Influence no longer confined to newsrooms as business leaders top list of UK tech’s key opinion formers

According to the 2018 Tyto Tech 500 Power List, business leaders wield more influence than journalists in the UK technology sector. So much so that the second edition of the proprietary data-driven ranking sees the media knocked off the podium (within the general tech category) as the driving force behind the conversation in UK tech.

The list, which is compiled on the basis of a comprehensive assessment of social, online and offline influence across a range of metrics, features generalist business leaders more prominently (13%) than generalist journalists (10%). The shift represents a one-eighty when compared with last year’s rankings, in which generalist journalists were the largest sub-group, followed by fintech business leaders.

Interestingly, looking specifically at news outlets, apart from the BBC, no other single publication was able to make a significant impact on the list, or, for that matter, manage to exercise what could be defined as a heavy influence. There are 11 BBC journalists listed versus four from The Guardian and three each from TechCrunch, FT, and The Telegraph.

Thinking pragmatically, however, is this really all that surprising given the current political climate? In the last twelve months, the media has been under near constant attack from all sides. What’s more, today, just about anyone with an internet connection and a social media account has the capacity to publish and broadcast their views and news around the world.

Though primarily focused on, but not exclusive to, the media across the pond, journalists’ judgement, credibility and accuracy in reporting stories have not only been intensely scrutinised but repeatedly brought into question internationally.

The fact that fake news, defined as false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting, was recognised as Collins’ Word of the Year in 2017, due to the overwhelming increase in its usage and prominence, is an indication of the levels of global discontent with contemporary journalism.

Business leaders have, therefore, been able to steal a march on a denigrated media. With entire content machines at their disposal now the norm rather than the exception, combined with the creation and promotion of content through paid means having become a frequently adopted approach for audience targeting, it has never been cheaper and more time efficient to publish, advertise, and establish oneself online.

Though this shouldn’t necessarily be taken as gospel, on the basis of this ranking, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to class the influence and authority of ‘traditional’ journalism as being in decline. In any case, evidently, business leaders have been able to capitalise. Read more on how SMEs, in particular, are making the most of the opportunity, in Brendon’s blog here.

Download the Tyto Tech 500 Power List to read the full report.