I have been thinking for some time that the Social Web is driving some pretty radical changes in how we consider and measure Web influence.
At a basic level, I think we need to distinguish between traditional measures of Web reach and activity and measures that connote authority. Apart from measurement, it is clear that the nature of influence is changing. This should be a big deal for you, especially if you are in tech PR . You are late to the game if you are only waking up to this now as the tech crowd were early adopters in social media and continue to push the envelope.
Blogs, micro blogs and social networks have spawned new communities and influencers. The technology user is becoming increasingly vocal through various types of social media. These changes are having a profound effect on how people get their information and make decisions.
Just this week, we learned a number of things:
On Micro Persuasion, Steve Rubel blogged that Twitter search traffic is poised to eclipse Google blog search traffic. He includes some nice charts and data and said:
The search engine landscape is quietly under going a major revolution.
There are two major forces at work here: our growing hunger for
real-time information and the coming convergence of search and social
networking. The latter adds a much needed layer of trust to traditional
search that helps us qualify sources.
Earlier this week my good friend and Handshake 2.0 blogger Anne Giles Clelland pointed out the Washington Post article (TechCrunch/Brian Solis byline), which posed the question: Are Blogs Losing their Authority to the Statusphere? It discusses the waning influence of blogs (as measured by Technorati, for example) and discusses why this might be:
It goes back to the definition of authority. Links from blogs are no
longer the only measurable game in town. Potentially valuable linkbacks
are increasingly shared in micro communities and social networks such
as Twitter, Facebook, and FriendFeed and they are detouring attention
and time away from formal blog responses.
Finally, on the Between the Lines ZDnet blog, Sam Diaz posted the results of a poll about the implications that the growth of Facebook and Twitter referrals compared to Google has for marketing dollars, and wrote:
Armed with data from Hitwise,
a Web analysis firm, Advertising Age noted that Facebook is starting to
generate more traffic than Google search for some larger Web sites – a
shift that could impact the distribution of marketing dollars and
campaigns as the “social Web” continues to disrupt more traditional Web
surfing habits… companies large and small – and the marketing/advertising/PR
firms that represent them – should take note. It’s no longer enough to
just have a Web site and expect that potential customers will find you.
The companies that participate in social media and understand how it’s
changed the way people communicate, interact and share information with
each other are the companies that will form long-lasting relationships
Clearly, seismic shifts in Web influence are taking place and PR folks and marketers need to understand what this means and plan accordingly.