I was fortunate enough to be part of a webinar organized by Steve Cunningham with Tara Hunt. Tara presented the ideas in her book, The Whuffie Factor and I got to share a few ideas about how to use Whuffie for good.
The most interesting part of Webinars is the q/a. Someone asked Tara a question about measuring Whuffie or influence. Her response:
This is one of the biggest reasons I don’t like to measure Whuffie. I get the question time and time again when I talk about the book. The question I *should* be getting is ‘what can I do with my Whuffie?’. We should be less concerned about how many followers one has and more about what that person does with that many followers. Not only is Whuffie left better in the non-fungible, ephemeral realm, but it is inconsequential. The measure needs to be in the impact. If we concentrate on our influence, we forget the end goal. We get caught up in our ego.
She pointed to this video from Chris Brogan about overnight success - and how important it is to focus on the results of the work, not the hype or number of Twitter followers. Tara goes on to say:
Focus on the big prize. All too many times, people stop at the influence part: how popular is that person? how many followers do we have? who is talking about me and my company? how much love do people feel for me?
Learning Loops from the Networked Nonprofit
While she was talking, I thought about the diagram I had just finished in the book I'm co-writing with Allison Fine. The chapter is called learning loops is about tracking and reflection. We make the point that the focus should be on the impact or the change in the real world.
In early October, I had approximately 20,000 Twitter followers and today that number is almost ten fold. In October, I was placed on the Twitter Recommended User list along with a handful of other nonprofit and philanthropy Twitter users. I tried to leverage this for other nonprofit/charity Twitters by adding lists of Twitter users to my Twitter landing page.
There's no way to maintain strong ties with that many people with such fast growth. So, the point here is that numbers in social media don't matter as much building relationships one person at a time.
A lot of followers doesn't equal influence. As Stefano Maggi points out, there's more to influence besides numbers, there is also affinity. Geoff Livingston put it another way: relationships matter more than numbers with Twitter following. We did an experiment to prove our point.
The bottom line is to focus on the results of your social media strategy, don't get distracted by meaningless metrics like the number of followers, and value the relationships.
What you think?