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Who wants to be an 'e-fluential'?

As if Internet culture itself wasn't already the basis of a global techno-elite, now comes word about the emergence of a top caste within that crowd.

These Internet denizens - about 8 percent of Internet users - are about twice as likely to visit company Web sites as "regular" surfers, nearly twice as likely to jump on the Web multiple times a day, and more apt to adopt new technology products earlier.

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"So what?" you ask. Well, "e-fluentials" have a disproportionate influence on consumer trends, according to research conducted by Roper Starch Worldwide for Burson-Marsteller.

Test marketers love these buzz-creators, the survey discovered. Some online consumers have gained "guru" status - so they "influence more people on more topics than do other online individuals."

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society