Everyone’s an Influencer

influencerIt’s tempting to look at the A-list bloggers, the uber-Twitter users, the people with massive followings, and say, “That’s an influencer!

True – as far as it goes. But what do we say about everyone else?

The same thing.

Yes, someone with a big network and large reach has outsized potential influence because of the audience size. But the person just getting started on Twitter may be a friend of the CEO of the company you will be working at next. That blogger with a relatively modest following may have a cousin who will be President of the United States in 12 years.

And that’s one of the wonderful “soft” returns on Networked Communications. There is serendipity involved. Unpredictable and unanticipated connections happen.

Example: someone who had recently connected with me on Twitter, and with whom I had had little or no direct contact, knew that I was involved in pharma, and when someone from a biotech company approached her with a need, she thought of me and made the connection. Which resulted in a consulting engagement. She was an influencer, even with the most tenuous of connections. And, as regularly happens, we’re now in more regular contact.

Everyone’s an influencer. Including you.

But wait, there’s more…!

As I sit here early on this Friday morning, I look forward to a lunchtime tweetup with some of my networking partners-in-crime here in the North Jersey area. This is our fourth monthly meeting, an event that just started because someone (I think Aimee Evans) said, “We should all meet up!” So we did. And now, as I look forward to a backyard cookout and hangout time with these folks, I don’t really think of them so much as “influencers” any more. They’re colleagues, interesting professionals, moving along the continuum from avatars to initial acquaintances to budding friends. Yes, we may well be able to bring influence to bear to help each other in coming days…I would expect so. But there will be bright eyes, warm hugs, and encouraging words. There will be stories told and laughter shared. And that’s plenty good enough influence no matter what anybody’s network “reach” may be. (Update: picture of the NJ gang below)

NJ tweetup


(Image credit)

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Why I Follow…Jay Ehret

jay ehretHe’s bald. He’s smart. He’s friendly. And he’s not afraid to take a stand and be a little provocative.

I like Jay Ehret (@themarketingguy on Twitter) because he’s for real. Or I should say, fer real, since he’s from Texas. But he’s made me an honorary Texan since I love BBQ, so that really makes him OK.

Jay is active on Twitter, not only sharing valuable links, but also interacting quite naturally. That’s the best combo in my book.

Jay’s blog is the The Marketing Spot, and it’s well worth your while to subscribe and read regularly. Because he’s not some flash in the pan newbie with social media stars in his eyes. He knows the landscape. And he’s a great fellow. Sorry – feller.

That makes Jay my #FollowFriday recommendation for today. That is all.


Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

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Why I Follow…Chris Brogan

EVERYONE follows Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) on Twitter. Well, there is that one fisherman in Papua New Guinea…but everyone else has already found Chris and subscribed to his tweets/blogs, right?

But why? I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ll give you two reasons why I do. First, he exemplifies what social networking is all about. His tweets are a great variety of news, resources, one-on-one conversation, and funny commentary. And I like 140-character humor, which is my second point. The guy is funny. Here’s a comment of his from this morning that almost had me snorting coffee:

“I believe if you get in the “expert” line at the TSA and you’re a doofus, that’s automatic grounds to be tazed.”

If you’re going to get started with social networking, I think one of the best things you can do is find examples. Learn by how others do it. And Chris is unmatched in that regard. Plus he’s a friendly guy in real life, which counts for a lot.

So, that’s my #FollowFriday recommendation for this week. Why do you follow Chris Brogan? Or, better yet, why do you follow someone else? Share on your blog and on Twitter…


Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

Connect with Steve Woodruff

Why I Follow…CK (Christina Kerley)

ckbiopicMany of the people I follow closely on Twitter are folks that I actually “met” through blogging. This month marks my 3-year milestone of actively blogging, and one of those who has been been a supportive cheerleader from early on is my friend CK (@ckEpiphany). She is my #FollowFriday recommendation for today.

Many others involved in social networking can say the same things I do about CK. She’s been a tremendous encouragement to countless folks getting started with social media, and that’s just who she is. An encourager.

