The ITSM Online Influencers list has created a level of controversy, particularly regarding those omitted. James West looks at whether the list has done more harm than good.
It was obvious at the time of creating the Top 50 ITSM Online Influencers list that it would be generate some heated debate. The article that prefaced the list explained the limitations of the ranking system in an attempt to pre-empt the questions from the community. However, many of the questions asked are relevant and worth reviewing here.
Since it launched, the list has been viewed over 2000 times. Yes, many clicks are born of curiosity rather than professional interest, while others came from those keen on the competitive element of ranking people. While some think these drivers make the list ingenious, I believe that the buzz has helped the list fulfil its real purpose: expand the ITSM online community and allow everyone to participate. I will gladly admit that I discovered a number of new people to follow during the process, and if others have done the same – making new contacts and encouraging people on the fringe of the ITSM world to participate – then the list has succeeded.
Another issue raised is that some on the list are not strictly influential, just very prolific. True, posting links to ITSM stories found by keyword searching news sites is not the same as generating original content and participating in debates, but unfortunately this is an unavoidable limitation to the ranking system. To police people on grounds of what’s relevant becomes a very subjective and dangerous pursuit. It is ultimately the decision of the person choosing to follow those on the list if they carry on doing so. The list is not designed to judge output, but to provide a shortcut to those people in the ITSM sphere.
Of greater concern are those who are not on the list. Having written about ITSM for 12 years, I understand the offline influence of the people who, for various reasons, have not yet chosen to get involved with Twitter. Here is a shortlist of those not on the list who are hugely important to the ITSM world:
Ivor McFarlane @ivormacf
Sharon Taylor @ITSMqueen
Don Page @don_page
Barry Corless @itsmfUKChair
Malcolm Fry @malcolmfry
There are certainly others not included (please add your suggestions below or on the list itself), but these are the people who stand out as key figures in the development of ITSM. Yes, bases were and are covered by calling the list “Online Influencers”, but it is a huge shame that we can’t include these people.
Should we then disband or ignore the list? Not at all, we will be closing the Top 50 next week, to be revisited next year, when hopefully more of these names will be included. We can all play our part in encouraging these key figures to participate in the online community. Make sure you follow each of them, message them questions and words of welcome, and hopefully they will start to see the value in Twitter and add their own contributions.
If this idea sounds outlandish, it is worth noting that it doesn’t take long for those people without a high enough peerindex rating to make amends. Since the list was launched, three highly important offline figures have increased their Twitter activity and have since been added:
Howard Kendall @howardkendall
Noel Bruton @noelbruton
Ben Clacy @itsmfukceo
All are very welcome additions and will contribute mightily to this burgeoning ITSM online community. Let’s hope more will have joined when we revisit the list in 2012.
Make sure you follow everyone on the list and suggest anyone who should be included. The Top 50 will close on Friday 10th June when we will announce the final standings.