only if you shave
Influence is the conversation of the day, my friends: who’s got it, who needs it, and what numbers such as a Klout score actually mean. We can’t resist knowing how we rate.

Technology gives us access to many more friends of friends of friends, but I’m not convinced that these linkages provide the strong and trusted connections and relationships that really lead to authentic influence. Isn’t it just simply that people like to do business (and other transactions that are just as important) with people that they like and trust? Companies would do well to map their social networks and identify these “liked” and trusted relationships (all the way down the ladder) rather than blasting meaningless messaging. Instead of diluting the true potential of the Web.

This article from Mashable on how marketing threatens the social web resonated with me this week. Read it and tell me how your organization connects, collaborates, and creates positive social action. If it does any of these things, the social network will be sufficiently “influenced” and will share your message throughout their networks. And probably to Kevin Bacon too.

The Klout Army and it’s ilk distract us (and businesses) from stepping up and making a real difference using the tools available.

From Christakis and Fowler’s Connected:
…the spread of influence in social networks obeys the Three Degrees of Influence Rule. Everything we do or say tends to ripple through our network, having an impact on our friends (one degree), our friends’ friends (two degrees), and even our friends’ friends’ friends (three degrees). Our influence gradually dissipates and ceases to have a noticeable effect on people beyond the social frontier that lies at three degrees of separation. Likewise, we are influenced by friends within three degrees but generally not by those beyond.

(BTW – it’s a GREAT book, and will be reviewed shortly in our SpaceRace 2011 Reading List.)