Social Media Elite: Who are they?

They are the ones who lead us. Who inspire us to become better.

As we hit the ever popular #FollowFriday on Twitter it got me thinking. If you were asked to list who the Social Media Elite are who you would choose? And, more importantly, why?  Which of them embraced the platform successfully before anyone else. Able to evolve their business model to tap into of the masses waiting to have their voices heard?

Sure, big names like Chris Brogan and Seth Godin come to mind. But who were the founding fathers, or mothers, of Social Media? Who helped craft the way we do business and engage others on these platforms?

How do we determine elite status? Certainly not by the amount of Twitter followers one has. They are the ones who lead us. Who inspire us to become better. Make changes that benefit not only our own goals but the goals of many. To help without expecting anything in return.

So I ask you, who do you think are the top 5 members of the Social Media Elite? Name 5 more that are relatively new but you feel have the potential to become one of the Social Media Elite in the future.


  1. MegReplyAugust 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm 

    I personally think the execution of Social Media is still evolving, so I’m not sure I would name off anyone as Creator or Crafter of the Art. Yet.

    Also, I wouldn’t consider being a “founder” of Social Media (or one of the first to sign up with Twitter/Facebook/etc.) as criteria for “most influential.” TBH– I’m not even sure “most influential” is criteria for success in Social Media. It truly doesn’t take much authenticity to get a reaction from the masses.

    And I have an incredibly strong, negative vibe towards the word “Elite.”

    ‘course, just my usual 2-cents. :)

    All that being said! Even though I don’t agree with all of her Social Media methods, I’d have to list @SallyHogshead in here. I stumbled across her “Fascination” test a long while ago, and it did everything she said it would. More than fascinate, though, it prompted me to delve into Social Media more.

    I <3 @jonathanfields "Good morning! Who can I help today?" tweets. They make me smile like nothing else. And I totally buy that it's an authentic, real question. : )

    Oh, and @thebrandbuilder got me in touch with your twitter/blog, so I'd say he's pretty influential! (And has good taste.)

    I can count! Just need some more time for #4 & #5. :)

  2. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 20, 2010 at 7:17 pm 

    Great thoughts Meg. I always enjoy your insight. I think we have reached a point in the life of Social Media where there is a clear strategy for success. Whether or not your brand has the goods to back up the strategy is another conversation however.

    I have been using Social Media and blogging in various forms since 2003 and, in all honesty, not much has changed at all since then. Aside from the general public accepting it more. There are new companies and new applications that make engagement easier for us. But the platform has been there in this format since 2003.

    Being first to the game isn’t always best. I guess my question was more, who was the first to orchestrate the way we socialize successfully and had it catch on?

    Influence is different than simply getting a reaction from people. It’s how many people you inspire to make a positive change. How many people you inspire to spread the word. Not how many people read this, comment on that, etc.

    Elite was used as a word to describe ‘top of their game’ as opposed to ‘better than everyone else’. :)

    @thebrandbuilder is a great example. I’m also a fan of @unmarketing. Always out to help, have fun and inspire.

  3. Tom MiesenReplyAugust 20, 2010 at 7:42 pm 

    I’m not sure having “elite status” is the point of Twitter, and I definitely don’t think the early adopters are the only people to put up on a pedestal. I think social media is one of the easiest and most productive ways of reaching CEO’s and high-level thinkers for conversation, direction, and more. It levels the playing field, so to speak, so that elite status doesn’t matter as much as it would in real life.

    As far as great content goes (which should be how “status” on Twitter is measured), I suppose I could pick 5 people who I look to every day for advice. I’d go with @thebrandbuilder, @ginidietrich, @southsideadguy, @faris, and @carol_phillips.

    Tom Miesen

  4. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 20, 2010 at 7:53 pm 

    I agree completely Tom. No one gets brownie points for being an early adopter or by having 50,000+ followers. To me it is based on how you engage with people. What you offer them. How you help. Just being happy to communicate and answer any questions people may have. Inspiring them to take action and improve their life, their business or their experience.

    @thebrandbuilder is a great example. I owe a lot to him for recommending me to his followers numerous times. And you are correct, content is key. Being authentic is key. I am confident that if you read some of my previous articles you will agree.

    I haven’t heard of the others you recommended but I will surely check them out! And, more importantly, thank YOU for joining the discussion. Hope to see you around again :)

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