The Influence Project by Fast Company is a controversial online experiment in viral marketing.
The project aims to “show what happens when an individual takes an audience at rest and applies an unbalanced force–through suggestion, advice or direction–that converts it into an army of action”.
The idea is to upload your picture, get an ‘influence link’ then get as many people as you can to click on your link & register. The more people who click & register on your link, the bigger your picture gets. That picture will appear in the November print issue of Fast Company.
Fast Company did think some wild & crazy things would happen (SEO, spamming, 4chan, charity bribes).
But would you like to see how influential you really are?
This is social media. We don’t have to change the channel, we can change the conversation.
Would you like to see if the project can be upended completely?
Is the winner really going to be a smiling social media/PR/marketing expert?
Or can it be a collective statement of anonymity? Or rebellion? Or a push to help someone who is missing – who’s absence is the influence on those left behind?
Or can the real most influential person be someone that convinces many different people to engage with The Influence Project in a way that CAN’T be measured?
Here are some ideas I came up with to “change the conversation” – add your own in the comments!
1) Create an all black anonymous profile picture – see if it can get to the top.
2) What about creating a “black out” of profile pictures? What would it look like if you asked your influence group to change their profile to black?
3) What about a massive piece of art as people simply choose their favourite colour as their picture?
4) What about making your profile mean something? Use a missing child picture for your profile. You could turn Fast Company into a giant milk carton.
(Out of all these ideas, this is my personal favourite).
Here are three missing children with influence URLs that need your help:
Influence URL: http://fcinf.com/v/brh6
Full details about Javon at the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children
Influence URL: http://fcinf.com/v/b63o
Full details about Norma at the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children
Influence URL: http://fcinf.com/v/cvhe
Full details about Sara at the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children
You can find out more about missing children here:
5) Or maybe completely mess with them. Fast Company expected deception for personal gain. “hello 4Chan” they said. But what about deception to mess up the experiment? What about creating tonnes of anonymous profiles and clicking them up? Will Fast Company accept this or start killing spam profiles?
This project is an “editorial investigation”. So let’s give them their investigation. Not by opting out, but by opting in using whatever unexpected & creative means you can think of.
What do you think – can the Influence Project be influenced?
Great post! I’m currently ranked #33 out of 12,000+ http://fcinf.com/v/bn9e
So you agree with the post… Or do you? Are you just spamming our blog with your influence URL?
Don’t get me wrong – that’s apparently what this seems to be all about & congratulations on getting to 33 – but the point is – does it have to be only about linkspamming?
I did click on your link, and was surprised to see you got some influence coin from me (I thought I had already spent it – but I guess it doesn’t work that way). I’m guessing it will help you out a little
However, if you agree with the post, what are you going to do with your influence? Will you change your profile picture to something other than your JRBstudios.com smiling face?
How about a picture of one of the missing kids? Javon, Norma, and Sara do need our help.
This is definitely an interesting idea, to change the concept of what Fast Company set out to do or at least to use it for something very beneficial rather than just a celebrity/ pr attempt.
I wonder how many people would then support you if you used it for your idea above? Have you tried it yet?
I think there’s always an opportunity to improve on an idea or a concept and in this case it could be done by all the people who are contributing to Fast Company’s project, or it could come from them. They could spearhead the change in an instant.
Thank you for your comment.
Yes, I have tried the concept out a little – although without too much success so far – I’m less influential than I think… ( Only 5 Klout http://klout.com/brentkobayashi 😛 ).
I have tried to convince anyone who’s sent me their influence link to change their pic or engage in some way that is different (like Carlos Gil above).
However, it does seems people are looking at the profiles of the three missing children:
– Help find Javon (http://fcinf.com/v/brh6) is 413
– Help find Norma (http://fcinf.com/v/b63o) is 417
– Help find Sara (http://fcinf.com/v/cvhe) is 419
All three are in the 96th percentile.
I’m not sure what that means, perhaps the influence of this article is pretty uniform (these links haven’t been “promoted” in any other way).
I don’t think 96th percentile is merely a result of timing (they were created July 17th).
As a sort of test, I also created a comparison profile (for my company) at the same time that hasn’t been promoted or referenced in any way.
My UNpromoted company’s profile is 11654 – 11th percentile.
So it seems people are being influenced to at least look at the children – maybe it will help.
I found your profile (http://fcinf.com/v/cwcy). You are currently at 2265 (83 percentile). When did you create your profile? How did you promote it?
Would you consider changing your profile picture? Would you consider asking your social network to change their profile pictures?
I think you have missed the point: Fast Company is doing a Social Media experiement, that I am sure they will report on the November issue.
They have created a platform where anyone can see what happens to his or her social network when people are asked to take an action.
Thank you very much for your comment.
I’m actually pretty OK with the Fast Company project. It may have it’s flaws as it relates to it’s stated purpose – I’m leaving that to those that really understand this stuff.
However, the challenge I’m posing (with very little influence as it happens :P), is how the project itself can be influenced. Or even used to express influence. Can you imagine if Guy Kawasaki asked everyone to turn their picture Pink in support of Breast Cancer research?
That wouldn’t change peoples rankings, or be measurable by the project – but that action would be a clear reflection of influence. In fact it would be a far deeper reflection of influence then merely clicking on a link (one of the flaws critics have of this project).
In other words, the project itself would have been influenced.
Have a great day!