The Fabulous 15: Top Digital Influencers in 2013

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Article ImageNaming the top digital media influencers today is no easy task. There are so many great people responsible for developing digital media into the powerhouse it is now and will continue to be in the future. The list of thought-leaders grows every day, but we asked some digital media experts who they felt are the most influential people in the industry and why. We received a wide range of responses from our experts. Most of the nominees are responsible for innovations in digital media that have forever changed our world. There is certainly no lack of big-name innovative companies and their concepts, but they aren't the only ones influencing digital media today.

The list is rounded out by those who analyze and teach about the digital industry, making this a broad-based look at those who contribute to all aspects of digital media and those working to ensure a continued bright-and equally innovative-future.

Here, we present the top 15 digital media influencers of 2013 and why they belong on the list:

Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook

There's no question that Zuckerberg belongs on the list. "Where would we be without Facebook?" asks Barbara Brynko, editor-in-chief of Information Today. Where indeed? The creator of Facebook has undoubtedly shaped-and possibly changed forever-how we communicate. "He created a social network that is changing how brands think about advertising," says Tim McLaughlin, president of Siteworx, LLC.

Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon

Through his powerful ecommerce company, Bezos continues to steer a ship that drives technology and innovation in the digital media space. Amazon continues to help power digital content consumption through its popular Kindle devices, helping to push ebooks into the mainstream. Barry Graubart, founder of Content Matters, LLC, notes that 14 years after starting the company, Bezos "continues to drive innovation" there. McLaughlin agrees, nominating Bezos "for his role in the growth of ecommerce and his relentless efforts in making Amazon what it is today."

"Just as we hear rumblings of the death of the single-purpose e-reader, the Kindle Fire proves itself to be the most effective competitor to the iPad to date, accounting for more than 7% of tablet web traffic," says Graubart. "At the same time, Amazon's AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud platform has enabled digital media businesses to achieve scale at ridiculously low costs."

Matt Mullenweg, Founding Developer, WordPress.com

Mullenweg is at the helm of an open source blogging platform that runs millions of websites. Graubart notes that Wordpress runs blogs for a variety of entities, "not just no-name blogs." Graubart has personal experience with Wordpress. It's what he uses to run his ContentMattersLLC.com site. "Wordpress is adding more functionality, moving closer to a full-fledged content management platform," says Graubart.

Nick Denton, Founder, Gawker Media

Denton has created an interesting mix of media sites that have garnered quite a following for the news they provide. "Love him or hate him, Nick Denton has built a mini-empire of blogs including Gawker, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Deadspin, and others," says Graubart. "Deadspin's breaking of the Manti Te'o story [about the Notre Dame football player's girlfriend hoax] shows that blogs can do the investigative journalism that traditional news sites seem to have given up."

Marissa Mayer, CEO, Yahoo!

Mayer is the one person this list named for her potential, not necessarily what she has already accomplished in her role as the leader of Yahoo!. "Although many expect her presence will provide the company the boost it needs to become competitive again, she has yet to achieve anything," notes McLaughlin. "It will be interesting to see what she is able to accomplish in the coming year."

She is already making much progress. "Marissa Mayer did something that few expected-she made Yahoo! relevant again. This fall, when Instagram stumbled over its new terms of use it was Yahoo! who jumped into the void with a dramatic update to its long-dormant Flickr app," says Graubart. "At the same time, Yahoo! continues to be a leader in original web video through its Yahoo! Studios division. There's a long way to go before we can assess the results, but at least the company is again part of the conversation. Marissa Mayer has put the ! back in Yahoo!." 

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