I’ve had the privilege of meeting CK in real-life and hanging out several times at blogger events/tweetups, and she is fabulous at bringing people together and connecting them. She’s also an energetic what-you-see-is-what-you-get New York City gal, which is a breath of fresh air.

If you don’t know CK yet, you’re about to be enriched. Her blog is here. Read her stuff and chat her up. She’s a gem!


Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

Connect with Steve Woodruff

Why I Follow…Kirsten Wright

For today’s FollowFriday recommendation, I return to the West Coast to spotlight another person I’ve never met, but certainly exchanged plenty of messages with – Kirsten Wright (@kirstenwright).

Kirsten has recently ventured out on her own as a freelancer; you can find her at Wright Creativity. I had no trouble discerning many months ago that she has a strong entrepreneurial streak (though only in her 20’s), and I like to see the kind of initiative and creative thinking that Kirsten has consistently displayed in her blogging and other networking efforts.

Kirsten open shares and dialogues on-line, as I’m sure she does in person – perhaps one day I’ll find myself in Orange County and finally get to meet her. She also worked with me on the design of my Twitter background, all done remotely, and she showed herself to be very customer-focused in that endeavor.

If you want to have a friend who likes to write and make nice designs, follow Kirsten. She’s a keeper…

Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

Why I Follow…Craig DeLarge

Once again, we come to a Friday on Twitter, and once again, I abstain from making a de-contextualized (is that a word??) list of recommended followers in favor of simply putting the spotlight on one.

Today – fellow pharma social media guy Craig DeLarge (@cadelarge on Twitter).

Thus far, it is rare to find people within pharma companies who openly and transparently network on-line. In fact, I can count the ones I know on one hand. Craig is one of the first I met, and he has been networking quite generously for a long time.

His blog (WiseWorking) is full of interesting ruminations. He tweets as well, but he’s one of those folks whose on-line presence is strongest on Facebook. I kinda use Facebook. Craig knocks it out of the park.

But the best thing is meeting him. He’s a wonderful conversationalist, a smart guy, full of ideas, and very personable. He lives out loud on-line – sharing very openly – and he’s that way in real life too. I had dinner with Craig and another fellow this week and we could have gone on for hours. I’m better off knowing Craig, and I expect that you will be, too. [Oh…and yesterday was his birthday, Facebook tells me. A belated Happy Birthday as well!]

Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

Why I Follow…Paul Chaney

For today’s FollowFriday recommendation, I present the Social Media Handyman – Paul Chaney (@pchaney on Twitter).

Why? Because Paul embodies what social networking is all about. He’s helpful. He shares generously. He’s human. And he’s a lot of fun to talk to when his voice is about gone in a Texas hat shop!

Paul’s a regular guy. One of his recent tweets sums it up well: @HeyAmarettoLove the “I’m over 40 and ok with it” statement on your page. I’m over 50 and, well, sorta ok with it.

If you want to learn more about social media, and get lots of useful links and insights, follow Paul. He’s pretty handy with this stuff…

Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

Why I Follow…Jane Chin

This week, my Twitter “#FollowFriday” spotlight moves again to the West Coast, focusing on my professional colleague (and friend) Jane Chin.

I knew Jane pre-Twitter, as we both worked in the pharmaceutical training/education arena. For a long time, I respected Jane at a distance, not really knowing her as a person but liking the good, entrepreneurial work she was doing.

Then, over the years, we got to communicating more closely, which blossomed through the use of social networking/blogging.

Jane is a thinker, an idealist, someone who is always asking questions and probing the status quo. She’s principled yet evolving. She’s an overcomer, yet very human and willing to share. I could learn an awful lot of cross-cultural information from her, and would love to spend an entire afternoon doing so someday. And, she has an adorable little son!

She might chat up someone else thinking it’s you the first time you meet (yes, there is a backstory…), but that just adds to the fun. Follow @JaneChin. You’ll be glad she’s in your network!

Prior FollowFriday posts

Let’s improve Follow Fridays!

Improving FollowFriday, week 2

Apparently last week’s post on Improving Follow Friday struck a nerve, because it was my most-read post – ever – on this blog! Given the amount of people participating, perhaps we should call this Follow Friday 2.0.

