Mapping Lines of Influence

Missed the beginning of the third talk while searching for watts – now I’m off in another room with a video feed and watts.

After a presentation about political linking, we get to hear from the very first woman: Lada Adamic. Needless to say she’s actually talking about social influence of linking. She starts with a reference to a viral marketing scheme, then goes on to follow the spread of links to Giant Microbes. Then there’s a discussion of a meta-blog thread- her main point is that as a network it stayed within a community.

Then a political blogs distribution, showing political people don’t link to each other.

Next is the CEO of, Tony Conrad. He talks about using temporal attributes as a way to track some of the metrics of influence.

Up next is Matthew Hurst, who at Nielsen BuzzMetrics maps how people perceive companies. He attempts to infer communities from blog links.

When he gets to the core of the blogosphere, and rates them according to their inbound links. Looks like a big ball of string and has the usual suspects.

Mark from MSFT points out that observation leaves trails in the net vs. no record in meatspace. He shows patterns of replies in newsgroups. Indicates there’s not very equivalent participation. Talks about answer person- 2/3 of everyone that participates in usenet post once and never again. 2% are folks that reply to everyone (he calls them answer people) that live in certain ecologies – q&a web boards. Also talks about dissussers.

Took a brief break to post another part of my biomass-for-fuel schtick.

Tom Conrad made the point earlier that the best way to get noticed by his searchiness is to stay monofocused on one topic. This probably explains why he has such a simple view of what blogs are about (news, tech, politics). Might also explain why I’m off the radar 🙂

Now trying to figure out Consumers with blog analytics… to me that’s as boring as dirt, but whatever.

Microsoft fellow suggests that Personally Identifiable Information is “plutonium” for MSFT and they try hard to avoid it.

I guess the bothersome thing about this discussion was that “influence” stayed implicit. From what I can tell “influence” revolved around links created after a link was created. This is a fairly interesting notion, but it doesn’t address the issue of how people are influenced behaviourally by web content.

One thought on “Mapping Lines of Influence

  1. hi ethan – thanks for mentioning sphere in your post. i thought the conference was very interesting, lots of cool discussion on the value of links.

    being monofocused does help a blog to build an audience. building an audience helps a blog post to be recognized as a highly relevant piece of a conversation. it also is a key variable in being recognized as one of our Featured Blogs on a topic.

    but in sphere blog search results (not the Featured Blogs section in our site), you can get noticed in a lot of different ways. in search results, it doesn’t really matter if you’re monofocused or not. as an example, if you’re post initiates a conversation, that gets recognized in our algorithm. if you’re post gets widely read or commented on, that helps too. there are lots of checks and balances in our algorithm to help make sure that new voices can surface tot he top.

    thanks again for mentioning us – i’d appreciate hearing your feedback on our site and especially, the sphere it bookmarklet. best,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s