleased they made your list while “getting away with it”.

    What no-one is saying is that the list is called into question because those people are there by deceptive means.

    Perhaps you know who I am talking about, perhaps you don’t. More transparency is required online, but at the moment people can still “fake it until they make it”.

  • Thanks for responding.
    I don’t think anything you say here negates the criticisms in my post with the possible exception of the claim that Peek Analytics examines follower activity across 60 networks. That is not what is explained about how “Pull” is calculated on the company’s website so I’m not sure how that resolves.

    I think the thing that disappoints me most about the social media space is the lack of critical thinking and the loose use of metrics and analysis which is why I responded so strongly to your post. I don’t understand how you can connect the word “influence” with a metric that is disassociated from an individual’s work and the impact of that work on an audience. Your metric shows a person has assembled a powerful audience — which is interesting — but is that really the key characteristic that would define a “Top Social Media Influencer?” I don’t think you would disagree with me that the answer is “no.” So, why publish such a list?

    Perhaps more than anybody in the business, I’m aware of the challenges around measuring “influence.” But the list you have assembled takes us a step backward by celebrating a metric that is not even loosely associated with personal power.

    To answer your question, yes I have referenced the Forbes list in PR materials. My employer promoted the fact that several faculty members were on this list and I did not resist the promotional effort.

    Finally, I apologize if you took the tone as attacking. That is not my style and maybe this just hit a hot button with me. The field of online influence is something I have studied intensively for some time now. If a personal discussion can help us get to know each other better and better explain positions, I would welcome that opportunity.

    Thanks very much for taking the time to respond!

  • Of course not.

  • Good god, are we not done with this crap yet? Go stare at yourself in the mirror for a while.

  • stranger things have happened, especially at Forbes : )

  • That would be an aggressive time schedule : )

  • Mark — it can’t be a coincidence that the “Thousands Under 90” was introduced this week: http://thousandsunder90.com/ (it seems as though the social media industry isn’t the only one with suspect lists & awards). Instant validation!

    P.S. This probably isn’t fair but the more I see an online “personality” promote that they’re a Forbes Top Whatever Influencer across all of their sites (not just the site badge but in all their bios, marketing materials, email newsletters, etc.), the less I tend to trust the validity of the list (and the person).

  • Lists… I stumbled upon this post when commenting on the “Why Europe lags behind” post, Mark. Maybe that’s the problem: we should start a social media influencer Europe Forbes list and then everything is solved. Just kidding.

  • Glad someone spoke 🙂 These lists are like those awards that are based on backstage parameters. Anyway someone spoke and I am glad that you did @businessesgrow:disqus
    I think that the whole influencer thing is blown out of proportion even in my country too. For me I am happy if someone helps or adds value when he is sharing something. Doesn’t matter how many Twitter followers he has.
    By the way you have listed some cool people whom I might follow 🙂

  • Happy to talk more. On this: “I don’t think you would disagree with me that the answer is “no.” So, why publish such a list?” – I do disagree with you but why try to put words into my mouth? The fact is I have a very different view of influence and I question the validity of this small community that self-styles itself as influencers or leaders. I think that was valid three years ago but now there are practitioners all over the world in this highly democratized form of communications. A more valid criticism would be – where are the French, German, Brazilian names etc…

    I am happy to work with you on a list for next year that embraces that wider community and introduces more subjective elements – the metric is wonderfully objective and it needs some careful thinking about how to introduce qualitative judgments without bias.

    My email address is my full name at gmail .com. I am happy to talk about it more.

  • Great list! And very insightful comments – more important than a list are the people you discover through other influencers you’ve never met that inspire offline conversations. The most inspiring, insightful conversations I’ve had include “the many innovators toiling at major companies and brands who are too busy to worry about the size of their Twitter audience” . These are influencers don’t live in theory, but are rolling up their sleeves every day, not to build their individual brand but to change the face of how people inside big brands communicate with the people they do and should care about. If you ever decide to build that’ list’, let me know; this is an amazing crowd that often can’t share all of their opinions publicly. Thanks for being one of the few to shine a light on them!

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  • Excellent point Abby. I am lucky enough to know many on both lists as well as those “rolling up their sleeves” at big companies…and can count many as friends. What I’ve learned from those disparate and sometimes overlapping groups is that lists don’t matter. What does are the insights you learn from the true thought leaders and connections that one builds through real interactions from those that can help you solve your real business challenges….and none of that fits neatly into any list.

  • Actually, I think tat is a great idea. Do it. : )

  • It feels too unnatural 😉 Enjoy the weekend

  • You may enjoy reading my book. in it, you would see that I have been a passionate and (characterized by the American Library Association review) a “path finding” advocate of the democratization of influence. So you dont have to convince me of the new power on the web.

