Top 10 Philly Influencers on Twitter?

I want to preface this post with this disclaimer – I LOVE the guys at Technically Philly.  They are smart wonderful people who are doing great things for Philadelphia and its tech community and I support them 100%.  If you are not reading Technically Philly, you should be!  Just one of the truly great things about all of the guys at Technically Philly is they are open-minded.  If someone does not agree with them, they quickly and willingly reach out to find out why and are open to lively, respectful debate.

While it is not the first time and I am sure will not be the last, Technically Philly, I respectfully disagree with you.

On 7/27/2010 Technically Philly contributed an article to their partner, Philly Mag’s section The Philly Post – ” Philadelphia’s 10 Most Influential Twitter Users“.  The premise of the article was their view of not who the are the most followed Philly Twitter users but who are the “must-follows”.  As a Technically Philly reader, an active member of Philly’s tech and social media communities and a self-admitted Twitter addict, I was intrigued.  Till I read their list.  Of the 10 people on the list there is 1 musician, 1 techie, 1 serial entrepreneur, 1 athlete and 6 newspeople/journalists. While I don’t disagree that the people on their list are influential.  I follow almost all of them myself, but to consider them the 10 MOST influential Philadelphians on Twitter.  I don’t think so.  Technically Philly and I have different definitions of influence as evidenced by our Twitter convo on the subject –

GloriaBell: @TechnicallyPHL I found it interesting that a news magazine picked primarily news people as the most influential – really?
TechnicallyPHL: @gloriabell Who do you think we missed?
GloriaBell: @TechnicallyPHL I guess who you may have missed depends on your definition of influence. I don’t consider news ppl as the only influencers
GloriaBell: @TechnicallyPHL IMHO There are a lot of influencers as defined by ppl making things happen in Philly as opposed to just reporting it
To be clear, I am not defining influence by numbers (most followers) or interaction (amount of time/effort put into interacting with their Twittersphere).  My basic definition of influence is rooted in how many people you touch on and off line, how many people you help, how many people not only listen to what you say, but are moved to action by your words – whether those words are on Twitter, some where else online or offline and mostly by whether you are, at least in part, using your Twitter interactions to help make things happen in our wonderful city.
But here is my quandary – How to answer the question that Technically Philly posed to me – “Who do you think we missed?”   I know that I disagree with their list, but to name who I consider the top 10 – I am at a loss.  I can think of so many people who are part of the Philly Twitter community that I consider influencers for different reasons that it would be difficult for me to name a “top 10”.  So I leave you with the same question – Who would you name as your top 10 Philly Twitter influencers?

13 Comments

  1. Good post Gloria. I disagreed with this top 10 list as well but I tend to disagree with most top 10 lists. More importantly, I found the list unhelpful because I didn’t discover any new people I wanted to follow. It was a yawner.

    On the flip side, I can understand publishing a list like this because it tends to generate a lot of traffic and retweets. Apparently that day ended up being Technically Philly’s highest traffic day to date. See http://twitter.com/TechnicallyPHL/status/19706296792

    I like your definition of influence as well: “how many people not only listen to what you say, but are moved to action by your words.”

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  2. Gloria, thanks for thoughtfulness and for the kind words.

    We wracked our brains for a while around this one and catered it to the Philly Mag audience, so some of the more “obvious” ones for you, Blake and I aren’t as well known to a more general audience. We thought of it more as a list of ten people to start with if you were new to Twitter and from Philadelphia.

    We certainly welcome any other additions or people you think are “influential.” Or maybe the answer is that “influence” is relative and no one source could put together a worthy list?

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    • Sean,

      You are welcome. My words about how I feel about Technically Philly and all of you who work there are very sincere.

      If your list was intended as a new to Twitter and new to Philadelphia guide, I would definitely include @visitphilly @uwishunu and a few others who help promote and educate people about our city and region.

      I also agree that a lot of the more “obvious” ones for those of us who have been around Philly and on Twitter for a while would not be as well known to the “general public”. This goes back to a fundamental problem that we have discussed before. The need for some of these people and organizations to get more visibility. To start getting their names and works in front of the general public so that people learn and are exposed to the amazing things happening right in their neighborhoods.

      Keep doing what you do! Technically Philly is helping shine a light on the wonderful things going on in Philly and those of us who are trying to make things happen here are grateful.

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  3. Gloria this is another very thoughtful post.

    I read the Technically Philly post after you tweeted about it and couldn’t disagree more with their list. To me, those who influence are those who are able to connect with others and connect others to each other. Although I followed two of those on the list when I was new to Twitter, I no longer do. I found that they did not connect to their audience at all and it seemed to me that they were only about promoting their brand. Posting news without talking with people seems to be the opposite of influence to me. If anything, I was completely turned off. If they evoke that kind of reaction, how can they possibly be listed as influencers?

