Lists… lists… lists. Everyone is making lists.
And among the social media elite, it’s always nice to be mentioned on someone’s Top 10, Top 50, Top 100 or Top “whatever” list. After all, if someone else says we are influential, well we must be influential!
Whether it’s Forbes annual Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers list (of which I have not appeared. Too bad, so sad) or the more recent Top 100 Digital Marketing Experts put out by Adspringrr (of which I was somehow listed as #2… go figure), we have a tendency to enjoy making lists.
Let’s face it. Perception is reality. And when someone influential says YOU are influential (as the Denver Business Journal did of me earlier this year), it’s silly not to use it in your marketing going forward. If Forbes lists me in the future I’ll be sure to say “Look at me! Forbes thinks I’m awesome! Woot!” And then I’ll go back to being just me.
In reality, it’s really all just blah-blah. If you take it seriously you might actually begin to believe your own press. We are all influential in our sphere and ranking us as somehow more influential than others is little more than a popularity contest.
My answer to all the craziness is to provide the definitive list of the Top 50 Social Influencers in the World for 2014. Well, in MY world anyhow.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at a list and thought, “who is THAT person? I’ve never heard of them.” Well, obviously they are influencing someone. But I wanted to put together a list of people who are influencing ME. Some influence me in business. Others inspire me. And others make me laugh. Some I’ve known a very long time. Others are new friends. Regardless, while I observe much of what comes across my news feed, these fifty tend to stand out. I recommend you follow, get to know, and engage with them.
But before I start, let me just get this out there first. I know a LOT of people. Facebook has me connected directly to over 1500 people. There are over two hundred thousand people who follow me through Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, my Facebook fan page and other venues.
It’s impossible to make a list and NOT hurt someone’s feelings.
So, to those of you who feel left out, here’s a tissue. You are all wonderful people and if we are connected it is for a reason. Either we are family, friends or you owe me money. (Or more than one of those… you know who you are and you will not have a chance at my list until you pay me back.) There’s only so much bandwidth and I guarantee there are many more of you I would like to list. It’s just not going to happen with this particular list.
So if it makes you feel any better, make a list of your own and exclude me. You can call it the “Top 50 Coolest People in the World and Notice that Joel Comm isn’t One of Them”. It’s sure to be a hit.
Are they in a particular order? Maybe. Maybe not. I report, you decide.
I have opted to link to Facebook pages for easy reference.
- Sheila Simkin
- Ted Rubin
- Bryan Kramer
- Robert Scoble
- Sam Levin
- Tim Washer
- David Hancock
- E. Brian Rose
- Lori Ruff
- Chris Voss
- Viveka von Rosen
- Chris Brogan
- Kevin Knebl
- Zach Comm
- Brian Carter
- Ken McArthur
- Gene Pimentel
- Dan Nickerson
- Kim Garst
- Dave Taylor
- Rachel Martin
- Matt Clark
- Dave Cox
- Matt Frary
- David Perdew
- Michael Stelzner
- John Lee Dumas
- Ray Edwards
- Jason Moffatt
- Shawne Duperon
- Mari Smith
- Carrie Wilkerson
- Jen Groover
- Ken Surritte
- Dino Dogan
- Steven Memel
- Ben Adkins
- Jennifer Walsh
- Andy Grignon
- Lou Mongello
- Pat Flynn
- Kristopher Jones
- Kris Dehnert
- Lewis Howes
- Warren Whitlock
- Sean Vosler
- Brian G. Johnson
- Deb Cole
- Natalie Collins
- The Rest of My Friends!
For better or worse (mostly better), my mother has been very influential in my life. A free-spirit with a passion for adventure and travel, Mom wondered what led me to buy a computer at the age of sixteen. Now she knows the answer and has a blog of her own at TravelsWithSheila.com.
Ted is a guy who walks the walk… usually in colorful socks! A true social influencer, Ted gives talks (not TedTalks, but it is Ted talking. Confused? I know I am.) He teaches and lives relationship, coining the hashtag #RonR, which means “return on relationship”.
There are some people that you connect with the instant you meet them. Bryan Kramer is like the kid brother I never had. Sometimes I want to play ball with him and other times I’d like to beat him silly with a nerf bat. Any way you slice it, you’ll be hard-pressed to meet a nicer guy. Oh, turns out he’s also kind of smart. Yeah, just a little.
Scoble. The name stirs images of a crazy dude wearing Google Glass in the shower. People either love him or hate him, but I can’t find a single reason to do the latter. A leviathon in the social and tech space, Scoble is just a regular guy who loves technology, people and having a good time. His wife is super-nice, too!
Sammy is a more recent friend who does public relations for Harman JBL. I’ve gotten to know him and enjoy watching his shenanigans from the west coast. He’s also a stickler for spelling.
