Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wielding Influence Is Important

One of the best things about the new revolution of web services is the openness they provide, so it's clear to see in each system who are the "influencers".

pc4Media discusses this in a story about a conversation they had about their social event service called Whizspark.

Why is openness and influence important? In Myspace you can see who is popular, so if your goal is to get more friends and grow your Myspace popularity, you want to become friends with the "influencers" who are popular. You can see that directly in the system. Or a classic example is with forums. For a forum that displays post count or user ratings and makes that information open, you can see which forum users are the most active and well respected. It's easier to trust the information coming from these people based on their influence.

With GoalShare, the openness and ability to spot the influencers is important. Each user will be able to see the goals of other users, as well as what resources they've recommended, and see the advice they've given others. This makes it easy to spot who to trust and contact for help achieving your goals.

Imagine you want to buy a house and turn it into a rental. Where can you currently go to get help with that goal? You can research it on the web, buy a book, or hope you're lucky enough to find somebody you know who's done it. With GoalShare, you'd have instant access to a resource that shows you who is working on this goal, who's completed the goal, what books and web sites are most recommended as being helpful, and to see if anyone has emerged as an influencer or expert in this area to tap into their knowledge.

That seems powerful to me.

Additionally, I see this as a good opportunity for businesses, consultants, and authors to expand their reach and grow their business by providing expertise in achieving certain goals. If the author of a real estate investment book wants to be a part of GoalShare and share their knowledge in exchange for being able to raise the profile of their book, it will be allowed. As long as it's not overly blatant and promotional, and in those cases it will be easy for other GoalShare members to point out that someone isn't looking out for the true interests of others.

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