Is this the Rise or Fall of Social Influence?

Posted on December 17, 2014 by

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Has social media (and we as its masters) stripped away the meaningful value of influence?

Over the last few weeks that thought has nagged me until at last I threw it at my friend Chris Jones (@sourcepov) for a sanity check.

DM with SourcePOV

If you know Chris, then his reply to my pondering will come as no surprise. “OMG, how awesome. This is a conversation made for #smchat.” So that’s how easily we arrived at the Thought Du Jour for the December 17 edition of our online chat.

Here’s a little contextual framework for our conversation

Influencers – and influence – mean different things to different people.  But let’s run with the description I snagged from TheNextWeb that says “Influencers are the power users and authorities. They lend credence to products or services and they elevate conversations. Influencers are experts; the trusted voices with social capital.”

Fair enough, influencers are people in the know.

But what’s nagging me most — as a marketer, a technologist, a writer, and someone who is by nature a helper — is whether meaningful influence really travels on the back of the loudest voice or biggest following.  Personally, I can give example after example of where influence came in the form of a trusted whisper and not from a media-ordained master. What about you?

As the concept of influence shifts from organic goodness to flavored concentrate, marketers and business professionals need to challenge the means by which we’re willing to reach our audience. But that’s just the opinion of yours truly, the moderator …

Let’s stir it up: is the real value of influence waning? Our questions for #SMChat:

  1. Share your first reaction, when I say “INFLUENCER” you say _________?
  2. How has the meaning social capital changed over the last few years?
  3. Has online influence become just a numbers game? If so, have we lost sight of real engagement?
  4. Influence is ripe for reinvention. Are there people, industries or brands doing something spectacular?
  5. In a predictable twist of fate, social media teeters on being impersonal. How can we reimagine Social in order to breathe life back into it?

Bring your reaction to these questions — and more — to #smchat on Wednesday, December 17. If you can’t join us live, we’d love your comments here or on Twitter. See you there!

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Posted in: B2B, Marketing, Trends