Twitter, Lists, and Influence

This started as a comment I wanted to leave on a blog post by Robert Scoble but after I started writing it it felt too long for a comment and too far off the main focus of his post.

When I see a list of most influential anything the first thing I wonder about is context. There are some 300+ twitter users with over a million followers. Most of them have no influence in *my* life. I think I follow, technically, a couple of them but really don’t pay that much attention to them. A number of people with hundreds (or fewer) followers have more day to day influence with me.

In my case I follow several lines in Twitter. Tech of course. Friends as well. The big group though is education which in some cases overlaps friends and tech. Who is influential in that context is not influential in the context of the sort of tech Scoble writes about but may be very influential in educational technology.

Now I like making lists as much as the next guy (more than some) but I have to realize that the people who make lists have their own context and their own idea of influence and I might very well be influential in the areas I want/need to be without making those lists. I think that judging influence only makes sense when looking at one person in the context where they are trying to make a difference.

My friend Doug Peterson (@DougPete) and I frequently share “another list we didn’t make.” It’s a bit of a joke and we both (I think) see these lists as interesting but not important enough to get upset over not being included. We share ideas, thoughts, conversations, and quips. We try to be interesting, helpful and useful. If we have influence fine. If not, well, if we are helpful to someone that is good enough.

I think I worry a lot more than Doug about “influence.” Call it insecurity on my part. Or ego. It’s most definitely a weakness on my part – a vanity. At the end of the day though I know I will never have the influence of many many other people on Twitter and I am ok with that.

And besides, those lists are not to be taken seriously. Entertainment value only. Even, or perhaps especially, the ones that list me. Smile

One Response to “Twitter, Lists, and Influence”

  1. dougpete says:

    I know that we kid about this quite a bit, Alfred. Often, these “lists” are one way communications which really doesn’t work for me. Give me a network of interactions any day where there’s great conversations and I’m a happy person. I’ve followed you for quite some time and I feel that the content that you provide is invaluable for computer science teachers and, if that’s your goal for being connected, I would suggest that you’ve reached it.

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