Creativity, Better Business & Innovation: The Influencers of PSFK NYC

Posted on March 26, 2012 by Comments Off

Top People to Follow on Twitter

This Friday, PSFK hosts its sixth annual New York event, bringing together some of the world’s leading creative professionals. Waggener Edstrom is proud to sponsor this event that inspires creative thinking and promotes sharing emerging ideas in innovation. Last fall, we embarked on a research initiative to learn more about how the millennial generation specifically views innovation and its impact. Melissa Waggener Zorkin has shared some of our most interesting findings and insights with PSFK this week .

All of the speakers at this week’s event are trail blazers in their own right and they are all using technology to impact the way we interact, shop, learn and see the world. They are innovators. Nine out of the ten speakers* are using Twitter as a platform to share ideas around their work. Ever curious to better understand the impact of these innovators, we decided to use our Influence Ranking tool to see how influential the speakers are in relation to each other.

The ranking above shows our findings. Clay Shirky has the largest following, greatest reach and highest levels of amplification, which contributed to his ranking as the most influential speaker. Jason Silva ranked second with a high level of activity and engagement with his followers. Steve Clayton ranked third, by sharing consistently sharing content relevant to innovation, with strong amplification and engagement from his followers. Follow the PSFK speakers on Twitter with this list and join in the conversation!

About Influence Ranking

The Influence Ranking tool measures and quantifies the influence of an individual or organization using metrics which analyze five key attributes: Reach, Amplification, Engagement, Content Relevance, and Audience Relevance.

*Vikram Gandhi’s Twitter account is private and was not used in our analysis


Getting the SXSWi Scoop

Posted on March 9, 2012 by Comments Off

Here at Waggener Edstrom, we know that attending a conference is great, but writing the recap? Not so much. We wanted to help everyone have an awesome time at South by Southwest Interactive, so we decided to build a one-stop shop for you to get the biggest news and some help writing those dreaded recaps. Visit to get all the materials explained below and more.

Session Recap Generator

After you’ve attended a session, give us the basic facts and we’ll give you a recap you can send to your boss. Our recap generator prompts you with questions about a session, with examples to help you get started. Fill out the form according to the directions and you’ll be sent a recap right away.


 You’ll receive an email that’s ready to be shared, or easily adapted to your liking.

News & Trending Topics

We’re tracking the biggest SXSW news from the biggest sources in one place. Check out our continually updated news section to see which startups are hot and which brands are having an impact. We’ll help you sift through the noise and find all the news of note.


Social Graph

Social graphing is a research technique used to visualize the connections between the people that use social networks. We’ve used our Waggener Edstrom Social Graph tool to analyze the influence connections on Twitter between the SXSW keynote speakers.

Easy, right? Celebrate the time you saved by sending one of your new SXSW friends a beer through Tweet-A-Beer! 

It’s Not About Creating Community, It’s About What Community Creates

Posted on December 19, 2011 by Comments Off

As we enter the final days of 2011, there’s no shortage of “best of” and “top ten” lists available for every media-related topic under the sun. Some good ones I’ve seen are AdAge’s Top 10 Viral Advertising Campaigns, Mashable’s 19 Biggest Moments in Social Media and WhitePages top names in Twitter infographic on Media Bistro. These lists are interesting and great fodder for cocktail party conversations, but as I read over them I can’t help but think about how most of them fail to capture the single biggest thing that describes the past year. If anything, 2011 was the year of community.

Look at Time magazine’s person of the year. It’s not a person at all, but recognition of the numerous communities around the world that toppled dictatorships in swift, historically unprecedented fashion (due in large part to the technological tools they had access to). We saw the Instagram community grow to 14 million members, sharing 400 million images. Pinterest exploded onto the social media scene late this year. Lifestyle blogs have been around for years, some have gained huge followings, but Pinterest brought a previously fractured community together and enabled them to interact in a way that was not possible before.

