The Social Influence Conundrum. Again.

Be warned – this has nothing to do with Klout, Kred, PeerIndex or influence metrics. I’m talking here about human influence, and how we identify who is influential and who isn’t.

I’m not sure massively who these guys are, but a presence called `Business Re-Imagined` – linked in some way to Microsoft it seems – have created a list of the UK’s Leading Social Business Entrepreneurs. The discussion about this takes place in the LinkedIn Group they have created. It’s a great `start a solid presence` ploy. Identify 50 clearly socially `influential` people – tell them you’ve added them to a list and they’ll tell twitter, facebook, and join in on LinkedIn – because they are clearly socially `influential` people. If you disagree or want to add anything, join the LinkedIn Group and add your weight. I did it, willingly – and supported the opinion of another, and added my own. I could add more.

influenceBut then so could so many. And so the comments and suggestions continue.

Actually, as the list gets longer – are we suggesting people who are just good at what they do, that we like and value – or are we suggesting people who genuinely are thought-leaders and have considerable impact on the thoughts and actions of others?

And so here’s my point. The impact of influence once again, remains a largely individual emotion. There naturally is a collective agreement in certain subjects, of course – and it’s how influencer campaigns are built. But essentially, the act of true influence requires each of us to fulfill the effect of influence and act upon it, and change our own behaviours. This is something we do by individual choice, rather than collective trend.  Isn’t it? Or does influence breed change? Do we all do something different because one person says so? That’s major influence, and worthy of any greatest-hits list.

What I liked about some of the names on that list – was it wasn’t based on pure follower numbers and the influence assumption that goes with that. Someone can have 100,000 followers with no credibility at all. Influencer? No chance. Sometimes influence is far, far away from voice. Voice is noise; Influence is change leadership.

I reckon each of us has around 5-10 genuine social business influencers, who have actually made us reconsider or develop our operational practices on their knowhow – either in 1-to-1 contact, reading, or listening. I know many of mine, do you know yours? Feel free to tell us them in the comments.

Mine would include: Raj Anand, Christian Gladwell, Tiffany St James, Bill Boorman, Tom Nixon, Lee Bryant.

Do you agree with my thoughts here? Are these lists sometimes a little pointless when they stretch into a 50-100+ name long list? Not having a go at the source article around these observations – its a nice gesture – but more raising the subject of the drilled down identification of genuine influence, rather than pure gestures of appreciation – which I believe, is different.

Welcome thoughts.

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