The Top 50 Power Players In Housing [Klout Edition]


“The list doesn’t destroy culture; it creates it. Wherever you look in cultural history, you will find lists. In fact, there is a dizzying array. We like lists because we don’t want to die.” – Umberto Eco

We all love a good list.

You know – The top 500 movies of all time. The best albums ever recorded. The 50 funniest comedians.

The only reason we don’t like lists are if we disagree with them. Or worse – if we are not featured in them.

I had both reactions when reading The Top 50 Power Players In Housing – recently featured in 24Housing Magazine. It’s a list of the supposed great and the good within the Social Housing sector in the UK. The full list is featured here.

First of all – I’m joking. I think lists like this are a bit of fun – no more , no less. I don’t think being featured in 24Housing Magazine guarantees immortality. It’s just interesting to see who your peers rate as influential. And it would be unnatural if we didn’t get a frisson of anticipation as we wait to find out whether our colleagues have been noted for their achievements.

But my main thought on reading the list and hence the reason for writing this post was – “What would Generation Y think of this?”

And what about the new social media super-connectors who have emerged since the walls came down between sectors like housing , health, care and technology.

How many of these people would they honestly recognise? For example – 5 of the Top 10 Power Players have no meaningful social media profile. Surely that is worth some debate?

So I started thinking about what the list would look like if we ranked people according to their digital footprint. How different would the list look if it was voted for by users of social media? And what if Klout, Kred or PeerIndex had created it?

So I’ve produced an alternative. And I’ve used Klout – simply because it’s the most well known social scoring platform.

Now – we could argue all day about the methodology that Klout uses. And we could do the same over the methodology that 24Housing used as well. The point here is not to say Klout is anything more than a vanity metric – I’m just comparing two approaches to measuring perceived influence.

If you want my views on the concept of social scoring or more information about what it is – you can read it in my post The Delicate Balance of Online and Offline Influence.

So how have I approached this?

  • I’ve used exactly the same process as 24Housing. So all the people on the original list were included in my sample.
  • I’ve then checked the Klout scores of the people on the list and other people that I know have an online presence within Social Housing. If their Klout score was higher they replaced one of the original Power Players.
  • I have also – similar to the original – added in people who don’t work directly in housing but who Klout says influence people. So for example, neither Alistair Somerville or John Popham work within the sector – but they are noted as online influencers. I have also included people who frequently share housing related information or take part in debates.

So here you go – the alternative Power Players……

[You are best viewing it in full screen mode or if you have trouble click on this Power Players link.]
So , first thoughts?

Astonishingly – only 14 of the original Power Players remain on the list. This shows divergent views of online as opposed to real world influence.

I’m also struck by the apparent democratising effect of social media. CEOs disappear almost completely and are replaced by people with less seniority – in the traditional sense at least. There is also a higher number of women. I don’t know everybody’s ages but at least 3 of the top 10 influencers are under the age of 30.

If you remove politicians and civil servants only five people remain on both lists – Nick Atkin , Julia Unwin , Matt Leach, Jules Birch and Lara Oyedale.

Is that acceptable in a world where digital presence and engagement are more important than ever? Perhaps it is.

Perhaps we are seeing the emergence of online and offline worlds with different movers and shakers. Or perhaps one represents the present and one represents the more connected and inclusive future of the sector.

Looking forward to your thoughts!

16 responses to “The Top 50 Power Players In Housing [Klout Edition]”

  1. Paul excluded himself as the author but I think he would certainly be counted as the top influencer!

  2. I think the balance of influence shouldn’t just be measured by a scoring algorithm. I think it’s a good guide to how someone uses socmed, and if they are using it well… but given my 4 days off over easter where I didn’t post anything, my score fell… does this mean that I’m less influential because I’m not talking digitally… but I could be influencing by interacting in the face to face way.

    Knowing what Klout does… It’s pretty easy to manipulate it to produce a higher score for yourself… which is concerning when you think potential employers can use your score to give you a job or not.

    I won’t lie, you will see me leap out my chair in the office when I break the 50 mark, but I believe it’ll be because I’m as influential online as well as off line… making the balance between the two.

    1. Thanks Matt – I do agree. And my point is only to illustrate that there are two things going on that – at the moment – don’t connect. By they way I don’t see a problem that if you take a break from social media your score dropping. This prevents people accumulating a large number of followers and never interacting with them. Some people missed out on a place on the list for this very reason.

  3. Your point about 5 of the Top 10 Power Players having no meaningful social media profile is very valid and I agree, is well worth a debate.

    1. Thanks David – it’s interesting isn’t it? A Gen Y colleague of mine this morning actually said he didn’t recognise hardly anyone from the original list. That underlines the importance of leadership visibility in the digital age.

