What is influence and why it’s something that all of us shouldn’t look for?
Influence is the capacity of an individual or an organisation to influence thoughts, words or behaviours of a given group of people. Influence is another synonym of power. This is because it has always been like this. During the time when our ancestors were living in caves, most group’s decisions – which means the tribe – were taken by a leader who had an influence over the rest of the group. So, it seems that the current lust for influence is justified since everyone wants to get power. Through the Internet, people want to retrieve their leadership over a virtual tribe: we’re back to the tribal age. It seems to be instinctual and even with industrialisation and centuries of centralisation promoted by nation states to eradicate tribalism, today the internet has changed the rules of the game. We are no longer individuals overlooked among the large, each one us through social medias is a potential tribal leader.
But is being influential really enough? It often leads to serving one’s own interest as some Youtubers’ recent scandals have showed.
What may differ from today to old ages is that influence might rest on a certain level of merit or values that confers credibility whereas nowadays, the main value that may be at stake is entertainment, which is something that diverts us from our path. Then, instead of being a guide driven by deep values and wanting to positively influence the rest of the group, today’s influencers are dedicating most of their time to divert our time and our attention to stupid things. They don’t seem worried about us making progress as human beings or elevating our mind to get to better understand a particular topic.
Hopefully, this does not apply to all influencers. Some of them are indeed very concerned about the consequences of their influence and use it with care. So, as a conclusion we could state that any power or influence is useful when it is used wisely with the true intention of helping people by sharing knowledge and reflexion rather than stealing their attention to make money and fame out of it.