Building influence

An influencer is somebody with a different way of thinking, different way of expressing themselves. They are able to predict what is going to be the next thing, and comfortably engage with this novelty. These are individuals whose coevals would choose to follow to, because the things they are paying attention to will be the things that everyone else is going to be crazy about in a short while. timemostinfluential1

We see large-scale influencers around us all the time – starting from the cool kids in the school backyard, ending with movie stars and celebrities that we see all over the media. However, how does this concept work? How comes that in a world where we are so passionate of being individuals, we pay so much attention to what the “cool kids” of the society are saying and trying to adapt? In my opinion, one of the matters is time saving. Being an influencer must be very hard – it takes time and effort to always follow the novelty, to always be updated with what is “cool”. It is hard to always stay informed, especially in the world of millions of choices and offers.

Influencers’ opinion is the one that matters for many people. Being an influencer is often about the activity. Everyone can be a journalist and promoter in these times. However, to be an influencer, one has to follow the trend, to be one step ahead and think in advance. The other thing is gaining trust. It takes time to develop sources that you trust. Where there is a risk, the trust becomes a major issue, which can put the influencers under pressure.

Klout is one of the companies that offer the measurement of influence, depending on your social network activity on a scale of 1 to 100. On the top of their list you can find Barack Obama and Justin Bieber. To raise the score, one must have a wide network and many people engaging with their updates on media. They even offer the opportunity of getting in touch with influential people to cooperate in future. This score is pretty much chowing what this whole concept is about – more people engaging with your ideas would mean wider network, therefore bigger influence, therefore a higher score. And we all love to listen and engage with those who have earned our trust.

I am a consumer in this crazy world of innovation; I am the typical lost consumer that is confused by all these different options and offers. I am the typical person that when in need of something, would choose the option with the most “likes” and “thumbs up”. I choose which video to watch on YouTube by looking at how many people have viewed it before me. I choose a movie by seeing its popularity between my friends. But when it comes to areas where there is any risk, I would be a typical laggard. I like to stick what I have and what I am used to. I would switch only at the very end and necessity. Yes, I am pretty mainstream, even if I have the potential network of contacts from many parts of the world to become an early adaptor one day.most-influential-100-1024x428

One thought on “Building influence

  1. Yes, it’s interesting to trace how the ideas in limited effects theory play out online. Klout basically measures opinion leadership, and as you pointed out in both this and your previous post, the rest of us are actually labeled “followers.” You do a good job here of taking the readings a step further and thinking about why one might actually prefer the role of follower (surveys, like those Lazarsfeld and his disciples did, do not measure the “why” very well). I think you are getting to the heart of it when you talk about people wanting to reduce risk.

    I think it’s also important to remember that influencers, or opinion leaders, can exist on all levels of society (I realize you were focusing on the BIG influencers, who are obviously at the top), and opinion leadership can change hands depending on the topic. You and I, although we may normally consider ourselves followers, may actually be opinion leaders when it comes to some issues [2]. Well done.

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