“The most influential people online” says the tagline for WebIt, an upcoming “Digital and IT event” (vague terms as nobody is sure anymore!) The idea isn’t new; a similar scheme had played out with the Influence Project some time ago. These sort of efforts are of course plagued with massive methodological problems.
Obviously anybody that starts first has a great advantage, particularly in countries where the online influencers are fewer and it just takes one mention to tell everyone. Furthermore, social media professionals tend to check each other out all the time, so whichever one of these happens to get their link out first gets everyone else under “their” pyramid.
An added problem is the incentive. Some people may consider a free flight to Bulgaria a bonus, others a punishment. In any case many top influencers will not bother. So we are back to square one, possibly with a few new ideas about who is around in each country, looking for more reliable ways to measure influence. Of course, this is a job for professionals, like Qualia who monitor all media and even do sentiment analysis on it. They have also started doing what is more interesting and easy to understand, which is to look at specific topics or incidents. (Check them out in the “blog” section of their website.)
Influence is a complicated matter but taking the more specific approach is probably closer to the “true” nature of things. Oh, and don’t forget to click here if you want to measure your influence the cheap and cheerful way… ; )