Influence and the wrong end of the stick

Posted by on Oct 1, 2008 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Pic c/o The great Armano

Influence is one of our favourite 2.0 marketing ideas: people and not ads, we say.

Peer-to-peer not brand-to-consumer.

People who share their opinions, people who make the rest of us do what we do.

(like ads but actually persuasive…)

Just occurs to me, reading (the otherwise brilliant) Jon Bell's post on the idea of the Google influence number that we're still missing the point.

We see influence (what folk do to each other on our behalf) where emulation (of what folk around us are doing) is the real mechanic behind the spread of human behaviour

We've just got the wrong end of the stick: we humans are not a species of "influential" individuals but emulators – Homo Mimickus. Like most social creatures, but more so…

Of course, with marketing's selfish concern about spreading "our thing", we find Influence – a push idea – much more appealing than Emulation – a pull one. It fits with how we want to see things.

But just because you want something to be true, don't make it so. Does it?

So let's give "influence" a rest for a bit, shall we?


  1. Johnnie Moore
    October 1, 2008

    Oh dear, that diagram really does a terrific job of charicaturing how some folks see the blogosphere or indeed the world.
    Really, the notion of these giant green men going around influencing the rest of blue midgets is ugly and preposterous.
    I know Armanon admits it is a simplification, but it’s a really dismal one.

  2. John Dodds
    October 2, 2008

    My mother always told me to ignore tall green strangers.