Peer Index Power League: the good, the bad and the ugly

Another week, another way for PR people to grade and self-congratulate themselves with a popularity league table – this time with Peer Index. OK, that’s a little disingenuous. After reading Andrew Bruce Smith’s blog post about how he created the PR league table and it went crazy with dozens of people wanting in and getting 4,000 views, I’ve slightly softened in my views of the PR people league table syndrome.

Here’s my thinking about the Peer Index list and league tables in general:

The Good

  • The Peer Index system is a lot more sophisticated from a scoring point of view that just having a league table of followers or even the Klout scoring methodology (which I’ve not looked into with any great detail, but seems to be regarded as dubious by many commentators)
  • It rewards factors other than how many followers you’ve got, with things like regularity of tweeting and influence (the comparison feature in your dashboard is a useful tool)
  • It’s a good way of identifying people to follow. I’m probably following about 1/3 of the people on the list – maybe I should follow more?
  • It’s an interesting case study for Andrew creating and then spreading the word for this type of list
  • It’s based on more than just Twitter, but includes other platforms, such as LinkedIn and Quora too

The Bad

  • There appears to be a bit of a bias towards Twitter, though the algorithm is still a bit of a mystery. Someone could be hugely active and influential on LinkedIn, for example, and not even use Twitter. They’d end up getting a very low ranking
  • It’s incomplete. There are hundreds of PR people in London alone – many very interesting, I’m sure – that don’t feature. Andrew’s done a great job curating his list, but probably like when Ste Davies did something similar a few years ago, I imagine is wondering what he’s bitten off
  • It’s there to be abused. I’m sure as I’m typing this, there are people working out how to work their way up the list.

The Ugly

  • I can’t help but feel that the whole league table thing is just attention seeking. I’m not saying everyone in the top 10 is doing this and there’s no suggestion that Andrew created it for that purpose (it fact it’s arguably more likely amongst mid-tablers wanting to work up the list), but it does seem to be a particular quirk amongst PR people. You don’t see dentists, graphic designers, or even journalists for that matter, creating these things
  • …but having said that, there’s a human need for recognition. The irony being, I’d rather be on the list than not.