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Bono vs. Lady Gaga: Who Is More Influential Online?

When it comes to influence online, popularity and reach are not the same thing. So who gets the crown? And how does it apply to you?

When it comes to social networking and the internet, popularity is, apparently, not the same thing as influence. A new study by social-media maven Brian Solis and researchers at Vocus has pitted meat-dress-wearing Lady Gaga, who has 6.5 million Twitter followers and counting, against U2's Bono, one of the most recognizable men in the world by face and voice, and a big-time philantropist and activist. The goal? To figure out what makes an online influencer (slash, to figure out who is more influential between these two pop stars).

It's an interesting study relevant to all of us with an online life, obviously—not just to famous people. Among the key findings:

Influence is different from popularity. "Influence drives, motivates, is steadfast, and causes people to take action, while popularity is hip, perhaps amusing and wanes easily amid a fickle audience," says the report. Influence is also correlated to reach.

Content is king. Fifty percent of respondents said that "the single most important action a person or brand can take to increase their influence online was to 'create, post or share compelling content.'"

The network matters—and so does quality. The quality of a person or brand's online content, and their personal connection to their network matters more that just popularity. People cite "relevent content, personal connection, and thought leader" as the reasons to follow a person, more than "famous, fun, and follow you back." (You can download the complete PDF here.)

It's interesting stuff. As for the burning question of Lady Gaga vs. Bono? Well, they don't answer equivocally, so we leave it to you. Does the outrageous, poppy, Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell activist have more influence? Or the deep-pocketed, dreamy, Irish rabblerouser with a heart of gold?

What do you think?

Image via FastCompany

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