    But you do have to convince me that examining the characteristics of an audience has any correlation with an individual’s ability to influence attitudes and behaviors, even in a weak way.

    I do not disagree that your measure is somewhat objective (the population is limited by nominations) but since the measure is disassociated from any sort of individual activity, accomplishment, and impact, you might as well sort by shoe size. Where is the demonstration of personal power?

  • Dude, you are PHAT

  • Great article, Mark. I haven’t appeared on any of these lists. And honestly, I don’t think I deserve to. I like writing about stuff and helping people. Now, if they ever do a list for most prolific novelty iphone app, I would expect to be on the list.

    But this “social media expert” label? Ugh. I hate having to use it, but it’s what people search for.

    So great to see so many smart people doing cool things here!

  • Honored to have you stop by Mr. Social Media Expert : )

  • chris_rainey

    Great list Mark – thanks for putting it together and sharing. I had heard of about half of these and am glad to now start to get to know the other half.

  • I have always wanted to be in the list, and your almost close to get me.

  • Mark, what I admire about you and your insight the most is that you’re so good at at telling us when the “Emperor has no clothes.” I am SO glad you made this list. It confirms that I follow and read the books of some of the greatest minds who are active in social media and who share their thoughts and insights with us. Though I understand what you’re saying about lists, I would still love to see who your top 25 women in social media are because women (generally speaking) have unique challenges. I greatly admire you and would love to see more than four women on your top 25. But, again, all lists should be taken “with a grain of salt.” Again, thank you for another greatly insightful post.

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  • Thanks for your comment Lori. Just look at any social media conference line-up or list of book authors on the topic. There is a lack of leading women in this space and I don’t know why. I wrote about that awhile ago and it is probably time to re-vist the topic on the blog some time soon. Here is what I wrote: https://www.businessesgrow.com/2009/12/16/is-blogging-a-mans-job/

    The comment section on the post I reference offers some clues, but none that really convince me. Who are the women social media thought leaders you admire that you would add to this list?

  • Most of social media feel unnatural : )

  • It’s funny. I clicked on a link today — the headline seemed interesting. As soon as I saw that it was posted on Forbes I stopped short. What was I really reading? Was it sponsored? Was it an ad in disguise? I really think they have ruined their brand. Thanks Sarah!

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  • hullsean

    “…even though the magazine is simply the pot carrying the piss.” I guess you don’t like Forbes or Shaughnessy! Yeah I hear you loud and clear, these mainstream mag lists of influencers are always pretty silly, and only seem to attract the broadest audience that doesn’t really follow a particular industry.

    I do like your list. I know of many of them, but Lee Odden & Jay Baer are new to me.

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  • Absolutely agree!

  • Excellent list Mark!

  • You said it 😉

  • better late than never, Thanks for your reply. I guess the positive about these types of post is that now you have encountered more people for your next article.

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  • Good point maybe I am biased because I have actually taken the time to understand Haydn’s methodology and the Peek platform. I was on his list two years in a row and was curious as to the algorithm so I did research. I guess his post was clear to me but could be because I understood it prior. I see your point where it may not be as clear to others.

    I like others don’t see how the list you write above is any different than that of this list or @jkcallas:disqus ‘s. They are still lists, subjective and biased, no way around it. No matter what tools exist we can not and will not ever be able to fully measure influence. Will we get closer, of course. But can we ever put a finger on it or a list that everyone will agree with? I vote no because it is subjective, period.

    My question is could anyone create an “influencer” or “social media” list that is 100% accurate? I don’t think it’s possible as it’s all subjective.

  • Great article Mark! I And you are right with your list above, everyone of them should be on the top social media influencers list!

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  • Thank you for bringing our attention to all these folk Mark. This “influence measurement” thing had its day about a year ago but now I think (hope) we realise that it is pretty subjective. As you say it sure does not relate to how many Twitter followers you have accumulated.

    A lot of the people listed by Forbes have a lot of Twitter “followers” but when they post on Facebook they barely get any reaction. Some of them are not even on many Twitter lists for example. Twitter followers are not so hard to get as you know.
    I have heard the name Forbes but it now is a slightly sullied brand for me

  • You are funny Warren. Great comments

  • you are on the top of my Funniest People List

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  • Anna Pham

    Thanks Mark, I know u have put effort and time into creating this list, some people sound really interesting.

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  • aboer

    I am coming to the conclusion I need to read you much more regularly.

  • I concur. : )

  • ehteshamss

    So boring I feel like sleeping.. 🙂

  • ehteshamss

    So maybe that’s why I am feeling sleepy

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  • Hello,

    I think the Twitter link:

    Should actually be:

  • Thank you I will make that change.

  • Zara Whitaker

    Amazing stuff of the blogs!! That has amazed mebubblegum
    casting reviews

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