Thursday, August 08, 2013

Influence and the anatomy of networks

Some interesting thoughts from Bruce Marko, about the different types of influencers in a network, got me thinking about some of the other models I have encountered.

First up is a summary of the types that Bruce identifies:
  • Primary: Massive followings, drive traffic & spread messages rapidly; Sometimes hard to gain access & understand how they got there in the first place
  • Threader: Own postings can fluctuate, contribute to conversations, can bring knowledge and clarity; More likely to contribute on the fly
  • Maker: Has an effect through production of content, ripples spread out through others; Sometimes appear not to engage

Harold Jarche, in his posts The work of many and Twitter and the law of the few, elaborates on the different players in a network identified in Malcolm Gladwell's work 'The Tipping Point':
  • Salesperson: Influences people to take action; High Social Capital; Gain influence by knowing what people want
  • Connector: Has many relationships; High Creative Capital; Gain influence by sharing with others
  • Maven: Deep knowledge in a field; High Intellectual Capital; Can gain huge followings through reputation

Finally, Anatomy of a social network, a post from David Grey, cites the work of Ron Burt.  This identifies two activities for creating value in a network:
  • Brokerage: Developing weak ties, building bridges between clusters
  • Closure: Developing strong ties, building trust within clusters
Further, there are three dimensions for gauging the power of a node:
  • Degree: Number of connections; Potential to interact & connect
  • Closeness: Ease of making new connections; Potential to gain access
  • Betweenness: Power of link between other nodes; Potential to block or grant access

So it looks like a great convergence of different viewpoints, that strengthens my own understanding:

Primary = Salesperson; High Closeness and Social Capital
Threader = Connector; High Degree and Creative Capital
Maker = Maven; High Betweenness and Intellectual Capital

Thanks to Bruce for getting me inspired :)