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Are You Restricting Your Influence?

Posted by on Aug 19, 2010

I know you didn’t think I was done talking about influence, did you?


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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!

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13 Comments »

Rose:

I know the 7th woman on the list. Great lady she is.

I took part in blogchat the other day & found I gained a lot of followers from it.

August 19th, 2010 | 11:21 PM
Mitch:

I’m following her as well, Rose, though I had to confirm it. lol

August 20th, 2010 | 2:32 AM

What you say about Twitter methods has a low overhead so should not you in terms of time and effort. Therefore having a large following in Twitter shouldn’t be an issue.

I got rid of my old Twitter account though cos it got hacked so I only have some 50 odd followers now.

As for spreading your imflence, that is hard. I believe in the popular online niches you have to do that bit extra to stand out from the crowd – I guess its like any profession that has several people with the same aspirations, only a percentage will ‘break through’

Thats as much as I can add today – Im trying to get there myself

August 20th, 2010 | 2:43 AM
Mitch:

Maybe we’ll get there together, Peter. 🙂 How the heck did you get your account hacked?

And it’s a strange thing about numbers on Twitter. It seems that the bigger separation there is between people following you and people you’re following, the higher you’re ranked as far as influence goes.

August 20th, 2010 | 12:36 PM
Carl:

Haha, well interesting topic, twitter have never worked for me in any way and I don’t like it much. But what I want to say today is that I am happy. Yesterday I created a promo video on youtube about one of my websites and today it was pleasant surprise. My girlfriend was sending video through twitter, facebook, hi5, tagged. I love you so much honey!

August 20th, 2010 | 7:51 AM

I agree some people are all about the numbers.

I do try to follow those who I have common interests with …either someone I can learn from, or those who could use my services.

I don’t always follow people that ask me to because I don’t believe in what they are doing, or it has nothing to do with my mission online- to learn and help others….

I actually had to stop using one account- I was using a service that helps get you followers..didn’t know what I was doing then…I have TONS of people from other countries that don’t understand what I tweet and I don’t understand them….

August 20th, 2010 | 9:24 AM
Mitch:

Well, you use those automatic posting services, and at times when you’re posting those things, the only people online are folks in other countries. one day you had two posts showing up hourly, the same two, and I knew you weren’t still up, as I was. As for following people, heck, I’ve written two articles of who I will & won’t follow, but my main thing is they have to be social.

August 20th, 2010 | 12:38 PM

Being influential is never easy. If you make it to the top, then is the matter of maintaining it that way. Either wise is is work, work, and obviously engaging and interacting with the community. BTW, the Twitter Grade above the bird, says 100. that’s a perfect score, congrats 🙂

August 20th, 2010 | 12:29 PM
Mitch:

Thanks DiTesco. You know, as long as there are entertainers we’ll never have a real shot at #1, and I don’t want to have to be at the top of the heap, just within striking range of the heap. lol

August 20th, 2010 | 12:39 PM

Being influential is a very powerful thing. No I dont restrict who I follow on Twitter because I feel that if they want to hear what I have to say then great for them! It’s a lot of pressure though being such a powerful voice. Lots of people don’t realize that it comes with the territory.

August 20th, 2010 | 7:24 PM
Mitch:

Mandy, there’s just so many people and so little time to devote to everyone, which is why I set up my criteria for who I’ll follow. Kind of like how companies put out qualifications for positions to hopefully eliminate the masses from even applying before looking at those who did apply. But I still want to be influential in my own way, and I think at my age I’m ready for it.

August 21st, 2010 | 12:02 AM

Good morning, Mitch.

I have never in my life cared whether I’m influential or not, and I probably won’t start thinking much about it now.

I just do my thing, write what I want to say, and interact with my friends online. Hopefully, I can help someone along the way now and then.

I use Twitter now as more of an announcement tool than for any social engagement. 140 characters is just not enough to express anything but the most basic thoughts. So, I announce blog posts and conversations using Twitter, but prefer to interact on other sites where it is much easier to follow conversations with some depth.

I’m pretty picky about who I follow, too. I’ve been dropping people who tweet about things in which I am not interested and only follow maybe 10% of the people who are new followers. Still, I follow more people than I’m followed by. (That’s an awkward sentence.)

I’m in the process of re-entering the real world after nearly a decade of isolation and I find that I enjoy interacting with my friends and family online almost as much as I do in real life and it’s a real treat to talk with people who live too far away for us to visit.

So, I’m sure I am restricting my influence (whatever that means), but I’m happy with how it’s working for me.

Act on your dream!

JD

August 23rd, 2010 | 9:27 AM
Mitch:

Actually John, you’ve been more influential than you think. No one makes sales online without being somewhat influential, and you’ve made more sales in a month than I have in 5 years. When you decided to start your Murphy project last year, you may not have noticed it but you had to increase your influence to get people to go along with it. And look at all the people who talk to you on FB as you’ve gone through stuff lately; yup, you’ve certainly got influence!

August 23rd, 2010 | 10:16 AM