Monthly Archives: January 2012

Top 50 most followed people in social media. Does it really matter?

Every other week you will see a list of top 50 most followed people in social media. The list normally consists of celebrities, sports stars, politicians and brands. The real question is are these most followed people on the social media the top influencers out there? There are two big issues which make the number of followers not map directly to the measure of influence.

First one is who influences you as an individual? When you are making a purchasing decision, deciding who to vote for or choosing a movie to watch you don’t necessary look out for what the top followed people on social networks are suggesting. More often you look for advice from your circle of friends whom you trust to make the right suggestion or whom you believe have the same taste and interests as you do. These are the people who influence you more in making a decision than anyone else.

Second point to note is what’s the domain? Not everyone is credible enough to  have influence in every domain. For example, if you are a fashion icon, you will have significant influence when it comes to fashion space. Your fans and followers will give value to what you got to say when it comes to fashion trends. But just having a million followers doesn’t make you influential in the topics you have no expertise or credibility. In fact in many cases, attempt to make influence in the areas you have no expertise makes you lose value in your area as well.

Having lots of followers maybe a status symbol in some ways. It does mean that there are people who are interested in listening to what you have to say. But it is a bit over-rated when it comes to measuring the influence. It matters more if you have a few followers who value your word and trust you in your area of expertise.

The art in science

Science is a very general term. So is art. In some sense art and science are opposites of each other and in other cases you can think of them being synonymous to each other. Without going much in the theory of the words, by science I mean something that is based on systematic study. Something that has numbers to back it. It has reasoning and logic behind it. On the other hand, by art I mean something that is subject to aesthetic criteria. Something that is beautiful, appealing and presentable.

I am a big believer in science. Numbers are awesome (though subject to interpretation) overall they prove something. When you do data analysis based on large sets of information, applying scientific algorithms can do wonders. It can generate patterns and extract information that is not even visible by naked eyes. That is specifically evident when you work with social media information. The data is overwhelming and algorithmic processes do an awesome job identifying the hidden knowledge.

But when you try to sell this science, you need something that is beautiful, appealing and presentable to people who are going to use it. That’s the role of art in a science heavy world. No matter how sophisticated software programs you write to extract information or how well you can process data to gain rich knowledge, till you can communicate that in an easy to consume manner, it is of no use. Add a pinch of art to your scientific prowess. Think who your customer is. What do they need? What language they understand? Then put your scientific findings in a way that is appealing to them. That will make them empowered by knowledge and take action on it. That will make your work really matter and make the science in the background worth more than anything else.