Fast Company

Engaging Influentials: Twitter and Beyond

 With the rapid adoption of social media, we have accelerated into a network economy.  In a network economy, connectivity enables value to be created and shared by network members.  The larger the network, the greater the potential benefits.   In the digital world, network activities take place on an open platform that enables participation and cloud computing (think Wikipedia and widgets).

In networks, some members are more connected and active, and therefore have more influence.  These influentials are important members because they add significantly more value to the social network.  In the digital world, they blog, twitter, upload videos, experiment with new gadgets, and create widgets.  As early adopters, they tend to be trendsetters that are followed by their friends and sometimes the masses.  The book, the Whuffie Factor, talks about Social Capital, and how our society is increasingly motivated to become more useful and creative.  Today, more people want to be influencers, and they want to be enabled.

In 2009, Twitter has emerged as one of the most talked about platforms in the network economy.  Indeed, there is a simple network exchange on Twitter:  influencer creates bite-size content, and follower discovers new information.  Here are a few examples of the exchange:

•    Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco and California Governor Candidate, has over 500,000 followers.  He keeps his followers informed about upcoming events and fundraising, and enables them to interact with...

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