Rethinking the whole influencer thing

Rather than try and throw together a post with lots of juicy links about a sexy topic that might get lots of love and some retweets, I wanted to just throw this thought out there. It has to do with bubbles. in this case, social media.

For the majority of us, we operate in bubbles. Our lives consist of numerous bubbles. work bubbles, play bubbles, family bubbles… In some cases, our self importance is derived from our bubbles. What do we mean to the people that are in our bubbles? I’d like to think that I influence those in my work bubble. My work bubble is pretty much the social media space. Even more importantly, and a larger question is, What impact do you have on people that are not in your bubble? What does your name and your credentials mean to them? Damien Basile was right when he said:

Online influencers with large followings are not the offline influencers.

But there’s the rub. In order to have true impact we need to be able to influence those with our knowledge and understanding who are “outside” the bubble, those that are offline.  That’s hard to do. Does what I do really matter to those outside the bubble? Not really, what they might want to know is how what I know can make them better at what they do. It’s less about influence and more about performance for them.

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5 Responses to “Rethinking the whole influencer thing”


  1. 1 Jamie Sandford February 24, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    I looved reading Mack Collier’s comment (http://mackcollier.com/i-am-a-social-media-rockstar/comment-page-1/) about his experience at SxSW last year and I think it typifies the emphasis that we put on ourselves existing and competent in the SM space. We have made an SM bubble for ourselves and I think we fail to recognize the social influencers that exist in the world right around us.

    Think about your own community and the “communerati” who seem well connected and influential. Those people probably wouldn’t know the names Scoble and Brogan yet they influence so many elements of where we live and work.

    We have to remember that it still pays to volunteer in your communities and to help other businesses out in your locality. Offer them the opportunity to match online prices and then buy from them if they get close. They will remember you for that opportunity.

    We’re very willing to help anyone in our bubble because that’s the way that *we* are defining the SM environment.

    We still have personal brands that are very much alive when we turn off the computer. Let’s keep reminding ourselves of that fact.

  2. 2 marc meyer February 24, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    @Jamie…”We still have personal brands that are very much alive when we turn off the computer. Let’s keep reminding ourselves of that fact.”

    Amen on that…our social media world is fueled by who….? Customers, clients, prospects or sycophants? :)

  3. 3 Mack Collier February 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Jamie to follow up on the SXSW conversation, I am beginning to notice the same thing with people I am meeting online, and via social media. Many of them haven’t heard of Scoble and the like. I guess this is to be expected, as more and more people are finding tools like Twitter, and as they do, it’s almost as if they have bypassed blogs, and the people that are influential there.

    Honestly if I am providing value to my immediate ‘bubble’, then I figure the rest will take care of itself. We can’t be all things to all people, and I think we do everyone a disservice if we try to be.

  4. 4 marc meyer February 25, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    @Mack Maybe it’s not about being influential. I don’t set out or start my day by saying, “I’m going to be influential today”. I think it’s more about having an impact perhaps. The rest taking care of itself is, as they say in New Orleans, “Lagniappe”, or extra. I think my problem lies in the definition of an influencer being defined by artificial numbers inside a really tiny bubble..

  5. 5 Jamie Sandford February 26, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    @Mack, I hate to say it, but I think we’re probably beginning to see the “TV absorber” social media participant more and more these days, and I think this is a choice based on how avid you are to engage and learn more and what kind of personality you are.

    For instance — I know people who are willing to sit down and watch and hour-long documentary on TV on a subject, but there’s no way that I’d ever find them reading about the same subject for an hour. It’s that instant gratification and the reason there’s so much chunking that has to be done in blog posts.

    I think the percentage of those heavily into SM + reading blogs will probably start to reach those that read books vs. overall population. We just lack attention span sadly.

    @Marc – I think you have to look at it like a Venn diagram and where the “bubbles” of multiple people (on and off) intersect, then maybe you’re getting closer to the picture of a true influencer.


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Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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