According to a report by technology research company Jupiter Research, bloggers and internet pundits are exerting a “disproportionately large influence” on businesses and opinion. The study suggests that although ‘active’ web users make up only a small proportion of Europe’s online population, they are increasingly dominating public conversations and creating business trends. Companies like McDonald's and computer firm Dell have both fallen foul of internet buzz in recent years.
“It’s always been the case that vocal minorities are listened to by media organisations, brands, advertisers and marketers - normally because they’re thought to represent a wider swath of opinion,” said Tom Coates, a technologist with Yahoo! and prominent blogger. “TV and radio programmes are censored or pulled on the green-inked letters of a few hundred people, products removed from shelves because of less than 100 complaints. On that basis, these figures start to sound like a pretty large number of people, and probably a much more representative sample than perhaps before.”
(Source: The Guardian)
While it has always been the case that a relatively small number of people exert a disproportionately large influence on society, the advent of blogs and the Internet has given anyone with access to the net the opportunity to be part of that select group. Whereas in the past money and one's position in society determined whether the individual even had a chance to really influence anyone outside of one's immediate group, the creation of the worldwide web has led to an army of potential 'leaders'.