  4. As always Paul your posts are a very interesting read. I’d be interested to know where you appeared in this list? David Cameron at number 1 does make me want to question the validity of the scoring although I think that would be a fruitless debate, partly for the reasons you’ve outlined. As a list I think it provides useful insight into who is successfully connected and it’s good to see Northwards own Pamela Welsh in there at 23.

    1. Thanks Steve. Great that Pamela is in there! If I had included myself I would have placed just behind Shirley Ayres – which is a huge honour. I think I was right to omit myself – I’ve been made aware of a couple of posts on Twitter criticising the blog for being self-serving. That’s exactly what I wanted to avoid! It’s not about me or about Klout – it’s just trying to draw attention to the importance of continued discussion around digital influence – both at personal , organisational and at sector level.

  5. I do not work in the housing sector and I am not a politician so on one level it is slightly strange to find myself identified as a power player in housing. However I am passionately committed to redefining what care and community support looks like in the 21st century and breaking down the walls between housing, health and care. It is no secret that I believe technology is an enabler of more innovative and creative connections and collaborations.

    Social media platforms provide a unique opportunity for conversations, engagement and social learning. But I also understand that challenges to the status quo of offline influence determined by position can be uncomfortable hence the discomfort with the public nature of social media debates. Irrespective of how people view social influence metrics the debate that Paul has started with this post is important. The reality is that we are all looking at a more connected and inclusive future.

    I have been following a few events online today and have been very struck by the recognition across sectors about how social media is shaping conversations and thinking.

    So true! ‏@LCDConf @EmmaJ70, University of Nottingham – “People are having conversations about you with or without your input” #lcdconf

    @StuartBerry1 social media will not prevent the next midstaffs – but it will make it more obvious where the potential areas of concern are. #hc2013

    ‏@YouthNetUK ‘Money is not the answer, conversations are. Bring me a problem, I give you expertise’: new CSR model #cycleofinnovation

    Conversation with funders should be more about “what can we do differently?” not “how can we do more for less” #cycleofinnovation

    Social media has become the number one activity on the web. Mobile technology and social networks provide some of the most powerful tools available today for building a sense of belonging, support and sharing. But it is now a very crowded space with social influence and trusted intermediaries becoming increasingly important elements of “being able to stand out from the crowd” and promoting the values of social good.

  6. Thanks Shirley. I have had an amazing response to the post although there has been some misinterpretation of the intention behind it.

    There are two main themes for me:

    1) What is the correct balance between online and offline presence both individually, and at organisational and sector level? At the moment I sense confusion on this in a number of sectors. The debate seems to be about which is the most important – when to a lot of people it’s actually becoming one and the same thing.

    2) How is social media aiding greater collaborative working? Or are we just taking our , previous , offline silo thinking and replicating it online?

    Your point about “redefining what care and community support looks like in the 21st century and breaking down the walls between housing, health and care” is key to me.

    I’m less interested in the Housing Power Players than who are the creative thinkers connecting housing, health, care etc and using social media for social good!

  7. Klout = exposure on TV + time spent online.
    p.s. last time I looked I had a Klout of 53 but I’m not on your list!

  8. An interesting exercise Paul – well done. Has sparked a lively debate about role of socmed & what influence etc means which is also a good thing to consider.

    Noticeable absence though (as with the so-called Power Players List) of anyone from the south west region: Maybe we’re the Eurovision equivalent of ‘Nil Points’? Maybe too despite a Klout score of 52 those of us down these parts keep heads below housing-celeb level!

    All best @Knightsinwhites

    1. Thanks Nick – I am quite surprised about the SW region as there is a lot of activity. To be fair there were a lot of people around the 50 mark (which let’s remember is excellent – the average Klout score is 40). I could have easily done a top 150 of people with over 40 – which is incredible progression in a short space of time.

  9. Very interesting lists both of them.
    I wonder what influence is and who is being influenced.
    If we asked none housing people we would get a very different list, if we asked customers yet another and if we asked staff yet another. I think it is important to value people for what they bring in whatever way they bring it .
    For example one of my nominations not appearing on any list is a lady very influential in the area where she works – who has changed the quality of life of people living in the homes provided by her organisation. She has been instrumental in creating employment opportunities in a sustainable way, she has created real opportunities for women in construction and is very low profile. she is without doubt a major influence in the lives of those who are now employed, living in good quality homes in one of the most deprived cities in England.
    Let us not forget that influence can be delivered in many ways not just by talking but also by doing

  10. That’s a great comment Karen and I can’t disagree with anything you have said. Influence is one thing. Making a difference is another.

  11. […] the first Power Players 50 list was published I was surprised and complimented to be included.The list was intended as light […]

  12. Reblogged this on Waterway Realty's Weblog and commented:
    Top Players in Real Estate and Housing, Finance, Mortgages, Sales and Leasing.

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