There was a time when influence was pretty much fixed and set in stone. Beyond our little family/friend tribe, we just had interactions with poorly connected individuals and groups. The connections were so poor that we often forgot about them, any move or change in lifestyle made connections disappear for good. (I moved almost 20 times in my life and my old stomping grounds are littered with lost connections.) Influence used to be characterized by repeated interactions with the same poorly connected individuals.

Influence is fluid now

Influence has nothing to do with popularity or fame. It’s also not equal to the nature or form in which we are connected to each other. Influence is about adopting an idea or behavior amongst the people around us and the others around them. Influentials don’t do anything to others, it’s the response of the influenced that counts.

Influence is not important when it comes to life-or-death decisions. When I dislocate my shoulder, I won’t ask my social graph if I should go to the hospital or not. But I will ask my connections if I should buy an Apple or Dell monitor. Or if that certain movie is worth watching. Influence comes down to move the needle between equally good and fundamentally indistinguishable options. And we feel comfortable to ask for advice from fleeting, indirect connections to millions of others and their groups and their connections. These groups and connections change for any decision I’m making. They are not fixed or determined by the number of Twitter followers or Facebook connections.

That’s one of the fallacies of the whole Klout debate: There’s no fixed score of influence. Everything is fluid.