Being monotonous helps your influence score!


  dull, tedious, and repetitious; lacking in variety and interest:
    the statistics that he quotes with monotonous regularity
  (of a sound or utterance) lacking in variation in tone or pitch:
    her slurred monotonous speech

It may seem hard to believe but its true; being monotonous helps your influence score. The more you keep talking about the same topic over and over and over again, the better your score. The last thing you want to do is pepper your dialog with some variety since your overall influence score gets diluted by these secondary topics. So having multiple interests is bad, and being one dimensional is good…

Please, someone shoot me now!

This weakness inherent in influence scoring isn’t anything new and there has been a lot written about this. In most cases, unless your job is related in some way social media, most people just don’t have the volume of interactions required to calculate scores with any level of granularity. Therefore the aggregate of your interactions (volume being king) have to be used in the overall set of calculations. This difference between “overall influence” vs. “transmission or interaction rates for discrete topics” became obvious when I was playing with one of the better freemium tools out there. They thankfully don’t expose an influence number, preferring to use it as part of their internal analysis and only exposing levels. They were also very honest about “what can be accurately calculated and what cannot” which was refreshing.

So influence scoring is inherently flawed, and yet despite this fact scoring engines are still being positioned to the general public as the most important measurement of a person. And folks wonder why I have such a pathological hatred for assigning influence scores to people :-) If you really want to see how truly insane it can get, then check out Seth Stevenson‘s recent article, entitled “What Your Klout Score Really Means“. Aside from scaring the heck out of you, its an excellent read particularly the last couple of paragraphs where he talks about the real problem with influence scoring; namely that it results in social media personas that are not interesting (or believable). Being one dimensional is not something we reward in the real world, so why would we do that in social media?

But let me end on one final question, and I don’t need to say where I stand on this question…

Is influence score the best measure of social media effectiveness?

4 Responses to “Being monotonous helps your influence score!”

  1. Nice post Marie. I love the point you made at the end – “Being one dimensional is not something we reward in the real world, so why would we do that in social media?” I think that is where the current line of thinking falls short. You are right that in the real world that doesn’t fly because we look at how people relate to one another within a larger community. We don’t judge a person in a vacuum. Without understanding the larger community that person is a part of and how their relationships impact that, it is impossible to put the person into context. Why don’t we do that in social? Because it’s hard. Today people are taking all of these points of data and trying to piece it all together in mental models but we need something more than everyone’s individual best guess. To clarify – people are fine with whatever metrics make them feel better but businesses need metrics and products that help them drive tangible value.


    • Yep, it’s hard to generate real insight about people, and even harder to communicate it to the business. That’s why a single number is so attractive, its simple! The fact that its not that useful is the problem. So what does the business really need? Something that is simple but useless, or complex but valuable? I guess the challenge for us analytics folks is to present the complex analytics in a way that the business can easily understand and apply. That’s the real challenge.



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