Pondering: Influence

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What is influence?

Definition of INFLUENCE (via Meriam Webster)

a : an ethereal fluid held to flow from the stars and to affect the actions of humans b : an emanation of occult power held to derive from stars
: an emanation of spiritual or moral force

a : the act or power of producing an effect without apparent exertion of force or direct exercise of command b : corrupt interference with authority for personal gain

4: the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways : sway

Such diverse responses to the question “what is influence” even in the dictionary definition.

And in the thesaurus: the power to direct the thinking or behavior of others usually indirectly.

Synonyms authority, clout, credit, heft, in, juice [slang],leverage, pull, sway, weight

Influence comes in many shapes, sizes, and degrees. You are influenced by advertising, your family, colleagues and, of course, social media. Some influencers we choose and some are just present in our lives.

Is your influence defined by a number? Your number of followers? A Klout score? A Peer Index number?

“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Where the slippery slope of influence in the online world began is when Klout started dominating the social conversation and activities. Bloggers posted their Klout badge on their blog so everyone knew their score and they were proud to display it thusly showing that Klout was influencing them. People received Klout Perks, such as PopChips and Audi cars to drive for the weekend. All these things fed into our need to fit it and see where we rank in the social world.

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” Albert Einstein

People gamed the system by encouraging faux engagement for retweets and mentions. They tweeted people with higher Klout scores and retweeted the response if they got one.

There are people who have set up businesses selling false Twitter accounts on Ebay for a profit so that others may buy these “followers” and build their “influence.” These false networks provide the numbers to appear to be “big name” in social media. Many of these people with large numbers provide no content or value to their followers. It is just a shell game with some smoke and mirrors on the side.

In my opinion, these people are lying to themselves if they think that are influencing anyone.

“Gonna change my way of thinking, make my self a different set of rules. Gonna put my good foot forward and stop being influenced by fools.”― Bob Dylan

Many folks jumped the Klout ship on their last algorithm change. This again to me seemed like a silly act as people tweeted and posted in social media that they left Klout. Ok, so you left and it wasn't for you. Was this another act of trying to influence others?

I think that being influential is like being cool: either you are or you aren't. If you have to tell people you are, you clearly aren't.

Bob Seger and I say this. “I feel like a number. I'm not number.” 

I am currently reading Return on Influence by Mark Schaefer who blogs at {grow}. Mark has 36,898 followers at this writing and this is his second book on Social Media. It is safe to say that Mark is not only experienced but also influential in the social sphere. Mark's recent 12 Most post: 12 Most Important Reasons to Love Klout.

“The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret.”  Salvador Dalí

What are your thoughts on influence, Klout and its effect on social media? I know you have some.

Featured image courtesy of Sean MacEntee via Creative Commons.
Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

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  1. mmm.  It seems to me that there are almost no number in social media that can’t be fake. If you’re focusing on your numbers and looking at numbers first in trying to judge other participants….you’re not really doing social media.

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