One of my favorite communities I discovered this year is It’s the brainchild and passion project of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It is essentially a collaborative production company Gordon-Levitt started in 2004. The group shares video, artwork, songs and stories on the website to be further developed by others, in the spirit of open-source development. How does it actually work? The best way I can think to tell you is to let you sample some of the music. Gordon-Levitt recorded a very simple song titled “Nothing Big” and put it up on Hit Record here, then a user called Spaceship came alone and made it into this.

I first heard of hitRECord as I learn of many interesting things, from an interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. In a video where he discusses the reason for starting this project, Gordon-Levitt speaks to the access to great production resources that he enjoys as a member of the Hollywood elite. He was inspired to start Hit Record in order to bring together talented people from all over the world to produce great work. After seven years the collaboration has produced several works included a multimedia collection of stories and music called “RECollection” and a book “The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories” that was recently named one of Amazon’s books of the month.

The phrase “marketplace of ideas” truly comes to life when we think about what the internet has done for our ability to collaborate, create and innovate as a civilization. We see it in art, we see it in the social innovation work being done by some of the biggest companies and most powerful people getting together to tackle the world’s biggest problems. We talk a lot in the communications industry about creating community, but when it comes down to it, it’s not about creating community; it’s about what community creates.

Image: egorick

The Royal Wedding Guest List Top 10

Posted on April 27, 2011 by 1 Comment

After weeks of speculation about who would be invited to attend the Royal Wedding, the bride and groom released a “selected guest list” which lit up the social universe. Using the methodologies in our Influence Toolkit we monitored online chatter for 24 hours. If the Royal Family based reception seating solely on online influence, this is how it would look. Attention Princesses, Ladies, Earls and Countesses: Make room for the top 10 most influential “elite.”

World Cup: What (and What Not) to Wear

Posted on June 11, 2010 by 1 Comment

World Cup UniformsI’ve been fascinated by international sports uniforms ever since stumbling upon the Palio di Sienna on August 16, 1992. It’s a horse race held twice each year in Sienna, Italy in which 10 horses and bareback riders dress in team colors to represent 10 of the contrade, or city wards. I had ditched my backpacking friends in order to follow a group of rowdy people all decked out in royal blue as they enthusiastically headed towards the town center. What I didn’t expect was the magnificent 17th century spectacle played out before me. Live.

The race itself involved circling the Piazza del Campo three times and lasted no more than 90 seconds. Some of the jockeys were thrown from their horses while making the dangerous turns in the piazza, but it didn’t matter. In the end, The Palio is won by the horse, not the jockey.

But The Palio di Siena is more than a simple horse race. It is the culmination of an ongoing rivalry and competition between the contrada. Rivalries that date back to the late Renaissance. There is passion, pride, and great public spectacle. Sound familiar?

What They’re Wearing
Fast forward to the 2010 World Cup. More than a billion people worldwide, (myself included), will be glued to their TVs, satellite radios, computers and mobile devices to catch the football action from South Africa. Not only will the world’s greatest players be on display, but so will their uniforms. As a visual person and a graphic artist, I’ve always had an interest in what people wear, particularly sports uniforms. And there’s no better stage. The World Cup is the chance for 32 countries to show their chops and bare their colors.

Can I be Tyra Banks here for a minute? Some of the uniforms are really cool. New Zealand’s is simple and sharp and follows the lead of its famous rugby compatriots with a solid all-black logo. Spain, one of the tournament’s favorites, scores with iconic red jerseys and cool blue and yellow outlines and piping. Cote D’Ivoire features an elephant wrapping its trunk around a soccer ball — a very cool jersey for a good team in the hardest group. Serbia has a retro look while not seeming out of style with its classic cross pattern from the sponsor logo to the crest. Netherlands stands alone in orange. And you can never go wrong with pinstripes (ask the NY Yankees), as Paraguay and Argentina have done.

