A tweet from Sarah Perez (@sarahintampa) got me curious about a site called twInfluence.com two weeks ago. Anything that has to do with the measurement of online influence interests me, so this was no different. Just like most other services that measure/calculate some form of influence, this one also got it’s own ranking etc figured out, but it was how they got to it that interested me most.
Ever since I’ve started writing about measuring influence, I’ve highlighted there’s too much focus on quantity versus quality. Take the Technorati “authority” for instance, that’s basically just a number of incoming links. Or talking about Twitter and the obsession that many in Twitterville seem to have with the number of followers, or even less relevant: the number of tweets sent out. Never noticed how many times Scoble will refer to the amount of likes he has added on Friendfeed?
It’s not just about quantity at all, but also about the quality of the network, in the case of twitter that translates into the quality of your followers. twInfluence is interesting because it’s the first service that I know that takes exactly that into account. Even if you have only 1 follower, if that is someone with several thousands of followers that is clearly better than the case where you would have a few dozens of followers yourself but all with only few followers themselves:
“First and Second Order Networks: From the perspective of graph theory, a Twitterer’s followers would be considered their first-order network, and their "followers count" the same as their "degree". "Degree" is a simple form of centrality measurement that equates to "prestige" or "popularitiy"; different types of centrality can measure connectivity, authority, and control in a network. The following diagram demonstrates the different "neighborhoods" in a network. The Twitterer is the primary node (shown in red); its first-order neighbors (shown in green) surround it, and its second-order neighbors (shown in blue) surround the outside.”
Another interesting metric twInfluence calculates – what they call efficiency – is the amount of followers you have versus how many people you are following yourself. The site also analyzes velocity (how quickly you’ve gained quality followers) and social capital (how many high-influence people follow you).
Hopefully they’ll also find a way to take out duplications in measuring reach, and there are some opportunities as well to find out about locally relevant influence, but overall this is a very interesting exercise so kudos to the folks behind twInfluence.