Influence and Illuminati

Influence gets its core in astrology.  Centuries later the idea of being “under the influence” took on a wholly different meaning. communication.”

The idea was that “opinion leaders” “those in control” or “THEY” filter information between the mass media and US, and it was their encounters with discussion among those elite “influentials” about new information that really drove the way citizens formed opinions and made decisions. The whole illuminati thing!! The scholars’ insight was that individuals are influenced more by the people with whom they interact than by the messages they get from mass media.The theory was accepted by marketers, political practitioners, communications gurus, public health advocates, and those who study  innovation and ideas. 

One of the many disruptions caused by the digital age has been to the two-step theory.  The digital disruption has not challenged a core tenet of two-step proponents that influence flows from encounters with others. But three revolutions in the digital space have brought new kinds of actors, new kinds of encounters, and new kinds of information into the influence marketplace.first revolution is the rise of the Internet, especially broadband connections. Today is an unprecedented explosion of storytelling and influence. Sometimes the influence is felt through individual interactions; at other times the sheer weight of anonymous crowds does the job. And “influentials” do not necessarily come with credentials. 

Amateur experts are much in evidence in every field. I AM ONE!! Also some of the most important new influencers in this world are machine algorithms that sort through all this digital content to try to make sense of it. Influence is embedded in Google’s PageRank. The second is tied to the rise of mobile devices and mobile connections. At this moment, 84 percent of American adults and 80 percent of teenagers have cell phones, more than half of adults have laptops with mobile ties, and 11 percent have tablet computers.  63 percent of adults connect to the Internet on the fly. 

Mobile connectivity has elevated the importance of just-intime searches and real-time information and insight. As people’s expectations about the availability of others and of information adjust to this always-on reality, influence is exercised in the tap on an app. Decisions and actions that depend on information exchanges can now be much more spur of the moment than in the past. The third revolution relates to social networking sites themselves. Social networks (bunches of friends and acquaintances) have been around forever. 

The rise of Facebook in the middle of 2000s has changed information flows through networks and reconfigured influence inside networks. One of the ways in which people cope with information overload is to rely more heavily on others in their social networks to alert them to news of all kinds (big cultural stuff as well as social tidbits), help them evaluate information that is confusing, and become consumers of information that is generated in social media. KLOUT!!!!

There are fortunes to be made in analyzing the data generated by humans and machines to determine how people direct their attention, what messages make a difference as they decide what to do, which interventions through what channels change harmful behavior, and which past activities predict future actions. 

 If people feel stalked or misunderstood or manipulated as these explorations are under way, the whole enterprise will come crashing down. . Assuming the research is done sensitively and correctly, it is likely that the insights will lead to conclusions that influence can be understood in the same way we are learning to understand say any disease. SO I begin my journey into KLOUT come along with me….

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