Influency's Big Microphone

This morning, two interesting things happened to me. They turn out to be linked, and that’s a story about Influency, and, it turns out, Optimization.

would you rather listen?

The second one was when I received a note from one of our readers pointing out a problem he’d noticed in a post I wrote several years ago. That story, about flat-rate data and a now-owned-by-Clearwire-and-no-longer-marketed-the-same-way product called The Puck, has a link in it to something that no longer exists. We went back and forth a couple of times, and I explained that the issue of content that changes and that you’ve referenced is one that’s incredibly difficult to deal with. As I said here, we address part of that by attributing—and then duplicating—certain content. While there are plenty of times when you can’t or shouldn’t copy resources, the non-existence of a once-but-no-longer-exists web site is merely an example of when you might wish you had.

The first one happened at about 4AM, when I was looking out my bedroom window and saw this:

This Animated Snowfall Brought to You—and INVENTED by Google

No, I don’t live in an alternate reality where real life and animation coexist. The picture itself is unretouched; for photography nerds, I’ll reveal that I got that shot at that hour by setting a one-second exposure time, a 3.5 f-stop, and emulating 800 ISO film.

And then Google used the biggest Influency Microphone in the world to alter reality; Big G added the cartoon snow.

I didn’t ask Google to do this. I simply uploaded my picture to Google+; less than ten minutes later something at Google’s not-a-social-network had examined the photo, compared it to the weather conditions at the location stamped into the picture’s DNA, and created the never-happened-in-reality alternate image using Google’s Auto-Awesome feature. Google made the decision to enable Auto-Awesome for me, and I’ve seen its results pop up a few times.

Frankly, I find Auto-Awesome to be annoying, but until this morning the unpredictability of Auto-Awesome being Auto-Annoying was as far as it went. Today, Auto-Awesome became Auto-Scary.

Figure out how you feel about Google watching you so closely that AnimatedSnowGate could happen in so short a period of time. Decide what, if anything, you’re going to do about it (ask us for help if that makes sense to you), and then let’s move on to the Influency issue here. Influency is about a lot of things, but get past the discussion of how we get people to notice you and interact with your brand in the way you need to create business success and Influency is about controlling things that often seem beyond control.

So, for example, while there’s a very real chance that my link above to Google’s announcement of Auto-Awesome might one day point into a black hole, I’ve covered that possibility through other Influency Controls. Of course, the number of angles from which Influency needs to be managed is considerable. If you’ve come across fake reviews you understand that element of Influency—and how it impacts not just the people who rely on reviews for recommendations but those who merely cite them. Responding in some way … any way … to people who take the time to contact you is another. Comments? Even AMEX OpenForum understands how important comments are, and treats them like property. We believe AMEX OpenForum learned that, by the way, from our comment and content policy.

Remember: everything is linked to anything, something, or nothing. And managing that is what Influency is all about. Work from that position for a while, and you’ll find that a lot of what you do will become Auto-Awesome, too.

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