Jan 11

Influence is bidirectional

There is an interesting thread on Quora about measuring online influence, with some solid ideas from Brian Solis, Karl Long and others. My contribution to the discussion was to get people to stop thinking about influence as something unidirectional, and think of it as bidirectional:

The problem I see with most of the tools claiming to measure influence is that they are measuring something unidirectional (one person influences the dumb masses) when in fact, influence is always bidirectional. There is the person trying to influence, and the person potentially being influenced.

For example, I may persuade person A to buy something, and using the exact same argument and language, person B may decide not to buy the same thing.

In order to build accurate models that measure influence and help businesses understand who to interact with to improve their bottom line, we need to study and understand the relationships between people. In other words, who trusts who about what?

To give another example, if Justin Bieber tweets that he loves his new deodorant brand, we need to understand who then decided to try that brand, and what were the common characteristics of those peoples’ relationship* with Justin Bieber.

*I use the term “relationship” loosely here. I’m taking about their perceptions of Justin Bieber, how they see him, what he means to them, how they came to know and be influenced by him, etc

Check out the full discussion.

Jan 11

The value of a dollar on Skype

Skype recently suffered a well documented outage. As a sign of the value they place in their customers, they offered a credit voucher – a gesture I appreciated. What is interesting is that the execution used two different ways to talk about the same thing, with very different emotional results.

When I saw the first message, I felt really positive about something that would benefit me greatly in my day to day relationships.

Wow, 30 minutes speaking to family at home in Ireland is fantastic!

When I saw the second message, after redeeming my voucher, my initial good feeling was followed by disappointment and apathy:

Oh, it’s only a dollar…

Nothing about what Skype were offering had changed. All that changed was the way they phrased it. In the first, they placed the connection to people you care about at the centre, whereas in the other they placed the monetary value.

Think carefully about the words you choose to use.