Following this year’s 24housing Power Players list, housing’s Twitter fraternity have spent the last six weeks voting for their top social media influencers working in and around the sector. The man behind the list – Paul Taylor, Bromford’s innovation coach – does the honours.
Just over a year ago I published a blog post – ‘The Top 50 Power Players In Housing [Klout Edition]’. It was meant as a humorous take on this magazine’s Power Players list.
But unlike the original list, influence was only measured according to social media activity. It used a tool called Klout, which claims to gauge how influential you are online. As well as a bit of fun it was also done as a more serious exercise to gauge how the great and the good of social housing measure up in our increasingly digital world.
The results were stark. Apart from politicians, only five people remained on both lists. The democratising effect of social media was apparent. CEOs largely disappeared, replaced by people with less seniority.
The list was incredibly popular so we repeated it – in a joint production with 24housing. Shirley Ayres, founder of the Connected Care Network and an active social media user, has acted as adjudicator to make the process as transparent as we can.
For 2014 we made some changes:
» We removed politicians to focus on ‘real people’ working in and around the sector.
» We added an online vote, which proved so popular nominations were received for over 140 people.
» We continued to use Klout but added a system called PeerIndex – which measures how people drive conversations on social media.
» We have given additional points for people behind influential blogs and campaigns.
After much hard work we’ve now narrowed it down to our final 50. So what does it tell us?
For a start, there is far greater overlap between the official Power Players list and the ‘alternative’ version. The number of people on both lists has doubled. This includes Tony Stacey, Julia Unwin, Nick Atkin, Jules Birch, Alison Inman, Kate Davies, Mick Kent, Michelle Reid and Lisa Pickard. This surely indicates positive progress.
Social media appears to be creating a more accessible sector with fewer silos and broader thinking. At least half of the top 10 is populated by people outside housing. Arguably no-one has influenced housing communications more than Helen Reynolds (No.1). Equally John Popham (2) and Anne McCrossan (5) have shown that you don’t have to work in the sector to make a huge impact upon it.
There’s more diversity too. There are 21 women in the list and they account for seven of the top 10 places.
The journalism and the blogging communities were recognised for how they shaped the narrative in a turbulent year. 24housing’s Jon Land did originally feature in the list but graciously ruled himself out.
Recent campaigns that are challenging the negative media image of social housing have made an impact with places for those involved in SHOUT and Council Homes Chat. Michala Rudman has stormed the top 20 for her campaigning work. Additionally Adrian Capon who organised #HousingDay received a lot of votes and narrowly missed out on a top 50 place.
The interest in this year’s list emphasises the opportunity we have to take our work to a wider audience. Digital and social technology can help build relationships and challenge the perceptions about people who live and work in social housing.