Another new friend, I met Tim at Cisco Live 2014. He’s a comedy writer and social media guy. You might know him from his work with John Oliver. Most of all, I was struck by how down-to-earth and approachable he is.
I met David in 2005 when I signed with his publishing house, Morgan James Publishing, to bring The AdSense Code to print. I told him I would be his first New York Times Best-Seller. He laughed. I was, and we still laugh a lot when we get together. David and his company have proven a new model of publishing that puts the author first. I like that.
With a background steeped in Internet business, EBR (as some call him) went on to co-found JVZoo.com, one of the fastest-growing affiliate networks on the web. A fascinating mix of authenticity, business savvy and controversy, I always count on him to stir the pot.
I was introduced to Lori at an event many years ago. After getting to know her, I once stated that she is “the heart of social media.” A true social media expert, because all she has to do is be herself, Lori is one of the most likeable and genuine people I know.
This guy says what he means and means what he says. If you are looking for a “clean” newsfeed, Chris may not be your type. But if you don’t mind hearing exactly what he thinks, whether it’s about a gadget, a news story, or an individual who has made themselves a target, Chris doesn’t pull any punches. Turns out he’s a really nice guy who has shared some incredibly vulnerable content.
There are several LinkedIn experts on this list, and Viveka has earned her spot as one of the leading trainers on the subject. Toss some down-home charm in with her knowledge and you’ve got someone worth paying attention to.
I’ve been aware of Chris for a number of years, but as I watch him live out his life with passion and a desire to truly help others, I can’t help but think his greatest work is still before him. He in inspiring throngs of people (how many in a throng) with his transparent fitness regimen and he takes great risks as an entrepreneur. Plus, he gets bonus points for playing Minecraft with his son.
Perhaps the most positive person I know, Kevin always shares original inspirational thoughts and ideas on his feed. His words and images ooze love and concern for his friends and associates. Every day is an opportunity to express gratitude. It’s an attitude which you’ll find contagious. He’s also got great taste in music.
My son rocks. A hard-working, honest young man with integrity and some serious grey-matter between his ears, his posts and musings continue to surprise me and make me smile. We’ve recently had the opportunity to do some published works together. What’s more, he makes me a better Team Fortress 2 player.
Brian Carter is one of those guys you just want to hang with. Smart and funny, he understands social. His one-liners are clever and he can hold his own in a comedy routine. But he’s also smart enough to know he doesn’t know everything. I admire that about him. You will, too.
I met Ken just before I spoke at his JV Alert Live event in Philadelphia in 2006. After spending a short time with him, I was able to accurately dub him “The nicest guy in Internet marketing.” To this day, I still believe the title is a perfect descriptor of a man who loves to help others. You can tell how loved he is by the people who enjoy being around him.
I don’t remember where I met Gene and I don’t really care. All I know is we are friends on Facebook and he comes up with some of the funniest stuff I get to see each day. I’m not talking about worn-out memes and pictures. I’m talking about clever musings that always make me go ‘now, why didn’t I think of that?’ You can use a little Pimentel in your day.
Perhaps the single most creative individual I’ve ever had the privilege to work with, Dan was VP of Ideas at my company for six years. With him at my side, we created a #1 best-selling iPhone app, a WordPress theme that is installed on well over 100,000 blogs and a number of other products and services which have impacted others. Dan’s super nice and also a darned funny guy… sometimes. Except when he’s not.
Unless she’s hiding some deep, dark secret, Kim Garst strikes me as perfect example of someone using social media so well that she has personified social media. Her profile is packed with uplifting thoughts, useful tips and plenty of smiles. Her followers absolutely adore her and I wish I could get as many shares of my stuff as she does of hers.
Dave and I go way back. And both of us were online in the dark ages. His site, AskDaveTaylor.com, has been providing techy answers to geeky questions for a very long time. Dave is also a film critic, dedicated father and my co-author on the upcoming Twitter Power 3.0.
Here we find a mom with a bunch of kids… SEVEN of them to be accurate, blogging about her trials, tribulations and encouraging perspective as a mom. Her blog, FindingJoy.net, is frequented by a loyal fan base, and The Huffington Post has published a number of her articles. She is a partner in a training organization called Blogging Concentrated and seems to be spreading her message #IAmEnough to moms and women across the web.
I met Matt Clark when the person I endorsed for creating Twitter profiles in the first edition of Twitter Power wasn’t serving people well. Matt demonstrated his design skills for me and has taken on the responsibility of creating graphic design for this blog and all my social profiles. If you’re lucky, you can pay him to do the same for you at Tweetpages.com.
I met Dave recently at Cisco Live 2014. The dude and his team are responsible for some of the uber-cool graphic design you see on some best-selling video games. He’s a great guy with an even better sense of humor. Plus, he won a Stormtrooper suit at Cisco and posted a picture of himself wearing it. That alone earns him a spot on my list.
