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How Do You Measure Influence?

[Guest Post by Bernadette Jiwa]

My friend Lucy Buck saves the lives of abandoned babies and finds loving new homes for them if they cannot be reunited with their biological families. She founded the Childsi foundation and opened a babies home in Kampala, Uganda seven months ago. She’s active on Twitter, Facebook and You Tube.

Lucy has a Klout Score of 10. That’s 10 out of a possible 100. To put that into some kind of perspective Paris Hilton has a score of 83.

Technology has given us more ways to measure, more ways to work out our relevancy by numbers. Friends, fans, followers, badges, titles, comments, trackbacks, click-throughs, visits, views and subscribers all handy little benchmarks of our influence.

There is so much to gauge that you can get stuck perfecting the measuring part, so stuck that you forget to do the influencing part. While you’re busy keeping score are you missing the opportunity to understand what will make a real difference to you and to those you want to lead?

Maybe we’ve believed for too long that numbers are the only way to power influence and drive change, recent research using social media networks has started to question that thinking.

Professors Christakis and Fowler recently tried to measure the power of influence on Twitter with surprising results. Those with less than 50,000 Twitter followers can take heart! They discovered three fascinating things.

1. It is not just the number of ties that matters online, it is also the nature and quality of these ties.

2. To make change happen, we need sheep as well as shepherds.

3. We must learn how to cultivate online interactions that are, or feel, real.

Human beings have always kept score. It’s in our DNA to need feedback, to know where we’re at so we can work out where we’re going. The Internet has given us opportunities to leverage connections and more tools that enable us to keep score. It’s also given us more opportunities to matter.

I’m just not sure there is an accurate measure for mattering.

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