(Fame + Power) does not equal (Trust + Influence) in social media. That’s one conviction I have been having for a long time now.
You were right Darren – you did officially open a can of worms last night.
The timing couldn’t have been better – I received a spammy looking URL via one of my Twitter contacts. It turned out to be an invitation (and influence link) to the Influence Project that Fast Company is running.
I like the intent of the Fast Company Influence Project. I just got a feeling that execution was flawed. My initial gut reaction resonated in what Scott said a while later:
I’m a strong supporter in real connections through social media – rather than mere numbers. Yet I think that the Influence Project is a numbers game based on an apples-to-oranges comparison. Influence, either online or offline – with out without social media – just doesn’t work this way.
Ricardo Bueno, in his post How To Be Influential, lists down three steps in a quick collaborative exercise and talks about increasing your influence in a very crisp way. His post is a highly recommended read.
One of the first thought that came to my mind based on this entire trail of events was the message Blaine Lee gives out in his amazing book, The Power Principle: influence with honor. I originally read this book a decade ago, and still has a lot of influence on me 🙂
For me, trust and influence are at the core of who I really am, and my credo. Here’s my rundown of who/what influences me and how:
Not restricted to one: I have multiple influences, and they are not mutually exclusive. It’s not like I stop being influenced by everything else – once something new influences me. My old influences still carry on, till a point where there’s a very strong reason for me to drop them from my list.
Real, fictional, posthumous and inanimate: My influences are not only real people, they also include fictional characters. Some of the real people are no longer here, but they still influence me. Oh, and I do get influenced by inanimate objects – books, movies, music. The list is ever-expanding.
Objective, principle-based: There are specific reasons why someone, or something influences me. These reasons are typically very objective and principle-based.
Category specific: It’s rare to have a uberall influence. With me, specific influences impact specific areas of my life.
More often than not, obscure: Many of my influences, are obscure. They don’t know even know that they influence(d) me. Also, the world doesn’t know about them. They’re on the outer fringes of obscurity.
In summary, trust and influence are not equal to, or based on fame and power. Not in the real world. Not in social media.
To make a difference, and to leave a legacy in terms of your influence, common sense still applies. Build trust. Be authentic. Care for others. Serve.
These golden rules applied a century ago – and will still apply a century from now. Offline. Online. And in social media. No exceptions!
At the end of the day, Scott Adams aptly said about influence in this quote of his:
You don’t have to be a “person of influence” to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.
What do you think? I’d love to hear your perspectives on the topic of trust and influence?
(Image Credit: hcii http://www.flickr.com/photos/hcii/)