You you have a kajillion friends on Facebook and you want to spread the word about something interesting, something newsworthy, some tidbit of information you think others will want to know. The more friends the easier it will be to spread the word. Right? Well, not exactly.
According to a Fast Company article today: The most influential spreaders of news aren’t necessarily those with the greatest number of online friends or followers. Many people have believed that the people with the most connections hold the keys to spreading new information best through a social network. But recent research has shown this is not necessarily true.
Instead, the structure of a network and where people are within it are just as important. Someone who’s not as well-connected as you, but sits in a strategically significant spot within a network instead–though their influence may seem less, it could actually be much greater: They might be friends with the right sort of people.
Twitter found similar data (check it out in Fast Company) regarding connecting people to information through Twitter: Those who use social language (“we,” “you”) have more followers than those who self-reference (“I”). (You’ll get more followers with less personal tweets.) So what are the ramifications for you with this bit of research? It’s who you know, not how many you know.
If you’re using social networks professionally:
Try to attract the key followers among the horde, with enthusiastic participation in the network, and good onwards communicating power.