I’ve been following Brian Solis’s ongoing dialogue about popularity versus influence, and he repeatedly and adamantly says, “Influence is not popularity.” To further back up his claim, he recently worked with Vocus to conduct a survey to determine what makes an online influencer. Today, they published the findings in a report titled, “Influencer grudge match: Lady Gaga versus Bono.”
The reference to Lady Gaga and Bono stems from a question on whether respondents felt influence was different than popularity. More than 90% said indeed there was a difference and one responded wrote in the open ended section of this question, “Lady Gaga is popular, Bono is influential.”
But the report also revealed that this question isn’t as black and white as we might assume. For example, one of the subsequent questions found 84% of respondents said there was a correlation with reach and influence. Does that mean Lady Gaga is influential because of her six million Twitter followers?
This report has some great brain food to feed this thought leadership debate, so be sure to add it to your reading list.
So what do you think? Is influence different from popularity?