Is Justin Bieber really more influential than Barack Obama?

A lot has been made recently about Klout proclaiming that Justin Bieber is more influential than Barack Obama. For the hope of western civilization this can’t possibly be true, right?

The answer is yes and no. Obviously Justin Bieber can’t repeal “don’t ask don’t tell”, change the American health care system or order drone attacks in far off lands (though I have a young cousin who would argue Bieber’s ability to accomplish these things if he put his mind to it). In the scope of the world, Barack Obama clearly has more influence than Justin Bieber and probably anyone else.

At Klout we measure influence across the social web. The point isn’t that Justin Bieber is more influential in the world than Obama, but that he is using social media more effectively to drive more actions from his network than anyone else right now. The fact that almost no one had heard of this kid a year ago and he is now a world wide star is impressive. Need more proof of Biebers ability to drive actions through social media? In the last 24 hours both Obama and Bieber have tweeted links to Youtube videos:!/BarackObama/status/21214017833930752!/justinbieber/status/21273389234659328

The video shared by Bieber has generated nearly 10x the number of views the Obama video has.

The natural question here is “so what”? Justin Bieber influences a bunch of 14 year old girls and the half life of a teen idol is notoriously short. Yet, anyone with kids knows how influential they are on the disposable income of a family and I am sure Bieber’s bank account proves this over the last year. Justin Bieber is one of the first worldwide pop stars to figure out how to influence his fan base efficiently through social media and he has done it at a level we have never seen happen before.

If Barack Obama and his team wanted to be more influential than Justin Bieber online I am sure they could be.  However, given the level of engagement of each of their networks and the actions they drive, that just isn’t the case right now. We measure how influential the people are that engage with a given account are so it wouldn’t take much for Obama to overtake Bieber given the level of influence across Obama’s network.

I would love to see this happen so that we here at Klout never have to discuss Justin Bieber again 🙂


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