The Digital Power Index Methodology

To compile the Digital Power Index, Newsweek/The Daily Beast convened a virtual panel of five experts in each of ten categories. Panelists were asked to nominate and score winners in a two-step process. First, each panelist provided a list of 10 nominees—the leaders or luminaries who panelists felt had the most influential in that category during the last year. Newsweek then created a master list of all nominees, and panelists were asked to score each nominee on a scale from 1 to 5 using three measures for “influence”: reach, impact and innovation.

Panelists were permitted to nominate themselves, but were not allowed to score themselves (a final score for panelist nominees was standardized to prevent them from being at a disadvantage). As well, we asked panelists to only score nominees with whom they were familiar. The top 10 list for each category was determined based on the total of panelists’ scores.

Newsweek/The Daily Beast also partnered with social data provider Spot Influence--which tracks and measures the influence of content creators across all social platforms, using a proprietary algorithm--to measure the influence of each Digital 100 winner. Since Spot Influence’s algorithms are designed to measure a person’s influence in the context of a single topic, the overall Spot Influence scores we used were determined by the nominee’s level of influence in the digital landscape around a set of predefined topics and news events that were associated with the winner’s category. For example, it can measure the level of authority a digital activist may have regarding Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street according to social media chatter and sentiment. Search terms were consistent across all 10 members of each category.

To determine the final rankings within the 10 categories, the panelist scores (out of a maximum of 75 possible points) were weighted 90%, and the Spot Influence scores (out of a maximum of 100) were weighted 10%.

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