Influence scores are like cocktails

Here’s a chance to relate two of my favorite topics: social media and social beverages.

The validity of social influence is under constant debate. Who is more influential? How does it work? Why isn’t my score higher? Who the hell is Justin Bieber? Social influence is still an experiment. In time, the brave individuals who are blazing the trail will come up with answers to the above. Until then, influence scores are just way to have fun - sort of like cocktails.

Measuring social influence is just like analyzing a cocktail. What I mean by that is both involve quantitative and qualitative attributes, which can make them difficult to accurately measure and analyze. For example, measuring the impact of one-tweet on an influence score is a lot like analyzing the over-all flavor of a cocktail.

Tweet Influence

You’re trying to measure the impact of one-tweet on your influence score. What events can occur after you send your tweet?

You send a tweet

  • Your tweet gets retweeted. 3-points for you!

  • Someone clicks the link in your tweet. 2-points.

  • You gain a follower. 5-points.

  • You gain a follower from the retweet of your tweet. 8-points for you! 3-points for your retweeter for connecting you and your new follower.

  • Your tweet is retweeted. The retweet is retweeted and they clicked your link. ???-points

Which events get influence-points? How do you measure one event as being more valuable than another event?

Cocktail Flavor

What’s the flavor of a screwdriver? Orange. That was easy. Now lets go to The Violet Hour and order a Black River.

Cocktail Ingredients

  • Bombay. Adds a Juniper berry flavor.

  • Macerated Pineapple. Adds a pineapple flavor.

  • Lemon. Is probably a garnish, so it doesn’t add any flavor (or does it?).

  • Egg White. Adds egg white flavor, but does that flavor stand out?

  • St. Elizabeth Allspice. Adds a spice flavor.

What’s the flavor of the Black River? Is the flavor the sum of the flavor of ingredients? Does the pineapple override and take control of the overall flavor?

As you can see, this can get complicated very quickly and you can end-up lost in ‘analysis paralysis’ for days at time. But unless you develop tools for market/social analysis, it probably won’t affect you. All you need to remember is that influence scores are like cocktails: it doesn’t really matter which one you have, it’s just fun to have one.