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The Power of Reputation: The Brian Solis Effect

My mind has just been blown. First let me start by saying this - I think Brian Solis is brilliant.  Not that obtuse, out of reach brilliance reserved for the Einsteins of the world, but real, everyday, brilliance. Brian has the uncanny ability to break down ideas into easily digestible bits, and present them in such a way that you smack your forehead and say "I knew that to be true, I just couldn't articulate it."  I love his books, I admire the way his brain works, and I love reading the content he publishes right here on Social Media Today.  The 6 Pillars of Social Commerce

Which brings me to the point of my post:

This afternoon I noticed something that I've suspected before, but never really had it so clearly illutstrated for me until now.  Apparently Brian created a blog post called The 6 Pillars of Social Commerce: Understanding the Psychology of Engagement.

At the time of my viewing Brian's post it only had 1 read (it had just been posted), yet it had already been shared numerous times (176 times to be exact).

Which begs the question -

Do people automatically share content that someone of Brian's stature creates before reading it?

And if so - has he built a reputation so air tight that it happens with all of the new content he generates?  

I'm not really sure where I stand on this, but I do know it's a fascinating observation, and I'm interested in hearing from you. What do you think is happening here?   

I also find it hugely ironic that Brian's post that was minimally viewed, and hyper shared contained content that described the very behavior that the post experienced.  Like I said in my opening line - my mind has been blown.

Maybe this is just our social media version of the Halo Effect?  Certainly well deserved, and most certainly fascinating. Brian - I'd love to hear from you on this.


Join The Conversation

  • Apr 12 Posted 5 years ago amydmello

    To maintain you reputaion in the office you habe to prove yourself.. you should not please you boss for evrythning  like this guy do in this video


  • FeldmanCreative's picture
    Apr 7 Posted 5 years ago FeldmanCreative

    Please RT this: auto RTing is bogus, regardless of the reason for doing so. It violates what social media and content sharing is supposed to be for.

  • Apr 7 Posted 5 years ago johntlawlor

    Brian IS brilliant and I have always enjoyed his social science perspective. I always read what he writes, but I am inclined to agree with you that there are no doubt many people who simply trust the "intellectual influence equity" of Brian's brand. That is another conversation and frankly, not that unusual with our culture's behavior. It no doubt speaks to the trust in Brian's brand.

  • Mac Ocampo's picture
    Apr 6 Posted 5 years ago Mac Ocampo SQB

    Totally agree with @rohnjaymiller with this: "Some people immediately re-tweet the SMT tweet without reading the article because they want to raise the quality of their own Twitter feed."

    This is where the value of hashtags is at work, Brian Solis' posts are always related with all things social, so people or bots will auto-RT every post without even actually reading it. IMHO, it's one content curation method that is a double-edged sword. For instance, if a bot retweets a post about Facebook or Pinterest, that article might contain useful tips or a simply an article where people are complaining about their privacy or copyright issues. So while auto-retweet tools are convenient, curation should be done with human supervision. :)

  • Les Dossey's picture
    Apr 6 Posted 5 years ago Les Dossey


    It's all a grand illusion. It's the 'I'm a member of the Herd" effect.

    When I follow and read someones material like @briansolis and @rohnjaymiller the only value i redeem from it is when I take action. 

    If i tweet or RT it, it may improve my klout or attrract a few more followers but in the grand scheme of things followers without true human connection, conversation and relationship = wasted life and creativity that could have been directed at something relevant.

    I'm learning way to late from @sethgodin to be selective and committed to one or two things because in the grand reality that's all I can be really, really good at anyway.

    I'm committed to building powerful relationships with the right people by increasing my value to them and perhaps nothing is more valuable than exposing the illusion.

    Love your writing style and mostly love your views...

    Keep up the great work

    Only the Best,

    Les Dossey
    Now Business Growth




  • Apr 6 Posted 5 years ago David Bookout

    ~ Chris; love your observation and inquiry !! may i offer that this is, perhaps, only, an electronic manifestation of normal human behavior ? the need to associate with "the latest", or "the best" anything is far from new, right ! ? then, there is the fact that technology has increased the rate that everything happens, perhaps, also increasing the importance of "trustred brands" ! ?...

    a different, and also interesting phenomena, i think; is the difference between knowledge ( something exists ), understanding ( how it works ), capacity to act ( being able to do ) and mastery ( being able to reinvent ) and where people locate themselves along this continuum.

    would love to hear your specific thoughts, or anyone else's, on these thoughts !!!...

    thanks, for posting this thought provoking piece ! - David

  • rohnjaymiller's picture
    Apr 6 Posted 5 years ago rohnjaymiller

    Aha! We've both noticed a form of social media "gaming."  I'm writing about this for a presentation as I write this response.  It's Auto-retweeting that's to blame. 

    I post at Social Media Today about once a week.  I've written some posts that have gone ballistic ("Delete Your Klout Profile Now!") and many more that gather less than 1,000 page views.  

    After a post of mine goes up I'll check back an hour or two later to see how it's doing.  Usually there are 150-200 page views.  BUT at precisely that same moment there are 125-150 re-tweets.  

    If all these re-tweets come from people who've actually read the post and been impressed enough to re-tweet it, that would mean almost 90% of the readers were passing it along--which is absurd.  

    A few days later things simmer down and I end up with 1,000 views and about 200 re-tweets in total.  When I analyze the progress of the post on Topsy I can see some RT's of RT's, but a substantial majority are people re-tweeting the post directly from the Social Media Today feed on Twitter.

    What's happening is either automated or hand processed auto-RTs--a tweet goes out on the Social Media Today feed on Twitter (with more than 100,000 followers)  Some people immediately re-tweet the SMT tweet without reading the article because they want to raise the quality of their own Twitter feed.  That's it.  SMT tweets, they re-tweet.  As a result there's a RT but no page view on SMT. 

    These people, I believe, look for a few dozen sources of high quality material like SMT and every single time a post is released, they immediately re-tweet the post.  I can find people who post 50-100 times a day.  Even if these people did nothing but sit in front of their computer all day hunting for material they couldn't possibly read, evaluate, and then re-tweet that number of links.

    A recent article in AdAge by Jack Krawczyk, and Jon Steinberg looked at articles passed along via BuzzFeed and StumbledUpon and found that the average number of people who visit an article based on a recommendation by another person is only nine people. Real viral pass-along influence happens in very small numbers between people who know each other.  

    Brian Solis probably gets huge pass along traffic numbers from people who actually read his content.  But as you note (and my own observations confirm) there are a lot of people out there who are re-tweeting without reading just for the sake of improving the quality of their Twitter feed. 

    It's the "I'm A Genius By Association" effect.

  • Apr 6 Posted 5 years ago

    I will say that the article you referenced was an excellent read; however, if auto generated like remcojanssen so stats it diminshes the value of the article.  To become viral it must truly be read and shared with the intent to add value so something can be gained from it from additional readers.  I would love to understand how much is truly autogenerated because people want to read and view information that was truly 'Approved' or 'Liked' by whom shared the post.

  • remcojanssen's picture
    Apr 6 Posted 5 years ago remcojanssen

    It just shows you that a lot of people use ifttt, Google Reader, Twitterfeed or other autoposters to share his content automatically. Automated curation is what makes social media less social, this will disappear eventually once people realise these people aren't real people nor curators, but just plain and stupid bots. It's just silly behaviour, but who am I to judge?

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