by Brian Solis

Stephen Baker and Helen Walters of BusinessWeek recently asked readers to nominate those individuals who are driving the evolution and pervasiveness of Social Media as part of its “voice of innovation” series.

Who is truly the most innovative force within social media? Who’s really making a difference? Who really gets it? Who do you think your fellow BusinessWeek readers NEED to know about?

The submissions are in and I’m honored and humbled to be included in the list of candidates.

Now, BusinessWeek needs you to help them sort through the nominees to tell them why one or another should be featured in BW.

The candidate Steve and Helen consider most worthwhile will be featured in a short profile and video we run in the Innovation channel.

Let them know by leaving a comment here.

This list (see below) features my peers and mentors whom inspire me to not only look ahead but also build a bridge back to the real world so that we can all move forward together. Truthfully, it’s impossible to select any one person to profile as the “voice of innovation.” Everyone is worthy of a profile and perhaps, in true social media fashion, BW can feature submitted videos from all of the nominees to feature as the collective voices of innovation. It is social media after all – of the people, for the people.

Over the years, I’ve worked with some truly amazing people such as Doc Searls, Stowe Boyd, Robert Scoble, Jay Rosen, Chris Heuer, Jeremiah Owyang, Shel Israel, Chris Shipley, Deb Schultz, JD Lasica, et al., among many many others to theorize, debate, define, defend, and promote Social Media – before it was Social Media. Some of those definitions are still widely sourced today. Now, Social Media is widely recognized as the latest chapter in an ongoing evolution of “New Media” and it’s completely transforming the way we share, discover, communicate, and learn.

In early 2009, JESS3 and I will release v2.0 of The Conversation Prism to help chart the rapid expansion and contraction of the Social Web so that we can visualize the complete opportunity of how and where to listen, learn, study, and ultimately participate.

At the end of the day, Social Media is about people, not technology. The tools and technology that serve as its foundation is governed by the dynamics of human behavior and interaction. The true Social Media experts will understand the ideologies of Social Sciences (sociology, anthropology, enthnography) combined with an understanding of specific services and networks to individually connect with the people who define the communities that are important to their ecosystem. It’s the difference between theory and practice.

Again, thank you for even including me in this list. I will continue to share all that I learn so that we can grow in tandem.

The Complete List of Nominees (Make sure to update your reading list):

Mark Cramer
Lee Odden
Peter Shankman (aka Skydiver)
Jeff Pulver
Linus Torvalds
Ward Cunningham
Tim O’Reilly
Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus
Richard Edelman
Dave Winer
Chico the Dog
Simon Berry
Jay Rosen
David Chamberlain
Honey Bee network
A top-10 list
Lawrence Lessig
Tristan Harris, Apture
Steve Rubel
Robin Good
Marshall Kirkpatrick
Richard MacManus
Rachel Sterne
Gary Vaynerchuk
Liz Strauss
Craig Stoltz
Shel Holtz
Andy Carvin
Shel Israel
Laura Fitton
jeremiah oywang
Fred Wilson
Guy Kawasaki
Jason Goldberg
Chris Brogan
David Weinberger
Kevin Rose
Robert Scoble
Chris Hughes
B. L. Ochman
Beth Kanter
Biz Stone
Mohammad Yunus
Shannon Paul
Tim Jackson
Amber Naslund
Jason Falls
Beth Harte
David Armano
Mack Collier
Brian Solis
Rashmi Sinha
Bob Pearson
Frank Eliason
Seth Godin
Ev Williams
Kathy Sierra
Hugh MacLeod
Chris Bruzzo (MyStarbucksIdea)

Additional Resources on Social Media at PR 2.0:

State of Social Media 2008

The Essential Guide to Social Media

The Social Media Manifesto

Now is Gone (Available on Amazon)

Connect with me on:
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About the Author:

Brian Solis

Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, publishing, and culture. His current book, Engage, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and measure success in the social web.

Visit Brian's page at


    no imageLee Odden (Who am I?)30 December 2008 8:40 am

    Brian, you are indeed a social media pioneer. Hat’s off to you.

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    no imageBeth Kanter (Who am I?)30 December 2008 4:39 pm

    I’m totally humbled to be on the list with brilliant folks like you! I’ve learned so much for your blog and your writing – and also appreciate your fabulous photos too.

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    no imageBecky Carroll (Who am I?)30 December 2008 5:44 pm

    Brian, you definitely deserve to be on that list. I am thrilled for you! And I am so honored that two of my panelists from BlogWorld this year, you and Frank Eliason, both made the list. :)

    Congrats, and rock on!

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