The point: let’s get away from 140-character lists of names, and just focus on one person you recommend, with the reason(s) you follow them.

Last week I proposed we answer the question together: Which one of your Tweeple would you like to go on a wine-tasting with, and why?

Here’s a suggestion for this week: With whom would you like to have an in-depth cross-cultural discussion? Cross-cultural could mean different races, different countries – someone that you are connected to who is quite different from you.

And let’s try one other thing: tag your FollowFriday tweet with #followfriday and #ff2 – that way we can more easily sort through the #followfriday noise and find the entries that give us a fuller recommendation.

I already know who I’m going to recommend – and once again, it’s a West Coast lady! Looking forward to seeing your entries!


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Why I Follow…Becky Carroll

Fellow blogger Becky Carroll (Customers Rock! blog) and I found each other in blogosphere through a mutual attachment to…Ravenswood Winery. I praised their marketing approach on my blog, she wrote about a great customer experience there, and we “met” virtually cross-country. Since that time, we’ve exchanged numerous messages, collaborated onprojects, pursued business opportunities…and finally actually met face to face a couple months back at South by Southwest conference.

But we still haven’t visited a winery together. Something we hope to rectify eventually. In Austin at SxSW, we were able to raise a glass of red wine together, but I’ll feel that the connection has fully hit stride when we meet at Ravenswood winery for a flight of “No Wimpy Wines” Zinfandel together.

Becky is a talented blogger and an all-around great person. Follow her – you’ll enjoy her company, either on-line or in person. Becky Rocks!

Improving Follow Friday

followfriday-zeroTomorrow is yet another day when Twitterers throughout the globe will participate in “FollowFriday”, a well-meaning exercise that started a few months ago (see Tweet Zero —->) of recommending others to follow that has rapidly degenerated into noisy lists of names without attached meaning.

But it can be fixed. Here’s a modest proposal.

followfriday-noiseInstead of seeing how many Twitter handles you can cram into a 140-character post, just recommend one person, and explain why. You can do that nicely in 140 characters, or if you want to be more descriptive (and you’re a blogger), you might want to write up a quick blog post and link to it.

Either way, you’re helping people truly understand why someone is valuable to follow, and it’s a whole lot more complimentary to your subject rather than being one more @name in a list of others.

Even further, I have a suggestion for this Friday. Let’s answer a question together:

Which ONE of your Tweeple would you most want to go on a wine-testing with, & why?

Tell us about this person who’d make a great companion on a tour through a vineyard. What have you “seen” about this person on Twitter (or in real-life!) that makes you wish you could hoist a glass of Cabernet together and chat?

(P.S. Andy Seidl gives some good advice along a similar line here).


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Why I Follow…Thomas Clifford

On Fridays, for my Twitter “#FollowFriday” contribution, I highlight one person that I enjoy networking with via social media (and sometimes in real life also!) Today, it’s Thomas Clifford, otherwise known as “Director Tom” (@thomasclifford).

Tom’s a filmmaker, and an active contributor to the blogosphere/twittersphere. But far more than that, Tom is a great guy. We’ve met face-to-face more than once, chatted on the phone, provided mutual support through tough circumstances, and I can say without reservation that Tom is one of the most valued folks I’ve found using social networking.

When you follow Director Tom, you’ll quickly discover that his interests range far outside of film, into biking, music, and other stuff. But film is his gig (there’s a reason he wears those director berets!), and Tom’s advice and encouragement have been invaluable as I’ve been trying to help my oldest son explore his interest in a film career.

Follow Tom. You’ll be glad you did. And so will he.

Prior FollowFriday posts

Why I Follow…Ike Pigott

Each Friday of late, I’ve sought to highlight one follower that I value, and tell you why. Up today – Ike Pigott (@ikepigott).

Why do I Like Ike? Well, he’s an independent thinker. He enjoys humorous banter. He’s curmudgeonly (can’t imagine what he’ll be like in 25 more years!) He’s smart. And he’s real.

Plus, he’s one of the first Twitter-folk that simply called me on the phone one day, out of the blue…just to talk.

