Earlier this year I wrote several blog posts about PeerIndex groups and their value in identifying individuals and organisations as ‘influential’ on Twitter in areas such as architecture and construction. Today saw the publication of a new PeerIndex of people or organisations who are seen as ‘authoritative’ on Twitter about sustainability. The launch was hosted, appropriately, in the tCn-sponsored ‘social media lounge’ at UBM’s online event Sustainability Now.
This is an interesting development. Previously, ‘authority‘ was just one of three dimensions, with ‘activity’ and ‘audience’ combined to create a Tweeter’s PeerIndex score, and the profusion of PeerIndex league tables were largely calculated on this combined score (Building Design slightly bucked the trend, by manually sorting its list to produce its own assessment of influencers in the sphere of architecture; blog post). This listing is based on a Tweeter’s authority. According to PeerIndex’s Amanda Jones:
“this list is a sneak peek into functionality that we’ve only made available to tCn. This allows the group to be sorted by influence with the topic of Sustainabilty rather than by overall social media influence.”
This list also fulfils an undertaking made earlier this year by PeerIndex founder Azeem Azhar (post), that PeerIndex would offer “the ability to look at a group ordered by PeerIndex score within a topic” – in this case, sustainability. As I commented at the time, this development will allow more accurate assessment of influence within a profession, help people find others who share their key interests in particular topics, and takes us a few steps closer to being able to use Twitter to help gauge opinion leadership – useful if in PR and marketing we are to identify people or groups whose amplification is valued.
Not surprisingly, the upper reaches of the new sustainability authority listing are dominated by publications. Guardian newspaper Twitter accounts (@guardiansustbiz and @guardianeco) occupy the first two spaces, with BusinessGreen editor James Murray 3rd, Architects’ Journal 5th, The Construction Index 7th, Cleaning Hygiene Today 8th and Builders Merchants News 9th (highest rank UBM resource was its sustainability account, 15th). But individuals also figure prominently: Mel Starrs, a long-standing blogger on sustainability issues and now at PRP Architects, is 13th, for example, while Transition Towns’ Rob Hopkins is 16th.
This underlines a point I make in social media presentations: social media means we are all publishers now (and also all potential broadcasters). Authority is no longer the preserve of traditional print and broadcast media. New online publications are already leaping into the fray, while individuals with knowledge, expertise and a passion for their chosen subjects can also become powerful voices, both in their own right and on behalf of their employers.