What is a measure of authority on Social Media?

This is more of an observation and some social commentary than a definitive choice in what social media authority service to use. Perhaps that is because there are too many flaws in the currently available social media authority figures.

Essentially my question around social media authority is this: Does a large Twitter following (as an example) automatically make you a subject matter expert on social media? Conversely, does a low Twitter following mean that you are a novice on all things social media?

twitter followers

Let’s look at any number of the self-proclaimed “social media guru’s” practicing social media in the world today; by and large all of them have really high Twitter followings. But does this really mean that they are the penultimate experts on social media? Or does it mean that they just have a lot to say? Maybe they have controversial opinions that spark debate? Maybe they are cool people to hang around and people follow them in the hopes that their coolness rubs off?!

My opinion is that while you definitely need to understand your conversation medium; such as social media; before you can call yourself an expert I don’t believe that a large social following is a measure of expertise.

It is in this area that I feel platforms such as Klout (and others) are falling short. Klout measures the interaction around certain social media events (events such as tweets, posts, etc.) and then analyses how often these are commented on or shared and by whom. Depending on the comparative reach of each account that shares your content; your original post is then deemed to be more or less influential – in short a bearing on your online reputation.

While this measure does go a long way to establish a social media reputation; I feel that there is still work to be done in truly understanding what makes a true reputation. Talking more about a topic; spewing out social statistics and having a greater following does not translate directly into measurable expertise.

Reputation is build from constant and replaceable success around a specific area as well as the demonstrable insight and ability to solve complex problems.

What are your thoughts about large followings being a measure of expertise and reputation?

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