He may be the only person on Twitter that lets you know, in ALL CAPS, when something of yours has inspired his FAVORITED button.

If you’re into squeamish political correctness and have a genetic lack of a funny bone, you probably won’t put Ike in your Top Tweeter column in TweetDeck. But he’s there on mine. And if you haven’t checked him out yet, do so immediately. He won’t bite. Probably.

Prior FollowFriday posts

Why I Follow…Brad Pendergraph

For this variation of the Twitter #FollowFriday meme, I try to highlight people who may be less well-known than the folks whom “everyone” follows on Twitter. I mean, why do I need to explain why I follow Mack Collier (@mackcollier), or Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan), or Darren Rowse (@problogger)? Everyone follows them, and we all know why!

But today, I want to point out one of the (growing number of) pharma social media tweeple, Brad Pendergraph (@bradatpharma). I follow Brad because he does the best he can as a sharer-on-Twitter while working within the regulated industry that is pharma. He makes it clear that he is not speaking for his company, but he also is quite open and transparent – not only about work issues, but also life issues. And he’s a smart guy.

Brad only works 15 minutes away from me but we haven’t met face-to-face – yet. That’ll change soon. We’re both intent on seeing social media adopted in the pharmaceutical realm, and I look forward to collaborating with folks like Brad, and Shwen Gwee (@shwen), and Craig DeLarge (@cadelarge), and others in the pharma space to see new things happen.

Why I Follow…Rosa Say

Fridays on Twitter are all about recommending friends (#followfriday). I like to just recommend one at a time. So today, it’s a favorite twitter-friend from our 50th state, Rosa Say (@rosasay).

Why do I follow this smiling Hawaiian? It’s really very simple. Rosa is unfailingly sweet and encouraging.

Now I’m sure that she has many other redeeming qualities. But when I get a tweet from Rosa, it’s a ray of virtual sunshine. And I need plenty of that.

I’ve not yet had the privilege of visiting Hawaii, though I’ve always wanted to. But I know that if I get the chance, I’ll already have a friend there, to provide planning advice and to give a warm aloha upon arrival. Someone I never would have met but through Twitter. And you should meet Rosa too.

Why I Follow…Shannon Whitley

This is my second edition in a variation on the Twitter “#FollowFriday” meme. Instead of just listing people I follow with no real room for explanation, I’ll make my weekly contribution of pointing to one person I value, and why.

Up today – @swhitely (Shannon Whitley).

As I recall, when I started on Twitter about a year or so ago, Shannon’s tweets were some of those I always found most interesting. He blends some geeky-techno’ness with humanity, helpfulness, business sense, and a keen and sensible vision. I enjoy reading his insights, and we enjoy bantering together in virtual space. I haven’t had the privilege of meeting Shannon in person yet, but here’s the beauty of this medium – I really look forward to doing so, and I have no doubt that conversation would flow very freely. He’s a smart guy and well worth including in your Twitter stream if he’s not there already.


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Why I Follow…Pamela Martin

It’s becoming a tradition on Fridays in Twitterland to tag a bunch of your favorite people for “FollowFriday” – not a bad idea at all, but it has become somewhat overwhelming. Hard to separate signal from noise, and often I can’t possibly discern WHY someone is being followed.

Plus there’s the creeping sense of guilt involved, you know what I mean? If I don’t participate, I’m being ungrateful. And if I do, what about everyone I’m leaving out (it’s only 140 characters, after all!)

So, I thought I’d start a variation on the theme. Just highlight one person on a Friday, and tell you why I follow.

First up: @pamelamartin

Why do I not only follow Pamela, but thoroughly enjoy her tweets? Because she’s very funny, very human, and willing to banter on-line. And, she and husband Frank are one of those amusing and engaging spousal pairs on Twitter.

Then, there’s also SMAST. But you’ll have to follow her to find out what that is. Before the weekend begins.

So, if you want a fun person from Roanoke to follow (note: if you’re ever in Roanoke VA, you MUST have Mill Mountain coffee – my absolute favorite java of all time), it’s Pamela Martin. And if you want a two-fer, @frankmartin is pretty cool too!