Double doors. One door is open as a queue of people brush in and out pass it. Nobody attempts to open the second door. Why?


Maybe it’s just laziness, but in most cases i’d say it’s influence. Because nobody else is trying the closed door, it’s assume it’s locked or broken or something. That may be the case but without trying, nobody will ever know.

It’s the same standing outside a classroom. If somebody is already standing outside, it’s assumed the door is locked. But what if they haven’t tried to open it? Then the build up of people outside snowballs until eventually somebody (or the lecturer) tries to open the door, possibly with keys even though the door is already open. That happens the odd time in college and going back to my days at school, it was the type of tactic employed regularly to steal an extra minute or two from class time.

By the time everyone got in to the room and settled, a minute or two would have passed which is one less minute we’d have to spend learning. So influence is at work there. We can’t help but be influenced and indeed influence others every day of our lives. And there could be a million reasons why we can be easily influenced at certain times or by certain people and not by others. I tend to shove all that in to the ‘unknown’ box because i don’t think that we’ll ever fully understand the complexity of this stuff.

Influence in social media

For those of you who haven’t yet guessed by now, yes this is another dissertation related blog post. I want to talk about influence in social media because i think it’s important. Like it or not. I carry a lot more influence online than a lot of you readers. Some of you however also have a lot more influence online than i have… and that’s just how it is. Because we each have our own networks and contacts and varying degrees of strength in the relationships that hook all those contacts up to us.

You can’t measure influence by numbers or friend counts. Influence is a pretty difficult thing to measure. Let’s say i have 10 readers on I could write about how i love Cadbury Roses today and 10 of you could go out an buy a box of them over the next 24 hours. Can that influence be measured in some way? No. Not unless you tell me “I’m buying a box of Roses because you mentioned them today”.

So in that case i could have influenced every reader i have however the same post from someone with 10,000 readers may not have the same impact. So it’s important not to get sucked in to the numbers game, it’s about the quality of relationships you have with people in networks, not the quantity of relationships you have.

That’s lesson no.1 when it comes to influence. Numbers alone mean nothing. Quality, not quantity. As for lesson number 2 and subsequent lessons, they’ll have to wait for another day… i’m off to gain some new twitter followers and add a few strangers as friends on Facebook 🙂

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