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Talking about influence, elitism and wine

On a highly unusual day in London recently I was lucky enough to be interviewed twice on similar topics – the coming together of wine, blogging and some measure of influence.

This blog, in large part thanks to its longevity but also some very active and loyal followers, regularly appears on lists of “top wine blogs”. Of course, there is no easy or accepted way of defining what these top blogs are, and every time this comes up, the usual discussions arise (see my recent post about the UK Wikio rankings). However this is measured, it means that those of us involved in publishing it get asked to share ideas and our ‘secrets’ with others, which is always fun and good for the ego*

The first interview was with Cision UK, a PR services company, and I will share that with you if/when the video is public. We had a bit of fun with this one.

I also met with PeerIndex, one of the leaders in the field of online influence measurement. I wrote about online influence on this blog in the past (“Writing Under the Influence of Twitter” and “Measuring Influence or Communication Skills“). They asked to interview me for some thoughts on influence and wine, and the result is this video, shot on location at Around Wine (thanks to the very generous Daniel, aka @winerackd). Please excuse the lighting which makes me look like I’m wearing Tim Minchin style mascara:

One of the quotes which seems to have caught some people’s attention was:

“I have no influence. People who follow me make me have influence, so effectively they are the influencers.”

This may seem backwards, but the point I was trying to make is that influence is being viewed backwards. The individuals with lots of followers do not necessarily have the ability to influence the behaviour of others. We ought to be looking at how these particular users represent the shared interests of those in their networks.

I can’t make anyone drink a bottle of wine … but if you can convince me that I should drink yours, then maybe you’ve got the message right that will make others do the same.

Trying to target bloggers as mouthpieces for PR messages doesn’t work, but learning to engage with them is a great way of engaging with consumers in general.

Just a thought.

* It also goes to prove my point that any measure of “influence” is self-referential because if you are seen as influential, you attract more attention, links and interviews … and therefore more success which then means more “influence”

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