About ordinary influencers on Twitter

Duncan Watts, principal research scientist at Yahoo Research, mentions that marketers may get better results if they reach out to a large number of “ordinary influencers” rather than one high-profile person on Twitter. The article’s premise surrounds the influential prowess of celebrities (an interesting read) and refers to a study conducted by Yahoo Research (a VERY interesting study).

In the Yahoo study, Everyone’s an Influencer, Watts mentions bloggers were responsible for 1.36 million tweets – or 272 tweets per account; the media was responsible for 5.1 million tweets, or 1,023 tweets per account. And “ordinary” people on Twitter were responsible for 244 million tweets, or 6.1 tweets per account.

Lined up, for reading convenience, that’s:
Tweets Tweets/Account
Bloggers 1.36 mil 272
Media 5.1 mil 1,023
Ordinary 244 mil 6.1

This quote from the article stood out to me: “It’s better to trigger many small cascades. Ordinary influencers are promising. Grind away [in] a very systematic manner.”

The article continues: … “messages travel on Twitter in much the same way that information was disseminated more than 50 years ago. Watts pointed to research in the 1950s by Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarfeld; they found there’s a “two-step flow of information,” whereby opinion leaders and influential people were more likely to be exposed to media and then disperse that information through the social strata. “There was no Twitter. There were no followers. Yet they used language that’s very amenable to Twitter today,” Watts said.

“The lesson for marketers? Give up on predicting individual events… focus on the typical event size. Try to optimize many, many times.”