Influencers are people that have an excessive impact on the behavior of other people they know, come in contact with and interact with. You could say that Oprah is a classic influencer, if she promotes a book, it has a huge ripple effect. However the elites of the media world are only a small fraction of the total number of influencers out there. If you’ve ever read The Tipping Point, you know what this is all about.
The fact of life is that many times for products in the real or digital worlds, influence (aka, word of mouth advertising) can make or break the success of the product or service. As a result, many academics, industry pundits and wannabees have been pondering influence, writing papers and analyzing to the Nth degree what impact influencers have on success.
While reading a paper on social gaming dynamics, they shared this gem:
10% of the total userbase accounted for 50% of the total users.
In other words, only one in ten people determined more than half the audience of the service…wow. As a result of this knowledge it would seem all of us that design products for consumers, business people or anybody would try to figure out who, in the network, had a disproportionately large impact and then do more or less anything to drive their behavior towards achieving this paradigm.
There are many more gems to be found in the paper, “Diffusion dynamics of games on online social networks” if you want to get the whole scoop. You can download it here (warning: pdf file).