Best of 2010 - The Year of Understanding Influence

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					Best of 2010: The Year of Understanding
By Brian Solis, blogger at and principal of FutureWorks, Author of the highly
acclaimed book on social business Engage!

2010 was the year where we revisited not only the definition of influence, but also deeply explored its
meaning in today’s social economy. What represented an ongoing series of virtual global summits
on the topic, influence was scrutinized as a way of better understanding its role in new media.

It goes beyond academic study however. Influence permeated the realm of the masses and
suddenly, we the people, were gifted with the opportunity to voice what moved us. In doing so, we
also earned the opportunity to build networks around who we are. The quest for the meaning of
influence emerged as something much more personal. Influence impacted digital societies and many
were earning it without fully understanding why or how.

With the pervasiveness of social media, we were learning, and sometimes confusing, the differences
between influence and new found, micro fame, celebrity and popularity. Suddenly the dichotomies of
influence and popularity were blurring. And, the controversial Fast Company Influence Project only
diluted distinction.

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Unlike so many terms in Social Media, influence is not a new word invented or reinvented to suit the
times. Its origin is Latin, “influere” which translates into something very interesting for the social era,
“to flow into.” Almost everything we discover and share in social networks these days is done
through our streams and to loosely translate the root of influence symbolizes the ability to flow into
the streams of others.

The text book definition of influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development,
or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.


Effect is key in understanding influence and its role in societies online and in the real world. In social
media, it’s the ability to cause measurable actions and outcomes. While popularity may help, this
really becomes a study of the quality, caliber, and conditioning of an individual’s social graph where
context plays an increasingly important role over time.

Understanding the relationship between cause and effect in new media also helps us better
understand the shift from influence to influencer.

In 2010 and heading into 2011, influence will only continue to captivate attention and interest. With
services such as Klout, PeerIndex, et al, we are now measured by how we interact online and
whether we like it or not, our influence factor (IF) is also weighted. To introduce a sense of urgency
into the subject, many businesses are placing great importance on these scores, which in the real
world is not new either, but here, we still have much to learn about social currency and individual

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Looking back to 2010, I’ve assembled a few of my favorite discussions on influence. We learned
many lessons and sparked significant insights that will help us continue the discussions in years to
come. And, we’ll learn every step of the way.

Please read and share…

The 2010 Series on Influence

- Exploring and Defining Influence: A Study with Vocus

- Please Repeat: Influence is not Popularity…and Popularity is not Influence

- Influence is Bliss: The Gender Divide of Influence on Twitter

(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis
Brian Solis is globally recognized as one of most prominent thought leaders and
published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has
studied and influenced the effects of emerging media in business, culture and the
convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. He is principal of
FutureWorks, an award-winning business management and New Media consultancy in
San Francisco and has led change management and social programs for Fortune 500
companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups. is ranked among
the top of world's leading business and marketing websites.

Solis is the author of Engage! The complete guide for businesses to build, cultivate and
measure success in the new Web.

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(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis

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