The Differences Between Influence and Popularity

At the core of a recent post on the Brian Solis website is a Fast Company survey that tries, admirably, to determine influence.

But the author contends that Fast Company’s measure of influence is flawed, and will only measure a person’s popularity and ability to fish for votes. How is this possible? For starters, it’s important to understand what true influence is, and what this survey is actually determining.

Influence is not a popularity contest. It does not hinge on the span of a network or the quantity of its connections. Instead, influence relies on a person’s ability to exact their will on a network, moving them toward a desired action or belief. To be sure, the Fast Company survey isn’t intended to meter influence in this way.

To conclude, the article finishes with a strong point: “True influencers know that they influence others by what they say and do. They don’t need someone to tell them they’re influential. They already know.”

Contributing Author

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