In July, Fast Company launched a social media experiment called The Influence Project, almost on a whim. The endeavor stemmed from a profile that the magazine ran on “creative company” Mekanism. In the article, Mekanism’s president Jason Harris says his company can “engineer virality,” and Fast Company decided to test out the theory.
Together, they set out to create a metric for judging influence online, and the result became what is now called The Influence Project, which seeks to find “2010’s Most Influential Person.” Almost immediately, the project came under fire online, from journalists, bloggers and self-titled influencers who thought Fast Company was measuring digital influence incorrectly.
The jury’s still out, but voting for The Influence Project comes to an end August 15. I spoke with Harris and Brendan Gahan, Mekanism’s director of social media, to find out how it all came together. And if they think they’ll be crowning the most influential person of the year next week.