Brian Solis, The Year of Understanding Influence


2010 was the year where we revisited not only the definition of influence, but also deeply explored its meaning in today’s social economy. What represented an ongoing series of virtual global summits on the topic, influence was scrutinized as a way of better understanding its role in new media.

It goes beyond academic study however. Influence permeated the realm of the masses and suddenly, we the people, were gifted with the opportunity to voice what moved us. In doing so, we also earned the opportunity to build networks around who we are. The quest for the meaning of influence emerged as something much more personal. Influence impacted digital societies and many were earning it without fully understanding why or how.

With the pervasiveness of social media, we were learning, and sometimes confusing, the differences between influence and new found, micro fame, celebrity and popularity. Suddenly the dichotomies of influence and popularity were blurring. And, the controversial Fast Company Influence Project only diluted distinction.

Unlike so many terms in Social Media, influence is not a new word invented or reinvented to suit the times. Its origin is Latin, “influere” which translates into something very interesting for the social era, “to flow into.”…

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