Blogs at the heart of truth-telling networks

Once again Evelyn Rodriguez writes pretty thought-provoking commentary with a post yesterday on the topic of blogs as truth-telling networks.

She quotes a key passage from Hardball: Are You Playing to Play or Playing to Win by George Stalk and Rob Lachenauer:

…Employess, operating out of self-interest, often shade the truth when they pass information upward. So, to play hardball, you must develop your own truth-telling network, or you will never be sure what the heart-of-the-matter issues really are. Truth-telling networks are very personal and largely informal, and may include colleagues, customers, advisors, friends and family members.

Evelyn argues that blogs and other customer-generated media online are a highly efficient format for the creation of global truth-telling networks especially among opinion-leaders. And, she says, corporations and organizations would be insane to ignore them:

Should you be doing some mapping of your target market’s opinion leaders, don’t ask: Are you an expert or an opinion leader? Ask instead: Who do you go to for X? Or, whose opinion do you seek for Y? (And note that sometimes these aren’t the experts but they’re go-to-people. Turns out these aren’t necessarily the smartest people, but ones that are most willing to help others be smarter.) In social network analysis, this is called a prestige mapping. Unlike a lot of social network analysis, you only need to survey about 15% of the population to get a good sense of the key opinion leaders.

Paying attention to blogs at a minimum lets you be a fly on the wall on some pretty important conversations happening among opinion leaders’ truth-telling networks. If you’re savvy, you listen, learn and participate in the conversations.

Evelyn’s post illustrates the concept of Alan Nelson’s Law of The Many and gives blogs a sharp focus as a key influencer tool for corporate decision-makers.

Yet more required reading.

Crossroads Dispatches | Blogs as Truth-Telling Networks