Influence is NOT…


Influence Mascot

Today’s topic is influence. Because influence is often difficult to define, it is a good idea to determine what influence is not as well as what influence is.  Understanding influence will help you to surround yourself with influencers who can help to make you a greater success.

So here goes…Influence is NOT:

  • About technology or an algorithm that captures a score; influence is about the people and about your peers.

  • A measure of your ego; it is, however a measure of trust within your community or network of peers.

  • A right, it’s a privilege and as quickly as it’s awarded to a person, it can be taken away.

  • Control or authority over a peer’s behavior, yet influence, depending on the level, can certainly steer or guide behavior.

  • Just about the numbers, and can’t be completely defined by a metric; we rely on scores for reach, resonance, and impact. But, remember there are personal ways that people affect us, and a number or score may not capture the meaning of the influence on a personal level.

  • A popularity contest; popularity is demonstrated with large numbers of followers and friends.  For influencers, the numbers range from one end of the spectrum to the other; it’s not the quantity, but the quality of your interactions.

  • A one-time award or something that you can sustain without constant maintenance.  Influencers must continue to captivate their communities and grow strong relationships with peers.

  • The power to push messages, you have to keep listening to provide valuable information to your community.

  • Static, it can change every day.

  • Influence is not made up of just one characteristic; it’s made up of many.

  • Influence is not exclusive to social media.  People have been influencing their peers for hundreds of years, yet we’re hearing more about influence through social media.

  • Influence is not the end game; it’s only the beginning. It’s not what you’ve done in the past; it’s how you continue to grow your relationships in the future.


When it comes to your business, you should think about what influence is for your business and how it affects what you are doing and what you are offering. Help me to define influence by telling me what it is NOT.  Please add to this list so that we can understand influence so that it becomes a part of growth and not something that’s out of reach.

This guest post, Influence is Not…, originally appeared on the PR expanded blog on April 22,2011.



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Deirdre Breakenridge is the CEO of Pure Performance Communications . A 25-year veteran in public relations, she teaches at NYU and speaks internationally on the topics of PR, marketing and social media. She is the author of Social Media and Public Relations: Eight New Practices for the PR Professional and blogs at PR 2.0 Strategies .

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