WHO IS A THOUGHT LEADER?
A thought leader is anybody whose views are considered to be respected, influential, tested and trusted, authoritative, and most importantly, original.
If anybody positions their self as a thought leader, then their views must pass this litmus test which I call the RITA-O(™️) test. And that is how you separate mere social media influences from thought leaders.
Respect is a function of academic, documentation or positional proof.
Influence refers to your views ability to influence perception, opinion, or action.
Tested and trusted refers to track record or proof of result from implementing your views, either by you or followers.
Authoritative is a function of years of consistent walking the talk.
Original refers to the authenticity of your view.
Make no mistake, there are influencers who are thought leaders too, because they pass the litmus test as mentioned above.
For instance, pick any privately and distinguished medical professional you know who is probably in his mid 50's, and place him or her together with @aproko_doctor on any platform, and have them dish out advice or recommendations on health practice, Chances are that viewers and readers would more likely to adhere to @aproko_doctor advice over that of the apparently more experienced doctor. The reason is because while the older doctor may be respected due to his qualification, and considered authoritative due to length of practice, and original too, he does not satisfy the I(influential) andT(tested & trusted) part of the litmus test, which @aproko_doctor passes well.
So, based on my explanation, you can easily begin to make your list of thought leaders in the industry you play.
This leads me to the next question: WHO CAN BECOME A THOUGHT LEADER?