Okay, those are some of my favorites. Now get ready for my “Group of Death” (a term commonly used in the World Cup to denote the toughest collection of teams in one group, but I’ll use here to call out several countries on their attire). Let’s start off with the good old US of A. It’s all for one, one for all as Athos takes the pass from Porthos, who heads it over to Aramis. The shirt has a thick stripe running down diagonally (sans sword). It was inspired by the 1950 design, but it looks more like a Musketeer’s doublet. Slovenia has the Charlie Brown zig zag across the chest; hope they kick a ball better than our favorite Peanuts whipping boy. Portugal, with its heavy use of green and red, brings to mind Grandmother’s Christmas sweater. North Korea? Well, at least they know how to keep a secret. As of my writing this blog post, their official World Cup jersey had not been released yet.

What They’re Made of
Good news, though, for those of us who are eco-conscious. These players will also be sporting some recycled wear. The Nike uniforms are made from recycled plastic bottles. Each uniform is made from up to eight recycled plastic bottles that are melted down and spun into the polyester yarn used. Nike has saved about 13 million of those plastic bottles from landfills in Japan and Taiwan; that’s enough to cover 29 soccer fields. And making recycled polyester from the bottles takes 30% less energy than creating new “virgin” polyester. So I’ll give Nike a pass on any of their aforementioned uniforms in my “Group of Death.” Just like a typical soccer fan, I’m obviously not shy about expressing my opinion.

Who’s Talking About Them
And speaking of expressing opinions, this year’s World Cup in South Africa will really be the first of the social media age. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were in their infancy in 2006, when the last World Cup took place in Germany, but have since exploded in popularity. Social media technologies now connect millions around the world, and it will allow fans separated by distance to celebrate goals, curse referee decisions and critique fashion together online. Join in, and check out our own dashboard to see who’s influencing conversations about the tournament.

The emergence of the super influencer

Posted on May 14, 2010 by Comments Off

Influence – the discussion of who’s really influencing whom about what – is a hot topic in today’s rapidly evolving world of digital  communication. The discussion or debate is of course sparked by the emergence of social media as a new powerhouse for creating and cultivating influence among individuals and organizations.

Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk) may be the most  popular person on Twitter as measured by his sheer volume of followers, but does that really mean he’s the most influential? Is he, for instance as influential with 40-somethings with high levels of disposable income as he is with 20-somethings? Would I look to @aplusk for advice when I want to buy a new prosumer point-and-shoot camera? Or am I more likely to get the advice I want from @canonfanatic?

This debate, of course, is being fueled by the fact that because of social media as a unique and ubiquitous influence amplifier, we are suddenly able to actually measure and quantify influence for the first time. In the past, you could argue, lists of top influencers were really only popularity contests.

Take for instance, Time Magazine’s recent list of the top 100 influencers as determined by popular vote. The top vote getter on the list is Barack Obama, hardly a surprise. Singer/entertainer Lady Gaga shows up as No. 2 on the list. Obviously, they are influential to some, but not everyone.

Waggener Edstrom Worldwide  is among those with more than a passing interest in quantifying influence as it is at the heart of the service we provide. For more than a year, we have offered two products, twendz and twendz pro, tools that help our clients slice and dice Twitter feeds to determine who is influential on topics, products, causes, companies, etc., that they care about.

Now comes a new research paper based on the most exhaustive study ever of Tweets (1.8 billion total). And, it may be the most definitive word yet validating the suspicion that he who has the most followers does not necessarily have the most influence. And, in fact there may be no connection whatsoever, according to the research conducted by the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Germany that looked at 54 million active accounts as of August 2009. Users with high numbers of Twitter followers may be popular, but lack influence – the ability to motivate someone to take a specific action, like make a purchase or support a cause. Among its other findings, the study demonstrated that ordinary users can be highly influential when they specialize in a specific topic such as the H1N1 influenza virus or the Iranian presidential election.

These so-called “super influencers” were influential when they demonstrated their deep knowledge on a particular topic and shared their opinions broadly. The most popular Tweeters absolutely had influence, but of a different kind. It tended to be more broadly distributed across a number of topics and not nearly as deep – therefore arguably less influential when it comes to the kinds of things that marketers care about.

So it is these mostly unknown super influencers who are creating the real waves in the market.  And, they undoubtedly represent a vast new opportunity in the new gold rush to truly understanding and harness today’s changing landscape of new media influence.

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