Brian Solis vs. Shift Communications’ Todd Defren – Twitter Showdown

Last week we started using a “showdown” tool to compare the top public relations firms where Twitter engagement is concerned. Today we figured comparing some tech or social celebrities of the web might be fun and interesting too. So, to that end we present the first two in a series of Web Guru Showdowns, Brian Solis versus Todd Drefren.

Brian Solis versus Todd Defren

No such cloud (or Klout) matchup could begin without announcing the contestants first, so….

In the left column below, Brian Solis is one of the Internet’s most prolific thought leaders. An award winning author a couple of times over, and well-known media strategist, keynote speaker, and etc. Solis is the principal now at Altimeter Group, a research and advisory entity. His upcoming book, What’s the Future of Business (WTF), is destined for my night table reading on iPad (I hope Brian).

In the right column stands one of the web’s most noted innovators. Todd Defren is recognized world and web wide as a social media and PR guru extraordinary. PR-Squared, his blog, is one of the most influential anywhere online, and as CEO of Shift Communications Todd has stamped his name indelibly on the digital communications space.

For this Friday Night Fight, let’s see how the contenders came out at slinging tweets. (scroll to the bottom to see the fightcard)

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Here’s the Round by Round Scorecard

Follow – A bit surprising for me personally, Solis wins for following without breaking a sweat here.
Listening Post – Since I’ve known Brian listening has never been a weakness, but it’s never been his strong suit either. It’s clear Todd follows a lot more peeps per, which indicates he’s hearing a bit more from his network per capita etc. Todd takes this area in my book.

Now that you mention it –  Garnering 4 times as many mentions per tweet is a little bit like throwing 4 times as many punches in boxing. If this aspect were in the ring… Solis would have a TKO right here I guess.

Timing is nearly everything – Again, a bit surprisingly, Todd has taken some time off when compared to Solis here. Another category for Brian.

All things being equal, it’s fair to give the win to Brian Solis here. While he did not exactly KO Todd Defren via this blunt little comparative, the Shift Communications boss has some cuts and ribs to attend to. Solis on the other hand is probably following tweeters even now (right).

So, who is Brian Solis?

In the digital world of communicating with consumers and investors, Brian Solis emerges as a leader. He works as a digital analyst, anthropologist, and futurist for his company, Altimeter. He is also a popular keynote speaker for businesses. Mirroring his own expertise, Altimeter is a branding company specializing in the use of innovative social media strategies.

On his influential website and blog, Solis writes about the way the modern consumer relates to businesses through social media interaction. He also talks about how disruptive technology changes the way people do business and the customer experience:

“I study disruptive technology, specifically innovative technology that gains so much momentum that it disrupts markets and ultimately businesses. In the past several years, disruptive technology has become so pervasive that I’ve had to further focus my work on studying only disruptive technologies that are impacting customer and employee behavior, expectations and values and affecting customer and employee experiences…”

Brian Solis also wrote six books on social media marketing, with his last few being bestsellers. These include, “The End of Business as Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution” (2011) and “What’s the Future of Business?: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences” (2013). His latest book is “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design.”

..and who is, Shift Communications Todd Defren?

Todd Defren holds the position of CEO at SHIFT Communications which racked up several awards under its belt. The hybrid PR firm was named “Digital/Social Agency of the Year” in 2012, “New Media Agency of the Year” in 2008 and “Agency of the Year” in 2007.  Not surprisingly then, the $18 million company works with clients such as McDonald’s,, TechCrunch, H&R Block and Tyson Foods.

Defren receives wide recognition on account of his blog PR-Squared. Through this platform he gives informed opinions on different happenings in PR news. He also leads discussions on how to strategize in the social media world of marketing. His opinion is informed by his experience at SHIFT Communications, and the tenets of the company:

“One of the tenets we try to teach at SHIFT is “Underpromise, Overdeliver”.  There is nothing more frustrating to a client than expecting the moon, because they’ve been told to expect the moon … but getting a slice of green cheese, instead.  Far better for the client to be sold on the moon-like benefits of a green cheese slice … but then being handed the actual g-dmn moon!”

Referred to by Mashable in 2010 as the “Social Media Marketing Master” Todd Deferen is the visionary force behind influential social media marketing platforms like “Social Media Release” “Social Media Newsroom” and as a co-founder of “Social Media Club”.

At the center of Defren’s social media platforms lies a comprehensive guide for companies looking to gain and maintain relevancy through social media. Through relevancy comes exposure, and through exposure comes growth.     Shift Communications continues under his leadership.


  1. Brian Solis says

    Interesting…thank you for including me. Todd’s a dear friend, so I hope never to be in a real world matchup with him. I love the guy too much! in terms of listening though, that’s not reflective of following…that’s indicative of actual listening, which I do on my own every day, several times a day. Ther’s also the @mrsolis account that you missed ;)

    • Phil Butler says

      @Brian. Thanks for taking the time Brian. I know you guys were pals. The blunt tool here is not so scientific, but a fun way to look at people’s relative effort. So you know, both you and Todd pummeled me into the canvas :(

      Just wait til I pit you and @aplusk tho ;)



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