The Topic Du Jour in the blogosphere is Influence vs. Popularity. One wonders why we should even be discussing the subject. Isn’t it obvious?
∞ Popularity is just that people like you; influence is when people listen to you.
∞ Popularity is fleeting. Influence lasts.
∞ Lady GaGa is popular. Bono is influential.
We can now measure a FICO score for how influential we are by such tools as Klout, TweetLevel, and Peerindex. The most important action a person or brand can take to increase influence is to create and share compelling content that is relevant to an audience.
2) Suzanne discussed how today’s world is different:
“The Web and all things digital have changed the game on us. Influence is quickly becoming the currency of choice on the web.”
3) Jennifer Mattern studied the difference between influence and popularity in blogging and concluded:
“The relationship between the bloggers and their audiences determines influence much more than traffic stats . . . [One] blogger’s audience might be even more likely to do what’s asked of them, think a certain way about a niche issue, try a new tool, take part in a survey, or even buy a product. That’s influence.“
4) A recent Mashable article case study of Kim Kardashian’s stats on Twitter characterized popularity as quantity and influence as quality:
“And we think the ability to direct web traffic is a pretty big part of influence.”
5) Malcolm Gladwell’s powerful book The Tipping Point described three types of Influencers who can tip the balance to make things happen: MAVENS, who know a lot of data; CONNECTORS, who know a lot of people; and SALESMEN, who know how to persuade:
“Simply by finding and reaching those few special people who hold so much social power, we can shape the course of social epidemics.”
6) My new British friend and blog-within-a-blogger, Mike Maynard, listed five psychological devices of influence;
7) Here are some “quotables” that make sense to me — from a Copyblogger post entitled 60 Ways to Increase Your Influence Online [I “like” them]:
Mike Volpe: “We share lots of things that most companies would keep internal. By sharing both the good and the bad, you build digital influence.” @mvolpe
Scott Porad: “Make connections with people online, and then go and meet them in person in the real world, offline.” @scottporad
Scott Belsky: “Share your ideas liberally. Accountability and letting people know what you’re up to can make all the difference.” @scottbelsky
Mark Silver:“Many people are afraid to speak; if you speak for them, they will be listening.” @markheartofbiz
8 – In Chapter 11 of Stephen Covey’s Principle-Centered Leadership [remember his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People], he writes that our motive for achieving positive influence is to win new business, keep customers, maintain friendships, change behaviors, and/or improve relationships. Among the 30 methods of influence he lists are these ten:
→ Refrain from saying the unkind or negative thing.
→ Exercise patience with others.
→ Keep the promises you make to others.
→ Assume the best of others.
→ Seek first to understand.
→ Admit your mistakes, apologize, ask for forgiveness.
→ Renew your commitment to things you have in common.
→ Prepare your mind and heart before you prepare your speech.
→ Don’t give up and don’t give in.
→ Let natural consequences teach responsible behavior.
9) My own thoughts:
When I think about “popularity,” I can’t help but be reminded of the vacuousness of the In Crowd in high school (even though I was part of it). When I think about “influence,” I think of Responsible Parenting, Compassionate & Passionate Teachers, and Geniuses in the Arts, whether they are Writers, Artists, Musicians, or Actors.
Of course, people can be influenced for the good — or, unfortunately, for the bad. So when we think about defining, recognizing, and applauding Influence, let’s envision a better world and the people who make it so.