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Other than customers Duncan Watts, network research guru, has done the research on influence. See his presentation here http://bit.ly/dBMcYI basically he says if a movement is ready to start anyone can make it happen. If it is not then no one can. Effetively it doesn't matter which match in the box you use to light the fire.

Late to my own conversation!

@Eric - I would rather be there on the merits of having served the community vs. having served my own self. Do we need this kind of set up to show us humans can be self centered? We do have centuries of history to tell us that. We already know who has influence over us, and it's the teachers, the mentors, the mothers and fathers who are there to listen and understand our humanity, and the people who draw out the best of what we've got.

@Traci - when I wrote about Klout a few days ago, I also mentioned two very important aspects of influence: authority and trust. Both reside in context, which is where the conversation becomes wide open.

@William - I'm glad you had the opportunity to experience that. I have not found that same spirit in current generation networks.

@John - well the chase for the ever elusive attention or moment in the spotlight becomes and end in itself, well, you end up proving yourself right. The best way to lead is by leading.

@Colleen - Alan Judd, a British fiction writer, impressed me with an interesting observation in one of his novels. "Because we think we know, we stop looking," he wrote. Content is a good indication of digital body language, part of the mix. Thank you for sharing the link.

@Sharlene - we're not disputing the content. I read the magazine cover to cover from issue one. As for thriving... they've had their ups and downs. I remember when issue where as thick as phone books, because everyone wanted to advertise there. Then things got lean and the publication went into survival mode. If content alone were enough, we would not have popularity contests ;)

@Beth - still can't believe it's been more than ten years, time flies! And thank you for reminding us that true influence is very much in the real world, where we do things because we want to, not because we have the photo op.

@Olivier - it's become more difficult to break through the noise. People are harried, they're also quite a bit disenchanted and looking for their moment in the spotlight. Why does it have to take a lifetime to make a difference, right? Except for it doesn't. We can choose to make a difference every day, in very real ways. Especially if nobody is looking.

@Rich - indeed, influence is a very interesting thread we can use to trace part of our desire for and attachment to recognition. There are so many interesting questions surrounding human nature, why take a shortcut?

@Sean - the desire to fit in is strong. Hope you did get some value out of listening to the project. Often, things that seem simple are not that easy to do, or live with. If they were, we'd be a much more evolved species. As for measurement, perhaps it's worth spending some time to document and observe what has influence over you and your close circle of friends. See if there are any patterns and what role context plays. I'll be writing more about the topic. We're just getting warmed up.

@Sharon - we rationalize all kinds of actions, and we're all motivated by different things at different stages of our personal and professional journey. Think about it. For some people, it might be that chance to get in the magazine so they can talk about it. Then there is the opportunity to take the contrarian approach and say that you're sticking by it, even when everyone else runs in the opposite direction, or pretends to. An interesting study in human behavior.

@Lisa - this initiative seems to be more about the kind influence that can be commercialized.

If we want to talk about true influencers, why not focus on those people who may have only influenced one other person to go on and do wonderful things? It might be a parent, a mentor or that fantastic teacher you had in 6th grade. We could share those stories through social media and learn a lot about the true meaning of influence.

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