The Fickle World Of The Influencer List

It’s been a funny old week for me in the online world. First MotorTorque, which I curate, was named the 25th best Twitter influencer in the UK automotive industry, then a marketing blog that I write was named in the top 200 ad/marketing/PR blogs (Clarkson-like pause)… in the world.

That’s all quite heartening especially as the latter is little more than a hobby that I do virtually nothing promote (although I’ll no doubt be bumped off the latter next month, when 455 Soho-based bloggers submit their own websites to Brand Republic).

But, really, what do these lists tell us? Very little for my money. The Twitter auto industry list was compiled using Klout (a Twitter metric I have little faith in) and used some other UK auto industry-specific peer group list I didn’t know existed.

Those not on the latter didn’t find their way onto the list – and a fair few people rather took their bats home. Understandably to some extent; the list had Automotive PR (list compiled by… Automotive PR) at the top and featured a knowledgeable, friendly guy who does not work in the car industry in the top ten.

While it was an interesting experiment I’m not sure what we learned from it, beyond the thin skins of some journos. The last word on the whole affair, which somewhat dominated auto journo gossip last week, was this brilliant Downfall skit by Sam Burnett.

On the second front there’s an explanation of a more thorough methodology behind the Brand Republic 200 that appears, at first glance, much more comprehensive. However, some of the blogs that have been included haven’t been updated for a year. One has not been updated for over three years. Quite how they got through the filters I don’t know.

People compiling lists like this always add plenty of caveats to them. They’re not about quality or personal favourites and no list is comprehensive. Still, they’re likely to cop a lot of flack – from people not named in the list or unhappy with results or those who simply don’t think the numbers stack up; both lists I’ve recently featured in have qualified on both counts.

So, what’s in it for the compilers? Plenty of free, cheap publicity – at least 50 or 200 retweets or Facebook shares from those in the list and more from those wanting in – and an opportunity to style oneself as an industry expert. Cheap and easy copy…

And what of those named in these lists? Well, they’re a nice little ego boost but not much more besides in my opinion. MotorTorque gained a few Twitter followers and my advertising blog had a very small increase in traffic – an inbound link here and there is always good too – but appearances on these lists amounts to little more to flattery.

Having said all of that I’ll be fuming next month when I’m not placed. Such is the fickle world of the influencer list.