How Influential Are You Going To Be?

Gathering Moss?
Gathering Moss?

Influence has always been an important factor in society. From our romantic notions of the ever-present skullduggery deep within the smoke-filled corridors of power to the simple mobilisation of support of numbers in order to maximise donations towards a worthy cause, the influential can and do wield their power for any reason along the spectrum from good to evil.

And it is precisely this relationship with power that continues to fascinate me as I watch digital networks continue to strengthen, increasingly coalescing around all manner of personal interests, both personal and business. Some people clearly understand the way that the world is moving. Others don’t. Yet both groups are experiencing the effects, whether they are aware of it or not.

Today’s interesting read comes from Mark Schaefer who is well-known for writing two recent books in particular (The Tao Of Twitter and Return On Influence). If you are interested at all in the notion of how individuals are extending their influence on a digital level, I’d recommend reading the second in particular.

I’m in no doubt that this issue is going to become increasingly important. We can’t second-guess the way that search algorithms will develop over time of course. But the move towards personalisation of your search results shows that the Google(s) of the future will increasingly take account of a range of other signals that you leave in your forays on the web. Bluntly, if you leave a significant digital footprint and can command plenty of engaged ‘social’ followers who freely share the content that you create, search results will increasingly view you as ‘high quality’. Meaning? Your face will pop up more frequently in th search results that other people carry out.

Rolling stone gathering lots of moss, anyone?

I’m not going to debate the merits and weaknesses of Klout, Kred, Social Authority  or any others at this stage. But I do agree with the point Mark makes about the fact that we are in the early days of understanding how things are developing – which invariably means startups will get it wrong at times.

Have a read and let me know what you think.

photo credit: aurelio.asiain via cc