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Most Influential on Twitter Aren’t the Biggest

Recent reports by researchers at Northwestern University and HP have both come to the same conclusion. Size doesn’t equate to influence in social media. While celebrities and brands are racking up Twitter followers and Facebook fans, smaller-audience category experts and thought-leaders are more effective at shaping a conversation and spreading the word than their bigger cousins.

Most Followed Twitterers

The most-followed accounts on Twitter are run by pop stars, reality TV personalities and Barack Obama. But the most influential — those that drive a conversation to more listeners by way or retweets — are publishers such as Mashable’s Pete Cashmore, CNN Breaking News and The Onion.

Twitter Influence Infographic

(Graphic from the highly influential Mashable.)

It’s a good reminder for marketers and their agencies, many of whom are chasing follower counts because, well, they are easy to count. Besides, in advertising big feels more successful than small. (And while big may not be the same as influential, really really small almost certainly equates to not very influential.) Now it’s time for brands to figure out what to share with those followers — how to engage them and influence how they think about you, otherwise the money and effort put against winning the follower-count race will be wasted resources.

Hand-Drawn Social Media Logos, Part of Editorial Series at Mashable Sponsored by Ben and Jerry's

This Mashable post caught my attention with the fun, hand-drawn social media logos:

Hand-drawn social media logos

Then I noticed the story is part of a Mashable dev and design series sponsored by Ben and Jerry’s new free-trade coffee line, Joe.

I like it. A “sponsored editorial series” on coffee, sponsored by Starbucks or Ben and Jerry’s Joe, would be fishy. As would be Mashable, all of a sudden, deciding to cover coffee news. But I see nothing wrong with corporate sponsorship of editorial content, provided the topic is far enough away from the sponsor’s product offering and still close enough to the publisher’s editorial beat.

What do you think — is Mashable selling out or is it building a better editorial product through creative advertising partnerships?

Cisco's Human Network Adds More Voices

I love these embed-able ad units that feature longer-form video programming (here’s Dell’s), this one from a section of Cisco’s Welcome to the Human Network site that FM is helping them with:

I also love to see brands that are world-class for skills other than publishing or programming move themselves into the world-class-publisher category through partnership. Coming in August, Cisco’s site will feature special episodes of video programming from Boing Boing TV, Webb Alert and Mashable.

Cisco Human Network Site with 3rd Party Video Content

(The team that put this together includes Radhika Narang, Mike Kisch and Melinda Walker at Cisco; Lashena Huddleston, Sue McCarthy, and Lauren Amato at Neo; and Matt Jessell, Liam Boylan, James Gross, Stephanie Loleng, Karleen Engel and Lester Lee at FM.)

American Express Content-Ads Drive Comments

American Express’s partnership with top business and tech website authors to create the OPEN Forum Blog creates an opportunity for American Express to deliver banner ads that do more than promote credit-card offers; AMEX ad banners running on other business sites are promoting content instead — which, of course, stand a better chance of being noticed. One ad, running on tech business site Mashable, caught the attention of a Mashable editor, who posted this comment at the OPEN Forum Blog:

Mashable Comment on OPEN Forum Blog

Guardian Recognizes Boing Boing, Dooce, TechCrunch, Mashable, Gaping Void

The Guardian UK is out with their list of favorite 50 blogs, including several official “friends of FM”:

Boing Boing: “Their dominance of the terrain where technology meets politics makes the Boing Boing crew geek aristocracy.”

TechCrunch: “Techcrunch began in 2005 as a blog about dotcom start-ups in Silicon Valley, but has quickly become one of the most influential news websites across the entire technology industry.”

Dooce: “Though there were personal websites that came before hers, certain elements conspired to make Dooce one of the biggest public diaries since Samuel Pepys’s (whose diary is itself available, transcribed in blog form, at Pepysdiary.com).”

Mashable: “Founded by Peter Cashmore in 2005, Mashable is a social-networking news blog, reporting on and reviewing the latest developments, applications and features available in or for MySpace, Facebook, Bebo and countless lesser-known social-networking sites and services, with a special emphasis on functionality.”

Gaping Void: “Things started going gangbusters when he pimped his cartoons on the internet, and as he built an audience through his blog, he started writing about his other passion — the new world of understanding how to adapt marketing to the new world of the net.”