We’re online. We work in a world of zeros and ones (binary code). Simple numbers that are the fabric of our digital experience. The problem happens when there become thousands and millions of them in different arrangements. Confusion and information overload happens and we realize we are small in a huge ocean. How do we overcome this feeling of being small? How do we create influence in a world of millions of voices crying out to be heard? We all like a formula and by the end of this post you will realize what this means. Here are three key concepts you need to understand to increase your digital influence. These are the three highways of influence in the digital world and you should learn to become a master of one, two, or all three of them.
Stretching. We are cerebral by nature and the main commodity online is information. This feeds our brain in one way or another. So to be influential the first way we can do this is by bringing new information to the party. This is why blogs have shaped the digital landscape. Instead of getting information from a handful of people we massively opened up our sourcing and like children who can see a whole new world we expanded our boundaries. Bringing new information to people in the form of sharing your unique perspective is one way of growing your influence with a single person or as a whole. People like to be stretched and are intrigued by people who bring something new to their world. Share something new or teach someone something they didn’t know.
Organizing. With so much information to choose from we run into the second problem… information overload. Like a baby who is overstimulated we can become overwhelmed by the limitless possibilities of new information even when we aren’t trying to access it. Helping people narrow the choices is a skill of influence. This is what Google has done by indexing the enormous. They have swaddled our minds from information overload. Let’s talk curation. What curation does is build influence by organizing information for people. The influence this creates is a bit like Stockholm syndrome where people fall in love with their captor. Good content creation does the same thing. TV channels used to have the lock on this with certain shows or news programs becoming loved by their fans. Organizing information is why top 10 lists or how to posts create interest, respect, and ultimately influence for the person who shares them. Quality matters and so does knowing your audience. Be an information organizer and watch your influence grow.
Analyzing. This is about recognizing patterns and helping people understand what they are seeing. This is the hardest to do because you have to understand and see the things other people don’t. Sometimes this means seeing the complex, and sometimes this means seeing the simple and powerful mechanics. Analyzing is the wisdom to apply things in a way that closes the circle and becomes new information because you understand the information so well you take them to a new level. When you master this you will create true fans. A great example of this is Seth Godin. He doesn’t just share his opinion, or organize information in a way you can understand, though he does both of these. He ultimately uses his analysis to see new insights you might have missed and in doing so he changes the way you understand the information you already knew or the information he shared with you. This is harder to do and as a result of this rarity, his influence is magnified.
I recognize patterns. I observe how things work and then look for opportunities. A friend of mine in high school once said I have analysis paralysis. I have come to find out that in a complicated world that can create great influence. We are surrounded by zeros and ones and digital influence is so much more than posting a tweet and getting more followers. It is about understanding how this environment of information is shaped and how we are impacting it. You can become more influential by understanding these three mechanics and putting your actions in the context of them. From there you can focus on doing what you do better. Sometimes, “getting it” opens up your mind to align with the right actions. This is just a teaser of topics I will be talking about in my first book on social media and influence and I hope it helps you expand your influence and grow your life into everything you want. Coming soon… Here is a great video on idea diffusion and bringing something new to people from Seth Godin. Notice how he does all three things we talked about. He brings new information, organizes it, and then builds his influence by analyzing it to generate even more new information.
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