Matt and I met years ago when I had my office space in Loveland, CO. His digital agency, SmarterChaos, is based in Castle Rock, CO, about 30 minutes south of where I live. I like that he frequently posts photos of his getaways in Breckenridge, and he gets massive kudos for seeing the potential in my son and hiring him to be part of his team.
If anyone was going to give Ken McArthur a run for “nicest guy in Internet marketing”, it would have to be David Perdew. We met earlier this year when I keynoted his NAMS event (Novice to Advanced Marketing System). From his bustling community of entrepreneurs came the content for my latest book, So What Do You Do: Discovering the Genius Next Door with One Simple Question, Volume 2. David cares about his members and delivers real value through his events and membership site.
Founder of The Social Media Examiner, Michael is a serial entrepreneur. His online publication is wildly successful and his events are the biggest thing in the social media world. He’s a dedicated family man and knows a few things about dessert. Anyone who likes dessert has passed the first test in being a friend of mine.
I think John Lee must wake up every morning with a huge smile on his face. How could he not? Being inspired by the success stories he saw around him, he began a podcast where he’d interview these success stories. Fast-forward to today and you’ve got Entrepreneur on Fire, one of the most popular business podcasts on iTunes. On top of the podcast, John now trains others how to become podcasters. He’s built an enduring brand and a rabid fan base in “Fire Nation”.
How do I admire thee, Ray Edwards? Let me count the ways! 1) He’s an incredible copywriter that gets the big bucks for big results. 2) He has a natural ability to train others, making seemingly complex subject matter easily understandable. 3) He is a deeply spiritual man with a massive heart for others. 4) He has been transparent and inspirational by sharing his struggles with Parkinson’s Disease. 5) I am fortunate and blessed that he calls me a friend.
Jason is just one heck of a social guy. A smart marketer who never stops learning, his posts are about as authentic as they get. Jason doesn’t pull any punches and has no issue sharing his ups… and his downs. As a result, he’s got a highly engaged audience and demonstrates that you do a lot more business by not talking about business.
Some people take and others give. Shawne is a true giver. A producer of many forms of media, Shawne has been driven to produce a film called “Project Forgive“, and used social media to successfully fund a Kickstarter campaign to get the ball rolling. She’s an absolute joy and her message is much-needed in today’s world.
I remember meeting Mari when she was just getting started in the social space. She was decked out in turquoise and had this magnetic smile that invited you into her world. Today, as a best-selling author and social media expert, Mari is the Queen of Facebook. In Spring 2010, Mari and I did a musical duet on our iPads live before the world. She’s also Canadian, so if you have any family or friends in Canada, Mari probably knows them, eh?
A very early adopter to social media, Carrie Wilkerson ‘got it’ from the start. Her down-to-earth approach to helping others as ‘the barefoot executive’ garnered her a loyal following. I’ll always be grateful to her for putting me on stage at her event in 2010, sharing the stage with my hero Zig Ziglar. Thank you, Carrie!
When I met Jen Groover in 2007, she had heard me speak and wanted to know more about Google AdSense. Little did I know that I had just met one of the most creative and determined female entrepreneurs who had crossed my path. Inventor of the incredibly successful Butler Bag, Jen and her products have been featured across the television spectrum. She is passionate about raising up entrepreneurs and demonstrating how regular people are the ones who will revive this economy.
I’ve known Ken since around 2000. One of the most sacrificial people I’ve ever met, Ken is the founder of WaterIsLife.com, a non-profit organization that provides clean water solutions to third-world countries. You may have seen the award-winning First World Problems video they released a couple years ago. This is the only profile that will have two links in it. Please go to WaterIsLife.com and buy at least one Water purification straw that will provide clean water for an entire year for one person in Kenya. It’s just $10. Do it now.
Dino is the founder of Triberr.com, a social community that knows how to leverage the power of community to share content and drive traffic. A Bosnia refugee, Dino is an inspiration and full of optimism. If you follow him, you’ll discover a wonderful mix of solid content and whimsical humor. That’s right, I said whimsical. You’re just jealous because I thought of it first.
Steven is an award-winning vocal and performance coach whose impressive client roster includes Adam Levine, Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Sara Bareilles and Jesse McCartney. One of the most down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet (which may be unusual for someone who has worked in film and music!), Steven says he can make anyone a better singer… even me. I may put him to the test on that someday.
There’s a new generation of Internet marketers who are absolutely crushing it today. Leading the way is the brilliant and innovative Dr. Ben Adkins. He gives away tons of valuable content in his webinars and trainings, and people flock to purchase his systems because he gets results. Ben is humble about his success and seems to want to leave a legacy of helping others succeed.
