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Under the influence?

Who really influences you? Who makes you change your opinions or take new directions? Who helps you choose what to buy? These are questions I’ve been thinking about recently.

Authors of good books like Jason Seiden or Chris Brogan have done that for me. I have blogs that I trust, and every so often I will read a killer post that really makes me think.

I’m influenced most by people I meet and talk to and meet off-line  in person. People who challenge my views, disagree with me or add to my knowledge, that’s why I set up #tru and love unconferences over conferences.

I recently signed up for the Influence Project from Fast Company. If you haven’t already been bombarded, it is certainly worth a look. I haven’t been campaigning or canvassing clicks, it’s more of a curiosity thing. Some how or other I have reached 508’th out of 28,000+ participants. That means plenty of people have clicked on the occasional link I have posted. I’m quite pleased with that, given that I haven’t been canvassing or urging people through my network to “Vote for Me!”

I was asked yesterday by Paul Jacobs if I felt this was a true indication of influence. My initial reaction was the same as John Sumser, author of the HR Examiner Influencer Lists, as a resounding no. So if not influence, what does this table tell us?

This project tells us 2 things that I think have some relevance and value. Firstly they show reach. To feature highly, you need a larger than average network that you can reach through social-media channels. With a small network, you simply won’t reach enough people to record clicks.

Secondly, it demonstrates if people find you relevent enough to click on your links. Unless you are using subterfuge, and I have seen some of this in securing clicks on this project, you won’t get people to click the link and record a vote. I have seen a recent examples of trickery in this. The top sponsored google add if you search for “Influence Project” links not to the home page for the project but to the influence page for a participant, they clearly want to feature so much that they have bought position through paid for google ads. (It could be argued that this demonstrates a method of achieving reach!)

It is clearly seen as important by some to feature highly, but why, if the result is not really seen as a true indication of influence?

The answer for me is simple. Increasingly, marketeers are looking at social media to position products, services and news. The shift between old school broadcast and person to person recommendation moving in to the main stream. If you can demonstrate that you can reach plenty of people and enough of them respond by clicking on the links you post, then you could become a valuable marketing channel in your own right.

Feel free to click on my link, though it’s too late for me to launch any real campaign. Keep being ambassadors of influence in all you choose to talk about.


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