“Leadership is about influence not control” – Anonymous

As I continue in my adventure, process, and journey with social networking, both for business and personal, I am intrigued by this designation of being a “social influencer”?

Who anointed people as such? What are the criteria for qualifying for this label they are using?

People of influence

People of influence are all around us – under the radar, unexpected people, who may not have big followers, friends, and peeps on  Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or blog accounts. Having the presence on these platforms certainly helps puts the cause and how it can benefit others out there.

By definition, an influencer is a noun: “the capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions on others”.

Hey folks, there are a lot of negative “influencers” I can site. Dahmer, McVey, Hitler – check out this “Top Ten Evil” list. Wow, these are some really bad people, and all of them were “influencers” in a very bad way!

I saw a feature on MSNBC about Christopher Rockefeller, who created a totally false persona and scammed lots of people out of lots of money until he was busted. How the hell did he get away with it for several years? Didn’t anyone check him out? Or because he had a Rockefeller name and ran in the right circles, they just assumed he was what he said he was? One person went online to research Chris Rockefeller and found out there was a Chris Rockefeller from the prominent family, but he had died several years prior. This Chris guy acted out this whole masquerade and people bought into it and handed over “cash” money to him without checking him out!

My point, and I know I may not be getting right to it is an influencer, is and should be the  result of being a LEADER that influences others in a compelling way for good, not bad.

I much rather prefer the idea of a “thought and action  leader”.

This implies that influence is NOT about a BIG External Persona of amassing followers, subscribers, re-tweets, click backs and stuff. Influence is about a BIG Internal, authentic, kind, real persona that is using their leadership to do good.

There are so many thought and action leaders today, who are, through their eclectic experience, imparting wisdom and do great work harnessing all of it to help others. It’s okay, by the way, to make some money as a result of it, as demonstrated with Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Oprah, and Angelina.

Getting the right attention

Do you wonder how to get an influencer’s attention? Here’s an article from Tamar Weinberg, “How to Get an Influencer’s Attention”. Influence is everywhere, but it’s up to you to spot it.

Some impressive “thought and action leaders” are profiled here and doing good.

Who are the “thought and action leaders” that have and are influencing you today and why?

How are you using your leadership for influence to do good?


Deborah Shane is an author, entrepreneur, radio host and expert. She is the leader of her business education and professional development company, Train with Shane, hosts a weekly business radio show, and writes for several national business, career and marketing blogs, and websites. Her book Career Transition-make the shift-the 5 steps to successful career reinvention comes out in early 2011. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogtalkradio at Deborah Shane, or visit www.deborahshane.com.