I don’t know that I’ve ever met Jennifer face-to-face, but it’s hard to miss her infectious smile and positive attitude on Facebook. Specializing in the beauty industry, she’s had a number of successful brands and regularly makes appearances on television to discuss her topic. Jennifer is incredibly passionate and I had to smile when I found out she was a fan of mine. Well-played, Walsh. Well-played.
This dude was one of the original iPhone developers while at Apple. He also wrote the code for Dashboard on MacOS. I may have mentioned that he worked on the original iPhone. He is currently developing a new application called Eightly. And he was one of a handful of people who made the first iPhone. Steve Jobs once called him a f**kchop (which I confirmed in personal conversation. Oh, the stories Andy can tell). And then there was this iPhone thing. Did I already say that?
My first trip to Disneyland was in 1969. I was hooked on Disney theme parks. And I can’t even keep track of the number of times I have been to the parks in Florida and California. That’s why I was thrilled to meet Lou Mongello at Social Media Marketing World earlier this year. This guy is a true Disney afficianado! His podcast is one of the most popular and he has raving fans who listen to every episode. I was able to see this first-hand when he and I spent a day at the Magic Kingdom recently, and multiple people came up to him with stars in their eyes to get their picture with him.
I think John Lee Dumas and Pat Flynn must have been separated at birth. Each has dominated the business podcast space with their own show. Each is full of optimism, next-door-neighbor sensibility and entrepreneurial spirit. But Pat’s show (and personality) has a distinct flavor which explains why people keep coming back for more. Listening to his podcast inspires me to be a better podcaster. He’s also a dapper dresser. Thought you should know.
Kris is the founder of Pepperjam, a full-service marketing agency and affiliate network which was sold to eBay several years back. He now runs KBJ Capital, an early stage technology investment fund that supports some really cool startups. Kris was kind enough to be a guest on my Internet reality show back in 2007 and we get to shoot ideas back and forth from time to time. He’s super smart and always up to something.
Kris cracked the code on Teespring.com, discovering how to make mad, crazy profits creating t-shirts on the now-popular crowdfunding apparel design and retail site. You wouldn’t believe how much he makes makes, advertising and selling t-shirts if I told you. You just wouldn’t. But what I really like is that his personal facebook page isn’t full of business. It’s just a guy sharing his experiences and his life.
Lewis is a former pro football player and USA Team Handball player. He’s all about being his best, and helping others to reach their goals. I could see Lewis in line to be a motivational/inspirational speaker successor to Tony Robbins. He’s charismatic, smart and you get the sense that he really cares about the people he works with.
If you are looking for someone who likes to fly under the radar yet consistently seems to turn up right in the middle of it, look no further than Warren Whitlock. Highly engaged in social media, Warren is an author, speaker, podcaster and consultant with a snarky wit and big heart. It’s hard to go to a conference without running into this guy. When you speak with him, you get the sense that he’s up to no good. And yet, I can’t manage to find an arrest record. Maybe I should keep digging.
If you don’t know Sean, follow him. If you decide you don’t like him, we can’t be friends any more.
He looks like a mad scientist, but don’t be fooled. He’s actually a mad scientist. Full of energy, inpsirational thoughts, marketing know-how and a healthy helping of zany, Brian is a lot of fun to know in the social space and real life. Photos of himself and his dog, Otis, are not to be missed. Once you’ve seen his hair, you’ll never forget this guy.
Along with Warren Whitlock, Deb beat me to the punch in releasing the first book on Twitter. Business savvy and people-friendly, Deb’s stream is a great mix of industry links, personal stories, photos, inspiration and humor. She’s relentless in her desire to crush it and help others do so as well.
Natalie is my virtual assistant and she is a walking ray of sunshine. She’s helped me orchestrate getting two books put together, among other things. Along with Bob “the teacher” Jenkins, she helps train virtual assistants for success. She’s married to my friend Lee Collins, who also could easily have made this list. But adding him as well just seemed like too much nepotism.
And last, but not least, and perhaps not really last since there may not be any particular reason for the sequence of the people appearing here, are the rest of my Facebook friends! I dislike not being able to give a shout-out to everyone, because it is your friendship, engagement, posts, likes, comments, shares and pictures of bacon and cats that make social media so fun, interesting, helpful and inspirational. Thank you for being a part of my life. I appreciate you and look forward to remaining socially yours.
So there you have it. I hope you get to know each of these people if you aren’t already acquainted with them. And I hope you can appreciate how long it took me to put this together. By the time I got to number twenty-five I was thinking “man, I’m glad I didn’t pick 100 people!”
Comments? Feel free to leave them below. I reserve the right to approve comments or not depending on how nice you are. After all, this blog entry is MY linkbait, not yours.