For example, you can influence a small group of people or a large group of people. Being popular normally means you are liked by many. Some people who are influential may not be popular with others.
While popularity is great, being influential is a lot more important. You are the person people learn from and become better. (Of course, you can also be negatively influential, but I like to hope you aim to be a positive influence on others.)
According to Wikipedia, the term is specifically social influence and it “occurs when an individual’s thoughts, feelings or actions are affected by other people.”
There are many types of influence. Just a few are:
- By idenitification – changing behaviors or attitudes of others
- By conformity – somewhat like peer pressure; you believe you need to appease others by doing what they are doing.
- By obedience – By obeying the law or perhaps a parent or authority figure
- By persuasion – convincing others
How do you know if you are influential as a blogger or even just as an individual?
Do you see others agreeing, reacting and practicing ideas you have introduced in a favorable manner? Are you able to ask those who follow you online, or even online, if they can do something and they do it? When you do something, whether negative, or positive, do people follow what you say? Do you engage with others quite well and notice that they are eager to learn from you?
I have heard a lot from many social media marketers nearly the same message- if you can influence at least one person, you are influential.
So, with that being said, while you might want to be popular, try building your influence with each person one at a time. You will have a more loyal following in the long run.
Some of the people I met up with once again at my 10-year high school class reunion, who were once popular (were great athletes or one student council, or even very sociable in different school clubs), did not have much going for them. They complained of not having a great social life, or the ambition they once did. Of course, over time, people do change, but for some of them, they thought being popular would carry them far.
They never took a moment to think about building a sturdy foundation of influence.
Are popularity and influence the same in your opinion? If so, why? If not, what is your opinion on being influential?