Trust & Social Influence – a panel debate at #smwldn

A quick review of sorts for one of the Social Media Week talks I went to last week.. Trust and Social Influence.

What was it about?
The premise for the panel event was to bring the conversation about social influence up to date (some of the panelists took part last year) and to look at the area of trust. Trust as a term was used in a few contexts during the debate (I’m paraphrasing here):

Should we trust the motivations of ‘Influencers’ and / or brand advocates and if so, does that differ by instance?
Can you trust the tools that identify those Influencers?
Can you trust the Influence scores being attributed to anyone online with a ‘social profile or presence’.
More philosophically - should you use or care about the scoring tools (e.g Peer Index, Klout).

social media week panel participants

The #smwldn Influence panel - my camera phone. Better pictures exist on the Like Minds site

The rise of Influence scores and Influencer identification and wider taxonomy of Influencer, Advocate, Fan etc is an interesting (nay, vital to understand) area and I’ve written a bit about it here before (search results on my blog for ‘Influence’) : http://markkellynet.com/?s=Influence

The whole area of pinpointing and then measuring online influence is still shaping up (different measurement platforms, different measures used). In fact the definition of Influence itself  is mercurial still I think.  Which makes for a dynamic ‘we’re still figuring all this out’ debate.
Like I said, some of the panelists were the same guys from a similar event at last year’s social media week (@joannejacobs @azeem @benjaminellis  @likeminds). Actually, a quick read through a post I did at the time shows that the same issues prevail to some extent – what do we mean by Influence? How do you stop any platform being gamed? Are we at a stage where Influence Scores can be relied on to make important life affecting decisions – for or by us? Or indeed should they be (as they are with credit scores)..
http://markkellynet.com/2011/02/14/sound-bites-from-social-media-week-london-smwldn/

Panel debate transcript
So lots of questions raised during the morning and lots of views put forward. It was a great debate, really lively and covered more than published subject area – a transcript is here courtesy of Like Minds: http://wearelikeminds.com/live/trust-and-social-influence#comments

Some of my tweets, not doing justice to the hour or so of discussions but more to capture some initial reaction are here:

SMW Influence Tweets twitter screen grab

On the subject of Influence Scores :
mine are, I think “ doing okay but must try harder” or similar.
After an initial flurry of ‘attending’ to my Peer Index and Klout scores, I’ve just allowed them to do ‘their own thing’ and rise and fall as I tweet or blog in fits and starts. I one point I was (say it loud) The Most Influential Digital Marketing Practitioner in Leeds – now, I’m not (as evidenced by a Peer index list from @monicatailor). I’ll get over it. Don’t judge me.
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