No one honestly thinks TIME's annual 100 Most Influential People list bears any relation to the world's actual power ladder. But it's a decent gauge of which entertainer has the most dedicated fan base. This year, three extreme cult followings have made Shigeru Miyamoto, Stephen Colbert and Rain the "most influential" people in the world. Joyce Kim, CEO of the Korean-American site Soompi, explained to me how three communities are battling it out to crown a winner.
So last year Rain won — because the community members on my site all voted. Now we're voting for him again. He is the biggest guy in Asia, like Michael Jackson and JT rolled up into one. Mega mega star in Asia. But people here don't know him because he doesn't sing in English.
Stephen Colbert got all pissed that he came in #2 last year, and he did this really funny skit with a Korean music video. He was literally singing in Korean. And this year, when the voting started again, he did a show last week saying "Go vote for me, so I can beat my arch rival Rain." So his ColbertNation.com fans got on it.
Then Digg.com starting voting for Miyamoto — the creator of Mario, Donkey Kong etc. at Nintendo — and put him on #1.
You win by ranking, not number of votes. So you see how Rain has the most votes. It's because the Colbert folks are organizing in their forums to vote him down.
I'd guess there are a good dozen other communities with several million members that could push a star into the top ten. Of course our own weak attempt to get votes for Gawker publisher Nick Denton didn't do much, because Gawker isn't a cult of personality. But a community like 4chan or a dedicated group of top YouTube users could pick a candidate. And it sounds so dorky to say this, but that kind of shows who's really influential: you. And by "you" I mean losers in Internet forums with no larger life goal.