Influence(r) is one of the most used words today. It is how some people make their money. The label, whether applied on by self or culture, can be misleading. On the one hand I get it; it’s the means we describe something. But there are some things about the influence(r) language that bug me. To start with, this kind of label or language, undermines the other meanings. We need a reset–to going back to appreciating my and your influence.
The Myth – Now For The Few
Corporations and causes want to get people to give to them money or get involved in their mission. I get it. Some of it is noble and a fair amount of it self-serving for them. One of the ways they do that–and this isn’t new–is look for people who others listen to. Someone admired, whose voice has gravitas with their target audience.
I’ve been a part of that system or game. I still take part in it from time to time. This is how it usually works:
“I want people to listen to and trust me. For that to happen, I should find out who they already listen to and trust. I need to find a way to get that person they trust. To listen to me and then convince them to get his audience to listen to or trust me. If this ‘Influencer’ believes in my cause they lend their voice without asking for much in return.”
But for some ‘Influencers’ their audience is a commodity with a price tag. This post isn’t about the morality or ethics of it.
‘The Internet’s’ idea of influencers has created this myth: influencing is by or for a select few.
The Reminder: Appreciating My And Your Influence
The myth, further makes us think that our voices don’t matter until we get the Influencer label. Somehow it’s induced amnesia to the truth: we are all influencers. I don’t mean this as a cliché.
For various reasons influencers’ megaphones aren’t equal. There are still people in my life, and in yours, who place great value on you and what you have to say. To them the tens-of-thousands to millions of followers someone else has doesn’t matter.
There are people who care more about my opinion than someone who has way more following than I do. This is an awe-inspiring truth. The same is true for you. There are many people in your world who care more about what you have to say than some ‘cultural icon’.
The Clarion Call
It’s time to get back to appreciating my and your influence. And by that I don’t mean an applause and pat on the back. I mean realising again that there are people who look to us for a great example. People who depend on us to be a voice in their world.
We mustn’t undermine the power of our words and actions. They still matter; they are still consequential for some people in our orbit. Despite the rise the other kind of influencers you still have influence.
May you and I get being to appreciating our influence and being great stewards of it. The world needs it.