What’s an Influencer?

Am I an Influencer?Am I an Influencer?

The other day I posted a story about the quick decline in Covid-19 cases in the US since Biden became president. I got pushback from a few friends who remarked that there was not necessarily a direct correlation between the two events and that I should be careful what I write as I’m an influencer. That kind of tickled me to think that I am influencing anyone. That said, I’ve been sending out a monthly email newsletter, The Eleven, since 2008 and it reaches over 6,000 inboxes and I have a healthy number of friends and followers on various social media platforms. Then, this question became even more interesting when I received an email from Intellifluence the other day.

Like many people, I receive a ton of emails trying to interest me in upping my SEO, website look and feel, and Google ranking – on a daily basis. Usually, I delete them just like you do, but I decided to click on this particular one and now here we are talking about social influencing. I tend to think of influencers these days as people who get paid to share or show off products for pay. My version of influence or the way that I think of what I do in the world is usually more often trying to get someone to change their behavior in some way – often with an environmental goal in mind. Stop cutting down trees. Don’t use gas-powered lawn equipment. My hope is to keep the planet as habitable as possible and so I write and create videos around topics that hopefully will sway someone to shift their behavior a little bit. And sometimes I think I’m making a difference.

For instance the group I’m working with to end the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, QCPDX, recently ordered 10,000 door hangers to be spread around the Portland, Oregon metro area. Even if just a few people change their behavior it will make living in Portland a little better. The air will be cleaner. There will be less noise. But that’s not all – we’re also encouraging people to visit our website and when they do it’s likely they’ll join our newsletter so that we can reach out to them from time to time with whatever we’re doing. That’s another level of influence.

I guess maybe I am an influencer after all. I keep thinking about the Wizard of Oz and whether I’m a good influencer or a bad influencer? It actually matters to me a lot what types of things I get behind, so I hope I’m mostly a good influencer. And, I suppose it’s an ongoing experiment as we each live our lives we figure out what makes sense. Something that I might have gotten behind a few years ago might not work for me now in 2021. This came up recently when I was invited to join an MLM. The products seemed fantastic and I’m still enjoying them. As I got drawn further into the business and became a distributor, though, I realized that every product shipped out would end up leading to another delivery van driving down residential streets. If not in front of my house, in front of someone else’s. So, I decided to not become a distributor and it was a good decision for me for now.

I’m looking forward to continuing to think about this topic and learn what it means to be an influencer, and if I’m going to be one, how to be a good one 🙂  Thank you for reading – feel free to leave comments below. I’m always open to feedback.

Albert Kaufman, Portland, Oregon, 3.11.2021

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