    Can I come up with my own list? Once I look through my own list, I will be able to come up with those who in my opinion are Philadelphia’s most influential.

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  4. Gloria,

    While I understand where you are coming from, I completely disagree with the approach.

    It really comes down to what is the perspective of influence. What you are arguing is the same question that many marketers are posing today – in a digital world of interacting with the same individual and similar message across multiple touchpoints, to which tactic does one attribute the conversion?

    You argue that journalists are never more influential than those who make things happen. So, within the context of Twitter, it is the last person who tweeted that resulted in an action by the end user. So a social media superstar who has accumulated many followers who tweets about a topic/article based on a journalists’ work has more influence because they drove a certain percentage of their followers to take an action, often by reframing the news article to guide individuals in a certain way.

    This obviously is the new direction for new media. Fox News on TV, Huffington Post/Daily Kos/Red State, all have pioneered this approach and it’s not just politics. Blogs everywhere are popping up slanting the news to influence others to take a certain perspective.

    But therein lies the rub. Without the work of the journalist, many blogs are hindered to the point of irrelevancy. How many tweets, blogs, shares, etc. come from articles from CNet, TechCrunch etc? What would be the content impact on Technically Philly if they didn’t have news articles to reference? Would they even have a site? Would they really be able to show just how far Venmo has come since their award win at MOMOMA Demo Night? Just what kind of impact on their business is being published on news sites mean?

    Social media is a tactic, but it is the original work that powers it that is truly influential, because it influences not just one blogger but all of those who depend on their work.

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    • Damian,

      You make some valid points and I have only response. If it were not for people making things happen, what would journalists have to report on? There would be no news to report if it were not for people making things happen. Thus, my position that journalists are not more influential than the people making the news that they report. Yes, journalists help spread word of what is happening and therein lies their influence. It does not however give them more influence. I do disagree with your point that Technically Philly and other blogs are dependent on the news for their content. I know many great bloggers who develop thoughtful, original content that is not dependent on news reported by other sources. Also, your position that Technically Philly is just a blog that reports news is erroneous. Technically Philly is a news organization. I know all of the founders and editors personally and can state unequivocally that they are true journalists who expend much time and effort investigating, researching and reporting news, not just regurgitating news reported by others. Yes, they do pass along articles from other news sources that will be of interest to their readers, but the majority of posts on their site is original content.

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  5. Disappointing blog post, there’s no content or opinion here, this could have been a tweet. “I don’t agree with @TechnicallyPHL’s list of influential tweeters in Philly, but have no ideas myself. Help?”

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    • Thomas,

      You will note that my original response to Technically Philly was a few tweets. I felt my opinion needed more than 140 characters to express thus my blog post (key words being MY blog, thus my choice of what the content will be) . If you feel that I have not expressed my opinion, that is your opinion, but I respectfully disagree with you. I am curious what type of response would you felt was worthy of being considered “content”?

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  6. Gloria – great post. I read Technically Philly’s article/list, and found I only follow one person on it. . .which then got me to thinking about “influence” and “influencer” as words. . .someone who “influences” me – may not “influence” you. . .I think it’s becoming very personal, and less general as time goes on. Simply having 20,000 followers, while good for your ego, doesn’t mean you have anything original or necessary to say – or that you are “influencing” any of your followers to take an action.

    But I will take some time to look into the other 9 people – and perhaps see if I am “missing” anything. Who knows – maybe I am . . .thus making Technically Philly an influencer for me =)

    I love your discussions and the insight you bring to the table – because after all- isn’t getting people to think about things – influencing them?

    Hillary

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  7. “Of the 10 people on the list there is 1 musician, 1 techie, 1 serial entrepreneur, 1 athlete and 6 newspeople/journalists.”

    Gloria, Gloria, Gloria… I am crushed! I am NONE of these. Couldn’t you list me as ‘1 Marketing Nerd?!?!?!?’ To lump me, I assume, with newspeople/journalists is a crime. OUCH! (Maybe I am the techie? That would take the sting out just a bit…)

    As I commented on the original list post — my following/followers are 100% organic. I don’t play Twitter games. I try to provide useful, thoughtful information around marketing, PR, and integrated marketing communications. Sure, it might not everyone’s cup of tea at the end of the day…but I am what I am.

    Do I think I am influential just because of Twitter numbers? Hell no. That’s silly. Influence is in the eye of the beholder, just like perception…we tend to forget that.

    And this whole influence conversation is a joke. Anything can be gamed. The most influential people tend to be those who speak less, but speak strongly when they need to. My mom comes to mind. 😉

    At then end of the day why get riled up about and waste time on some silly Top 10 list? This is the kind of stuff that holds people back from real work.

    Beth Harte
    Serengeti Communications
    @bethharte

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  8. Pingback: Twitter Influence - Asymptomatic

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