You have arrived at the web home of Noah Brier. This is mostly an archive of over a decade of blogging and other writing. You can read more about me or get in touch. If you want more recent writing of mine, most of that is at my BrXnd marketing x AI newsletter and Why Is This Interesting?, a daily email for the intellectually omnivorous.

February, 2009

The Problem with Concentric Circles

Ana hits on something that's been bothering me for awhile: All these graphs about social media influence that show a bunch of concentric circles are wrong. She wrote: "Aside of the fact that this kind of thinking is oversimplified and wrong for the obvious reason (a person who's a flickr follower is also a twitter follower is also a facebook friend, so these circles are hardly ever concentric), there is a more important one. Interpersonal influence is not broadcast. Simply put: how influential you are going to be does not only depend on you, it depends on how influential your friends are. That is, your influence is the outcome of their network even more so than yours. That applies to plain scale (how many people are in their network), but also on scope (who they are). So, hard as it may be on the ego, you are not at the center." (I added in the comments that the subject matter of the communication had a lot to do with influence as well.) I wrote a bit about this back in 2006, specifically pointing the confusion in these types of graphs between reach and influence.
February 25, 2009
Noah Brier | Thanks for reading. | Don't fake the funk on a nasty dunk.