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Have you heard of the Influence Project?  It’s a campaign by Fast Company magazine.  Sign up, get a special URL, and tell your friends.  The more clicks you get, the more influential you are, and the bigger your picture becomes on the special site they set up.  Everyone gets their photo in the magazine.  Presumably, the most influential is on the cover.

I found out about it from a friend, and cheerfully signed up.

Then, the backlash started. TechCrunch said, ” It’s a pyramid scheme meets linkbait!”

Amber Naslund on Brass Tack Thinking wrote, “They’ve confused ego with influence.”
Fast Company responded saying it’s an experiment in viral marketing

Then, Darren Rowse of Problogger chimed in (sort of), by asking “What do you want, influence or fame?”

Experiment it may be, but I think Darren’s point about the difference between influence and fame is correct.  They’re not measuring influence, they’re measuring fame.  The system can be gamed.  What if  a celebrity chimed in?  Who is (or should be more influential?  Lindsay Lohan?  Or Katie Stegliano, an 11 year old girl who grows vegetables to help feed hungry people in her South Carolina town? (thanks to Ed Brenegar for pointing her out)

What’s more important?  100,000 mindless twitter followers?  Or people who really care about what you do? What will the winner of Fast Company’s have?

What do you think?  Have you joined the project?  Heard of it?  Tried to spread it?

3 thoughts on “Fame!

  1. Heard of it, but didn’t join. One of my friends did & duped me into clicking on them. Wasn’t really too happy about it, not least as she’s a killer marketer herself!

    • Rhys, I know what you mean. Wouldn’t it have been much better if the goal had been something that really mattered? Or that made someone else a hero?

      By the way, my friiiend Joel on triiibes speaks very highly of your email plugin. 🙂 (Which is both fame AND influence).

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