Influence, This. By Amy Goldberg

In recent years the word or title of “influencer” has been watered down so much that it now sounds rather trite. So, what is an influencer anyways?

Definition of an influencer (noun)

A person or thing that influences another.
More notably: A person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.

A quick backgrounder; the word influencer has been used since the mid-1600s, where it was used broadly to refer to someone or something with the power to alter the beliefs of individuals, and as a result, impact the course of events. Today, however there are a number of variations on the influencer theme, such as thought leaders, think-fluencers, micro-influencers, and nano-influencers.

Does this sound to you like a bunch of egocentric mumbo-jumbo created by marketers?

Don’t we all have the ability to influence others at some point or another? Why do we have to give it a title or call it a job? Quite ironically, it’s not even that others are calling people influencers, it’s he/she that has given themselves that moniker.

So why do I find the whole thing rather ridiculous? Because once again we’re looking either to create something out of thin air hoping with little effort, that something magical will happen. And/or we’re looking to others rather than to ourselves to find the answers.

So often people say; “Find someone who inspires you and is doing what you want to be doing and copy THAT.”  Forget that your personality, background, experiences, values, skills, etc. could be so misaligned that it actually sets you back rather than propels you forward.

What about rather than following the masses, create, test and test again your own theory, sweet spot and energy around what it is that sparks you. When you find that for yourself, then others will tap into what you’re doing. Not from an “influencer” stand point, but rather from a collaborative, supportive, with a desire to build community, aspect to it.

Ok, so back to influencers. The bottom line is that influencers want to sell you stuff. Apart from marketing themselves, they are marketing “stuff.” What happens is, we start to distrust what it is that they’re selling. Typically, when one is paid to sell, then we’re not quite sure of the validity of what they’re saying. Do we really believe that it’s the BEST thing ever? It very rarely, if ever, is.

In actual fact, it kind of backfires. Think about it, brands say partnering with influencers is a great way to sell because their audience puts a lot of trust in them and their expertise. This is ridiculous. Why should you trust someone who is getting paid to say what they say? Their word means nothing.

The thing is, you need to form your own opinions by gathering information from various sources. There is no one person, no one way of thinking, no gospel for that matter that’s the magic bullet. It’s a matter of discovering as much of the truth as one can and then making an informed decision that works for you.

I say, influence what you can control – and that’s yourself.