Are You Restricting Your Influence?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Aug 19, 2010
I know you didn’t think I was done talking about influence, did you?
Last week, Kristi retweeted an article someone else put together titled The 100 Most Powerful Women On Twitter. It was an interesting list for two reasons. One, I knew very few of the names on the list. Two, it was amazing seeing the high number of followers some of those people had that weren’t celebrities. The woman at #1 is super young, though super cute I must admit, and a singer whose music I’d never heard.
The list was compiled using Twitter Grader, which I’d written about back in September 2008. I hadn’t been to that site for awhile, so I decided to go over and check my rating. Out of 100, it says my rating is 99.3; I love that figure, and I decided to pop the badge onto the blog, which you can see there to the right just above the bird. However, it also said that out of around 7.6 million people, I rank around 49,500.
I thought about it a little bit, and then I realized that I have gone to some lengths to limit my opportunities for growth without realizing it. And I don’t just mean Twitter. But let’s start with Twitter.
I’m very strict with who I follow on Twitter. I’ve talked about some people who are twitter selfish, which irks the heck out of me. I’ve talked about people who only work on grabbing more twitter followers as if it’s only supposed to be a number’s game. And I talked about why I don’t follow some twitter folks. And I asked if people were being social with social media.
But I also talked about having a twitter marketing plan. One thing I never talked about in that post was how you might have to lower your standards a little bit to gain more followers without compromising all of your standards. For instance, something I could do is to start following more people with bonafides that aren’t quite as social as I like people to be because many of those folks retweet stuff they see, and maybe those folks would see some things I write and retweet them to their audiences. That would alter one of my standards, but it would be better than my going out and just following everyone I see, hoping they’ll follow me.
That sounds like an odd strategy, but I know it’s a working strategy a lot of people have, following someone with a lot of followers to hopefully get into their stream of consciousness. Frankly that seems like pandering to me, but people have done much worse to get noticed.
Then I thought about Facebook. With all the changes they’ve made, and my deciding I wanted to protect more of my privacy, I have my account set up so that if you’re not connected to someone who I’m connected with you can’t find me on Facebook. I don’t know too many people who’ve done that. Somehow, I still have almost 475 friends, but I don’t get those random former friends from my past finding me anymore; I’m not sure that’s a good thing, but I’m also not sure it’s a bad thing. Sure, there are some people who have more than 5,000 friends (it seems Facebook is always changing its rules on how many “friends” one is allowed to have), and I have a feeling I could have way more friends, but at what cost to some of my privacy, though we’ve talked here about there really being no privacy anymore?
Can you have influence online if you’re not Seth Godin and don’t make yourself more accessible? I think you can, but it takes a bit more work in other ways. You have to reach out to people you know in different ways. You have to find a way to have people thinking of you as an authority in some fashion. And you have to be as engaging as you can be and be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they come your way.
Hey, no one ever said working on being influential was easy!