Monday, January 4, 2021

Who Are You Going to Influence in 2021?


In a world of algorithms, hashtags and followers, know the true importance of human connection.”- Anonymous

Have you ever heard the term influencer?

In the social media world, an influencer is someone who is shown to be credible in a specific area, whether it be fashion, makeup, gaming, product review, fitness, etc.  They are considered experts in the area they are marketing and have an engaged following (and paying advertisers) to prove it. 

Did you know that you don’t need 2 million followers to be an influencer?  You don’t even have to have meaningful content frankly.   My daughter is an artist for a gamer on YouTube who has 4.5 million followers-- who just watch him play video games!  Say what?  Ya, you heard me!

Regular Joes-- and Jeanas—just like you and me, have the capacity to influence others.  Not only do we have the capacity, we are doing it every day—sometimes without even knowing it.  Facts!  (Slang I learned on TikTok) No Caps!  (More slang I learned on TikTok).

See what I mean?  Darn teen influencers got to me! 

Once upon a time, the ability to influence and be influenced came from a direct source that we had a human connection with; such as:  teachers, peers, coaches, siblings, or dare I say it—our parents!  I’m not saying we were not influenced by pop culture—it just came in the form of movies, record albums, posters, newspapers,  magazines—or MTV!   

Not from videos of teens dancing to WAP or a TikTok series about the day in the life of a stay-at-home daughter!  And yes I watched them!  For research purposes.  Geesh!

Today, due in large part to social media – and technology in general—our scope of influence has grown exponentially.   Technology has allowed us the opportunity to reach a much larger audience in a shorter period of time without ever having to grace them with our in-person presence.  An introvert’s paradise.

It has also allowed us the power of invisibility to pass judgement on others (I mean, it’s not like they are real people) or determine our success or self-worth solely on the volume of likes, follows, subscribes, shares, tags, tweets and retweets one receives on a post.   

Well, throw me a life saver because I’m drowning in a tear-filled sea of failure if that is the case! 

Let’s look deeper into social media—past the tutorials, past the product marketing, past the political commentary and articles.  There are millions of people seeking validation, attention and understanding through their online postings and connections.

Our need for human connection and socialization is innate and if we are not getting it at home, or at work, or from our peers—we will seek it elsewhere.  This elsewhere is who, how, and what will  influence us.   And it’s not always positive. 

So, how do we bring that scope of influence closer to home? 

We concentrate on the quality of those connections, not the quantity.  If just one of you watches my videos or reads my articles and they touch, inspire, motivate or influence you in a positive way, then I’m a successful influencer—regardless if you comment, follow, like, share or subscribe.

If my young adult cub writes out thank you cards for gifts she received without me asking her to for the first time, then I’m a successful influencer. 

If my teen cub goes out and buys his girlfriend flowers and chocolates when she is sad without me having to tell him—or having to pay for it, then I’m a successful influencer.

The ability to influence and be influenced through human connection is all around us.  Perhaps its your supervisor, or a mentor, a pastor or a neighbor who influences you and you don't even realize it.  Since you can't push like, how about a simple thank you.  That acknowledgement helps strengthen the connection.  

Perhaps you give advice or encouragement to a local budding artist or musician or someone starting out in an area that you have found success in.  Instead of clicking on follow, how about you pick up the phone and ask how they are progressing and offer up suggestions?  That follow up helps strengthen that connection.

So, I will ask you again, “Do you need 2 million followers to be an influencer?” 

Let's embrace Mondays, and everyday, with excitement.  We will do it together, each Monday- for a moment. 

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