Sipping some breakfast coffee early one morning I switched on the television and, for want of better, watched the news on some cable TV channel while waiting for the caffeine to kick in and wake me up. As ever my brain was taking its time waking up but that particular morning, for some strange reason, it insisted on deciphering a rather pointless, conjecture ridden news report on TV, which at 6 am was proving to be a bit too much for a still out of sync brain. What was taking the coffee so long? Why was I trying to analyze the unanalysable in the first place?
For having read about such cerebral phenomena before, probably in a Blog in my favourite professional network, I know there are an awful lot minds, and even some keen ones, out there whose brains also have, at the oddest of hours and for no apparent reason, a sneaky habit of getting into totally useless debates with themselves. This time my brain was debating the pros and cons of 24h cable news. Honestly, who in their right mind really cares if 24h cable news channels do repeatedly show the same news reports every 30 minutes, all day long and sometimes the next day too? Who really cares if cable channels do assume that nobody in their senses watches cable news shows for more than 15 minutes at a time? Who really cares if cable news channels, thinking that viewers have an attention span of a goldfish, spin their own conjecture ridden news reports to fill in an empty slot in a slow morning?
OK, so having got that particular gripe out-of-the-way I’ll get back to the real purpose of this blog. Losing interest in a rather pointless new report I was watching I turned my head to gaze at our aquarium, more to relieve the brain than to actually watch our two 10 cm long silver-blue Gourami fish swimming lethargically round in circles, when one of those “Light Bulb” moments happened.
Forgetting the TV news report I looked at the aquarium and watched as its inhabitants went about their business, surfacing for air, pecking at the plants, scratching away in the gravel and so on… Now my wife and I have about a dozen or so fish and invertebrates of all shapes and sizes, Opaline Gourami, Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae, Corydoras Plateus, Epalzeorhynchus kalopterus, Colisa lalia, Japanese Caridina multidentata to give them their true names… who, apart from having designated zones and pecking orders, also appear to have their respective stratum and that’s when the analogy struck me. It’s just like LinkedIn!
I’ll explain. At the bottom, you have the rank and file members (in our tank these would be the shrimps and the Corys (Corydoras)) industriously going about their daily business, occasionally acquiring new contacts as affinities are bound… then you’ve got the Strivers (in our tank, the Epalzeorhynchus kalopterus or Flying Fox) who, starting to understand and play the system, are slowly but surely getting bigger and bolder… then you’ve got the “Go-getters” (in our tank those would be the Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae or Red Eye Tetra) who know what it’s about, know what they want and, exploiting each occasion, make a beeline for the 500+ quota (I’ll get back to that later)… then you have the aspiring thought leaders (in our tank that would be the Colisa lalia or dwarf Gourami) who you can choose to follow, if so inspired, but who, seemingly disdaining the whole concept of connecting with the rank and file, have only one objective, that of attaining greater destinies… and then finally you have the elite (which in our tank would be our two lady Trichogaster trichopterus or Opaline Gourami, ok they’re only 10cm and it’s only an 80-litre tank but they do look big in it), the indisputable leaders gliding majestically above the rest of the crowd. These are the “Influencers” in all their glory, the Richard Bransons, the Jacques Attalis, the Arianna Huffingtons, to name but three*.
(* I hope Messrs. Branson, Attali and Mrs. Huffington will forgive me for comparing them with my Gourami but then again I’d be flattered if they did react because it meant that a) they had read the blog or b) some other kind soul has and passed the info’ on!)
From offering insight to chasing rainbows
So where am I in my own aquarium? Rank and file or aspiring influencer? Well If I’m open about it I’m probably no more than a rank and file member but it amuses me to think I’m a cross between a Corydoras, a Flying Fox, a red-eye Tetra and a Colisa lalia, with a just soupçon of shrimp thrown in for good measure, because I’m finally starting to understand and exploit the system but more importantly I am interacting!
When reading some of the “Influencer” Blogs that occasionally catch my eye I tend to scroll down and read the comments from readers (occasionally adding my own) and find them just as stimulating and inspiring as the Blog itself. So just what exactly is an “Influencer”? General consensus, i.e. reader comments, would have it that an “Influencer” is an idea sharer and an inspirer, not a news article relayer*. In my opinion, the real Influencers are those who offer an insight and explanation as to how they reached their position, social, professional or both and who through such insights encourage others, each at their respective levels, to be, humanely and professionally, that little bit better.
(*Relaying news articles does not influence, it’s Reddit version LinkedIn and yes, Mea Culpa, I occasionally re-post news articles that catch my eye…and have not just passed over but read and found to be pertinent.)
And finally… Where does that put the members of what I call “the 500+ club”? Firstly. In the quest for maximum contact I’m not sure all necessarily aspire to being “Influencers”, genuine or otherwise and what I can say is that for knowing some of them personally (some are even good friends) they can be genuine communicators and real altruists, connecting with a variety of noteworthy people with some very inspiring and commendable results and doing some excellent work in the process. But there are those I have my doubts about and I wonder if they remember why they connected with all those people in the first place but whatever, isn’t life – and communication – about reaching to all, even those with different agendas?