The people of LinkedIn have spoken. After the first month of the social network allowing them to follow "thought leaders," they have elected Sir Richard Branson as the most thought leadery of all. With 757,000+ followers, he is the the most-followed public figure on LinkedIn.
President Obama comes in second with 389,000+ followers. Deepak Chopra, Mitt Romney, and Arianna Huffington round out the top five with 195,000, 156,000, and 128,000 followers, respectively.
The reason we know this is that LinkedIn has added a few new sorting mechanisms for their thought leaders initiative. Starting today, you can find "influencer" by most recent content postings, alphabetically, and of course via the new "scoreboard" which tracks who has the most followers.
LinkedIn first let users follow top influencers back at the beginning of October. After allow users to follow companies and groups for some time, LinkedIn finally decided that following important personalities would help users get more value from the service. At the onset, the "thought leaders" totalled 150, but LinkedIn is in the process of expanding that offering.
Here are some stats at the one-month mark, courtesy the LinkedIn blog:
"Earlier this month, we launched the ability to follow thought leaders on LinkedIn. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen more than 4 million follows of these influencers, whose ranks have expanded to include the likes of the co-founder of Reddit as well as the CEOs of Gallup, Box, and Zillow. Together, these thought leaders have created more than 850 original posts, including our most popular post Five top tips to starting a successful business by Sir Richard Branson."
So - Rihanna is the queen of Facebook, and Lady Gaga rules Twitter. We'll go ahead and give LinkedIn to Richard Branson...for now.