Now that you've forged your Foundation Friends, and are beginning to expand your authority by continuing to write excellent quality blog posts, while securing new friends and fans through the previously mentioned tactics, the concepts 'Spheres of Influence' and 'Influence Ripples' become tremendously important.

Spheres of Influence - Gravity Waves

Spheres of Influence & Influence Ripples ... the Concept:
David Armano introduced the concept of Influence Ripples in 2006. His post Influence Ripples 2.0 shows how numerous bloggers with varied spheres of influence interact. Ultimately, networks become evident.

The concept is this, each person's authority can be viewed as a circle (see above) on a 2-dimensional grid:

  • the larger the coloured (Canadian spelling eh) circle, the more authority one has (the more RSS subscribers) ... ie. the more ability to influence
  • the larger each person's circle, the further the ripples will travel (as shown by the concentric circles eminating from each) and their ability to impact the actions of others
  • the overlap of ripple circles shows the individuals influenced by both
  • the nearer a circle is to the core of a sphere of influence, the more it is able to be influenced by the ripples
  • the outer most influence ripples for each person delineates that individuals 'sphere of influence'
  • the circles are not static, meaning they constantly move about according to new friend/fan relationships.

I'd prefer to look at the mass of each of the spheres in terms of number of RSS subscribers, but links is a reasonable metric too, and helps us to keep in mind one of the reasons Authority is important. Keep in mind, this is a dramatically simplified chart, and shows only 2 dimensions where many may exist.

As noted within the above 'Influence Ripples' graphic, there are different levels of individuals, when structured according to influence. At one end of the spectrum, are the 'newbies', without much of a following yet. At the other end, are the 'Rock Stars' with multitudes of followers. The vast majority of us occupy the middle ground, which is good because not everyone can be or even wants to be a 'rock star'.

Why Does This Concept Matter?
Viewing the space in this way helps because we as individuals have limited time. Accordingly, we have to make choices about how best to proceed to build more authority (assuming we want more) while maximizing benefit and minimizing time. Some of the implications for authority building include;

    a. understanding your motivations for wanting to be an authority ... is being a Rock Star a goal for you, and is it worth the cost given point b below
    b. the power associated with being able to influence 'Rock Stars' ... not necessarily to be a Rock Star
    c. when building authority by guest posting, writing a column, securing speaking engagements, commenting and interviews (either as the host or the interviewee) ... we need to consider:

    • spheres of influence
    • overlaps of influence
    • finding circles of influence where your unique niches are not yet fulfilled

At the end of the day, its merely a conceptual oversimplification, yet this is likely how all the major search engine and social media sites can view link and friend networks. For those that don't believe me, check this out:
1. TouchGraph Google
2. TouchGraph Facebook
Now just imagine the data and networks that the search engines and social media sites can extract, especially Yahoo and Google which own numerous social media sites. If that's the case, then it should definitely be utilized to forge friendships outside traditional networks. Its best for both search and social media success, and makes a good deal of sense from an authority building perspective.

Also, the goal of most should not necessarily be to 'be a rock star', but rather to have the respect and trust of rock stars, so that they can carry your key ideas forward ... in many cases this will be most efficient.