Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Popularity and Influence in Social Networks: You Choose What Works and What Doesn’t.

Influence in Social Networks.
Being an influential person, no matter what industry you’re related with, carries with it a great responsibility that grows as the degree of influence you can have on other people grows. They grow together.

History is full of examples of people who have been extremely influential and have managed to promote really positive changes in our social, scientific, political and religious lives, and we better stop counting as we won’t be able to finish.

Hence the immense responsibility that an influential person may have, even though he/she might not be completely aware from the beginning of how far it could get to influence others.

We are all clear that a person doesn’t turn influential overnight, and must understand that it's all part of a process in which a person gives and shares its opinions and points of view about something, and those points of view begin to be strongly accepted by others, people start listening to and following that person, and such audience starts to grow on a regular basis and people commence to have this person as a reference.

Not all influences are positive, and it’s been proven.

History is also full of examples of people who have used their influence over others on a very destructive, shameful, highly questionable way. Wars that shouldn’t have happened, needless persecution, mass suicides and many other stories that are not worth even mentioning.

And this is the point I want to emphasize in my post this week: "All influences are not positive" and the responsibility isn't only on the side of the influential person, but also on the side of the person who is being influenced.

First of all, back to the subject of influence in social networks, it’s important that you apply a lot of common sense when it comes to consuming and sharing content generated by people you consider influential to you.

For instance, there are some authors I read with absolute regularity and I don’t miss any of their posts. However, it doesn’t mean I’ll share with you everything I read from them, because in some cases, I don’t agree with the content or ideas they propose therefore I don’t feel like there is enough value on the piece as to make it worth to be shared with you.

It is responsibility of each one of us to distinguish grain from straw.

And it's a topic you have to be very clear about, if you don’t want to become one of those little mice who followed the flautist blindly toward the cliff. One such case of blind fanaticism which doesn’t distinguish good from evil.

I have read fellow bloggers recommending applications that allow you to automatically share absolutely everything that is posted at specific sites, which, in my personal opinion, shouldn’t be done that way.

And since every time I make statements like this, I share with you the reason why I think so, here it is: What if I publish in this blog an article which goes against all rules of morality and decency? Would I expect you to share it? Of course I wouldn’t. And not only that, but I would truly expect you to show me your disagreement openly and let me know what your opinion is, because I also learn from it.

When talking about influence in social networks, we always have to keep in mind we can all go from being influenced by others to becoming influential to others, depending on the subject we are talking about, the industry we’re referring to and many other things.

So, what should you do to make sure you are only being influenced in a positive way?

I want to share with you how I do it, so that you can choose from what I'm proposing, what works for you and put away what doesn’t, and I hope it works for you as well as it does for me. Here it goes:

  • First of all, make sure to read thoroughly all the posts you receive from people you consider your "guides" or people who strongly influence you. Read them from the very first to the last line.
  • At that very moment, the content will give you a “feeling” that can be positive or negative. If it’s positive, it’s kind of sure you agree with the information posted in the article and you’ve no problem with sharing it or applying it to your own business or life.
  • If the feeling is negative, compare the content you are reading (or viewing) with what other experts in the same industry say, and then try to draw your own conclusions. The most important thing will be the conclusions you draw yourself.
  • Then, make the decision whether to share or not what you just read/viewed.

Once you've followed these simple steps, you'll be more comfortable knowing that the content you are receiving is being really nutritious for you and your business, and therefore would hopefully be the same for the people you share such content with.

Thus, the true value of the social web will become increasingly powerful generating a positive influence through shared content, and all good people, influential or not, will become aware of the importance of sharing quality, relevant content adding value to other’s people lives.

Because, after all, if we aren’t willing to do so, what’s the reason motivating us to write a blog or a piece of content to share?

Click here to read part III of this post:
Popularity and Influence in Social Networks: Create Your Own Voice

Related Post:
Popularity and Influence in Social Media (Part I): Do You Know The Difference.

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