Brandon Mendelson

Making A Measurable Difference

by Jason Sanders on November 27, 2009 · 1 comment

in Social Media,Twitter

Several months ago I was having a conversation with Brandon Mendelson of SoapBoxIncluded. I’m a fan of Brandon’s work and I’ve learned a lot by watching him organize his charitable efforts (his national Check Early Check Often Breast Cancer Awareness Tour). And I’ve really been paying attention to how he is navigating the transition from charitable work to more for-profit projects like A Million High Fives and Dracula and Kittens.

If you don’t know Brandon, he’s probably the most followed “regular guy” on twitter. He’s amassed nearly 1 million followers. Our conversation eventually turned to the number of twitter followers. At the time Ashton Kutcher’s challenge to CNN to see who would break the million follower mark first was still fresh in our consciousness.

Brandon and I both shared the opinion that the whole thing was a giant PR stunt and that the conclusion that was put forward (A regular guy can have an equal or greater voice than a huge media conglomerate) was a farce. Who could call Ashton Kutcher a “regular guy”? He was able to go to every media outlet and ask for public support in the contest. Billboard’s were purchased, to advertise his twitter account. CNN was constantly blabbering about their duel with Ashton. No “regular guy” would enjoy these types of promotional benefits.

Brandon’s thought was that the contest needed to be reworked to include an actual “regular guy”. If you follow Brandon at all, you probably already know that he immediately challenged Ashton to a race to 5 million followers. Of course since that latest challenge, a few things have changed.

Ashton’s follower count has quadrupled to 4 million.

Brandon has re-worked how he’s using twitter to actively try and push away the “wrong” sort of  follower.  His follower count stands at nearly the same, if not slightly lower (just under a million followers).

All the while, the debate over whether the amount of twitter followers a person has is a meaningful indicator of anything important, with the intellectual and logical musings of thought leaders fighting a furious tide of narcissistic momentum, continued. Most would agree that at a certain point the amount of followers one has inhibits the quality of conversation that can be attained, but everyone still wants more followers, more acclaim, more influence.

Many (including Brandon) have suggested that you can do more with less followers and that the focus should be put on the quality of the connections rather than just on the volume of followers, but up until now, no one had put forth a comprehensive way to test this assertion. I told Brandon about an idea that I had that would literally change the conversation and convert social media to social equity. What if there was a way to measure influence (while making a difference) that transcended the number of followers you might have or the number of lists you’re on? Brandon loved the idea and promised to participate if I could get it organized. To learn more about the idea, check out Measured Impact.

Jason Sanders @ValuePagesGroup
Business Networking Specialist

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