Who We Follow: What LinkedIn’s ‘Thought Leaders’ Tell Us

Among the most followed thought leaders on LinkedIn are not just Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (about whom more later) but also David Cameron, Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson, Deepak Chopra, and T. Boone Pickens, according to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn launched the thought leader program a month ago; it allows users to follow select users’ updates without being connected to them.

Tech and business leaders figure prominently among the most-followed thought leaders, suggesting that at least heavier LinkedIn users still skew to those sectors. The tech influencers are the usual suspects: LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn investor Reid Hoffman, Findery CEO Caterina Fake and “lean startup” guru Eric Ries, for example.

The business influencers represent a quirkier selection. They include Tony Robbins, James Caan, Ari Emanuel, Kai Fu Lee, Sallie Krawcheck and Mohamed El-Erian.

Can the program be used to the election? Move over Nate Silver, subscribers gives it to Barack Obama by a margin well over 2 to 1.

The thought leaders skew male at a ratio of 3 to 1. Racially, they are more mixed.

One interesting surprise: Swedish chef Marcus Samuelson.

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