Fast Company’s cover story for its November 2010 issue ought to be interesting.
The magazine has launched a search to discover the most influential person online. Dubbed the Influence Project, the magazine is capturing the social graphs of readers who enter a short bio and upload a photo. Whoever influences the most people to join the experiment is deemed the most influential. (Oh and the more influential you are, the bigger your photo gets on Fast Company’s Influence Project site. And your photo could be included in a cover illustration.)
What the Influence Project aims to do is remove some of the mystery behind the inherent passivity of social network numbers. This experiment will show what happens when an individual takes an audience at rest and applies an unbalanced force–through suggestion, advice or direction–that converts it into an army of action. That’s power that can be quantified and lead to an understanding that can be applied to both the largest and smallest of networks. No doubt it’s profound to address a million followers and get 100,000 of them to respond. But what does it mean when you have one hundred friends on Facebook and 97 of them click through to a site on your recommendation?
I don’t know if I’d call this person influential, but I do think this project will help tell you a bit more about what Facebook calls your social graph. Businesses should learn a lot about social networking from this story and Fast Company will rake in tons of valuable data about its readers — for free, mind you.
Each person who enters is given a unique URL. Here’s mine. If you click on it, supposedly, I’m considered just a bit more influential than the next person on Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare.
If you ask me this little experiment is open to mischief, but I’m
vain enough, narcissistic enough, curious enough to play.
What about you? Are you more influential online or off-line?