A few more thoughts on the influence issue, part one is here. Once again, I’m exploring this from the consumer’s point of view based on how I surf and am affected (or not) by what the blogs I read say.
Case Study 4: Podfire Soft Launch
The Podfire soft launch got pretty good coverage on ping.sg. I think that night and the day following, easily 3-4 of the top then most read posts were on blog coverage of the Podfire launch. One thing about influence and popularity is network effects.
One person talking about it positively on ping.sg is very different from five people talking positively about it. Again pulling in the “people like me vs bloggers” debate into the picture, I’m thinking someone who knows some or all of the five people talking about it (or any other topic) will probably feel a compelling reason to at least check it out.
Will it lead to the complete viewing of a video? Will they be repeat viewers? I don’t know, but by that stage, the product has to speak for itself. But leading them to click is the first step.
It’s Not About Reach Or Circulation
I read a comment somewhere ridiculing the buzz of the Podfire launch saying some people didn’t hear about it. Completely missing the point. I’m always asked in school whether I saw an article in the newspapers, or a good/bad advertisement on tv last night, and the answer is usually no. So…. people didn’t hear about it via print or tv either and therefore it’s useless?
The important thing for Podfire (and how blogs should be approached), is to try to reach the immediate community (small as they may be) and work from there. It’s targeted as opposed to the shotgun approach.
Su Yuen has a Facebook application called Get Help. It allows users to post out a question and get replies back from friends, acquaintances or maybe strangers. Again, the idea of influence seems relative. Anyone can help on the app, to varying degrees of influence. Would you discount a brilliant idea via Get Help just because a person who replied is a stranger?
Even “Weak” Links/Influencers Play A part
Case Study 1: Camera Buying
When I was deciding which dslr to get, Ingrid recommended a friend to of hers to help me out. I didn’t have any idea who that friend was prior to this, but I did continually go back and ask her what she thought of product A over product B, and bought the final camera based on that advice. Could I have made my decision by reading a professional photographer’s review? Sure. But the fact that I could interact with this person and listen to firsthand experiences made a difference to me. It just happens in this case she isn’t a blogger. But… what if she was?
Case Study 2: Iron Man
Twitter has been alight with raving, positive Iron Man reviews. I’m reading about people from all over the world (majority of whom I’ve never even met) saying how good it is. The Straits Times gave it three stars. After watching the show, I’m glad I didn’t listen to an “expert” reviewer, because anyone who’s watched the show will know it’s not deserving of three stars. Would you like to listen to an “expert” reviewer and forgo the show? (Assuming three stars is your threshold for “not watching”)
Ultimately this issue is still a tough one to tackle. My point here is not to say bloggers are the influencers, but that pointing to the various research without considering the intricacies of it is probably a bad idea. We know about the Long Tail (The ants have megaphones) and about the Wisdom of Crowds and crowdsourcing, and blogging fits squarely into the realm of these phenomena.