The new digital influencers

The New Digital InfluencersBlogging is dead Jason Calacanis said a few months ago. Even the New York Times wrote that “Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter”.

What’s happened to the Social Web? It seems like every observer is expecting the fall of the former star-bloggers. And with them, the end of us as digital activists, because of a supposed Social Media fatigue.

Was the NY Times wrong when they claimed in 2006 that “You” was the person of the year? Probably not.

It’s a fact that bloggers are not the only influential digital players anymore. At least three main trends are changing the rules.

The first big phenomenon is that the web as we knew it – open, “flat” – is more and more challenged by a war of applications’ worlds. What’s going on in Android galaxy is not exactly what Apple users experience. So tribes are working in separate states. UX specialists know how a specific design can not only change actions and directions, but a whole culture among a community.

Think about hashtags on Twitter:  even using the same platform does not always mean that you understand codes and rituals. So imagine when there is a technological wall. Among these apps, there are actually new hubs of influence; when you dive into or Tumblr, it’s a brand new myriad of cultures which rises.

Power-users are not only good potential consumers; they actually become the main assets to recruit new members, they attract not only their inner circles but they become magnets, suggested members, real “personae”.

Secondly, broadcast industry is definitely back in business (has it ever been out?). Producing good content is heavily costly, and brands have never been as in demand of good stories and narratives as now. In our attention economy, Twitter has also made some giant steps with its business model, based on the broadcast industry (ie: Pepsi case study).

It’s not bad news as the third trend is that the main value clusters lie in niche communities. New influencers now use a wider variety of channels; their main social platforms are not always blogs anymore, but YouTube channel, accounts.

More than one-time deliverables, new influencers created a new energy to engage their followers: a sort of “daily-telling”. When J.R. artist posts a photo of his work in progress in a specific country, it’s a way not only to maintain a relationship, but to give consistency to a long-term project in which we – his followers – are the stakeholders of the causes we support.

See Danny Boyle wonderful opening ceremony: in the arena, actors with smartphones, shooting audiences with smartphones themselves. There’s a new way to shape authority, reciprocity and scarcity between brands and customers.

That’s the purpose of the presentation we’ve done at French Ideas; there’s a need to better apprehend the new social journey. There have never been as many opportunities to implement pervasive strategies as now. There’s no social media fatigue at the end; probably just a bit of digital laziness.

 Laurent François is MD of consultancy French Ideas.