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I think about the shortening-of-attention-spans a lot. It used to be that people read emails (not merely skimmed them). I don't even listen to the end of my voice mail messages anymore. After the first 30-seconds, I get the idea, then hit delete. As a content provider, it's aggravating. I work hard to research, and synthesize, important info, only to find that my audience is over-saturated! But you know what? This challenges to be even better, more concise, more entertaining. Hey, no one said it was easy!

You know, Valeria, some of us read this piece, hovered over your links, and heard voices say, "Oh yeah! I remember that one!" :)

With regards to your comments, above, on the challenge, useful filters, and influence, I think the key to it all is empowering others. True success comes from helping others to be successful, in my opinion.

How hard is it to develop useful content, if the only reason you create content is to help your friends help their friends and so on?

Where we feel we have a purpose, we have a sense of direction. That sense of direction is a filter. There's no shortage of historical/touristy sites along the way, but we press on regardless.

There is no better way to influence someone than by sincerely showing them how much they matter. I experienced that first-hand right here on this site. POW.

All of which explains why your blog is at the top of my list of "dailies;" feeds I read every day, no matter what.

Is success really building an audience, a community, a business? Is it helping clients solve problems and make a profit? Is it being a thought leader in a chosen industry?

Or is it knowing you helped one person discover his life's work; his raison d'être?

I say, if you're making a positive difference in people's lives, there's no reason to worry about content, filters, and influence.

I consider myself very fortunate to have a job that requires me to read content throughout the day and offer my comments. Because I am able to allot work time to participate in social media (which I love), I am able to read intellectual content, which requires far more concentration, as well as light-hearted, more personable content. Indeed, the digital Big Bang has overwhelmed us all with far more content than we could possible consume (or would want to consume) and most of us don’t have time in our busy work days to root out these amazing thinkers and writers that you speak of. I think it is the digital boom that makes influence harder to attain. Influence can also be skewed by marketing agencies that have more resources to invest in SEO. I have noticed that influence is also beginning to be associated with trustworthiness as mainstream media is slowly being outmoded by citizen journalism. It provides us communications professionals with a great opportunity, but also a great challenge, as you point out. I think this trust will be eroded by the automation of social media, which Gartner predicts will make up 10 per cent of our online connections within five years. Yuck! In my opinion, to become thought leaders in online communications, businesses need to focus more effort on showing their human sides while creating quality content that engages its readership by striking their emotional and personable cords.

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