In Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, he examines this to some extent: the people with wide networks who can help spread the word on something he calls Connectors.
Stephen Abram has posted a great movie from R+I Creative about influencers (which I have re-posted below), and along with it has posed some questions for library folk:
Libraries are a very misunderstood ‘brand’. In some respects we are that “book, books and nothing but books” image and positioning. How do we make the library brand broader in our users’ consciousness?
Do we understand the influencers in libraryland?
Who among our users are influencers?
Who are the library opinion leaders – those who infuence library folk and those who influence broader social networks?
It's not very often I see people in libraries reaching out to influencers specifically, apart from perhaps well-planned marketing campaigns to raise funding for something. What about day-to-day, do we know who are influencing our library users? Who are setting the trends, who are identifying the trends? Do we try to connect with them, learn from them, and perhaps even influence them?
In libraryland I certainly see Stephen himself in this role, but there are plenty of others. The trick is to look beyond our immediate roles, our immediate world, look to other groups, other communities, other industries, to see what is happening. So often ideas are pollinated from one area to another, you can literally see an idea spreading, morphing, becoming adopted over time. That is how futurists are many times able to make predictions, they look to see what already exists somewhere else and thinks about how that will have an impact down the road.
Anyway, regardless of whether you are in the library world or not, this video is very interesting, entertaining and informative:
INFLUENCERS FULL VERSION from R+I creative on Vimeo.
This movie is a keeper--great catch, Stephen!
So, who influences you? How do they influence you--are they people you have contact with on a daily basis, are they people in your family, in your workplace, in your industry, or in the media?