the need to influence

I’ve worked in the ‘Influence Economy’ in the past 3 years, and have gained so much from it. The most profound truth I’ve taken away from all of it though, is that in this day and age, we’re all essentially influencers in our own right. With the normalisation of social media, everyone’s voice has the opportunity to hold clout, as long as it holds the powers of logic, ease of understanding or emotion. Notice that not all of them have to exist together for something to be of influence, but I’ve found the best of them do.

I’ve committed myself to the pursuit of some sort of influence over the communities I exist in, to pursue spreading progressive ideas and goodwill in environments that are unhealthy and sadly caustic. Yet for all it is worth, 3 years later, I’m realising there’s still so much needed for more people to wield their own influence powerfully.

Micro-influence is severely underestimated, and when not utilised leads to the phenomenon known as the ‘the silent majority’. The people who do speak are the ones whose voices get heard, and they have the most potential to do damage or incredible good to the people who listen to them. It’s natural for there to be some form of inequity here , there will always be people who have an interest and ability to communicate, and will do so regardless of anyone else’s participation. But for those who disregard their own ability to be of influence, this is for you.

Most people think I’m obsessed with social media. In a lot of ways, its undeniable that I have a love for the ability to communicate with people through various mediums. There’s so much knowledge to be gained, and your world opens up when you’re able to exchange perspectives and experiences. But an aspect of that obsession also comes from my desire to form some sort of a mastery on this new normal. I want to understand content marketing, social media metrics and campaign pacing so that I can use it well for powerful ideas that I may be interested in spreading as I grow older.

Take your Facebook page as an example. It’s perhaps the most fundamental resource every person who’s acquainted with social media possesses. Facebook popularised the idea of a newsfeed ,something many other social media applications have in some form or another now. A newsfeed is a stream of information published and crowdsourced from your friends and communities, indicating things that may prove to be of interest to you. There’s a bunch of different aspects to the algorithm that decides what goes to the top of the newsfeed, but essentially if something is popular , that’s what you’ll see.  I’ve topped the newsfeed of my more than 3000 friends pretty regularly, and that’s because of a tried and tested method of understanding how people interact with content online. Yet, if anyone else was able to do that, they too can experience the power of their words and pictures in shaping how users consume.

If enough people was to share useful and interesting perspectives and thoughts, they could collectively keep setting new normals, normals that could be so much better than some of the dire states our online communities are in now. Spread good messages, those of hope or of caution, of filtered, measured and verified truths, and even of reflection and reminiscing.

If you’ve followed my blog, you would know my ultimate goal is to use my blog to testbed some of my philosophies and principles on life, and hopefully develop some mastery on them. Thought leadership is perhaps the ultimate form of influence, more powerful and more useful than the kind wielded by bloggers , YouTubers and even artistes. Thought leadership is when what you say makes sense because it has proven to be universally applicable, and more importantly, credible because of who you are as a person. There’s a lot that needs to be done in this world, and while core fields such as science, technology and policy are still crucial to addressing those needs, influence wielded by those who are of good mind and heart is equally important.

Look at Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Malala Yousafzi or even Emma Watson. All of them are thought of as celebrities, but their true titles match those of Thought Leaders a lot more. They use their influence to invite others to think about what they say , and to imagine a new normal with them. The power of inspiration and planting an idea supersedes anything else, because an inspired idea is a furious fire , desiring only more. If we could collectively move the people of the world to use whatever micro-influence they posses to advance a goal, then that would be the ultimate milestone, a crowdsourced new normal. One that isn’t merely motivated by the hopes of the few and powerful, but instead shared by the hearts of the many.

That’s the power of influence. The question is, would you use yours?



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