“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……
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.
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!