Why do people do, well, anything?
Why do they go to Portugal on vacation, or Chipotle for lunch? Why do they limit their kids’ screen time, or work out three times a week? Why do they march into their boss’s office to demand a raise, or march in the streets to call for change?
Why this rather than that?
Welcome to Root of Influence, where we believe stories are the answer. Stories we tell, and stories we tell ourselves. Narrative is the thread that binds our actions together, that gives them meaning and motivation. It’s the invisible fuel that powers every new idea and every leap of faith.
It’s with this perspective that we view the emerging marketplace around “influencers” as suspect at best, and truly harmful at worst. We think a marketplace that judges influence by follower counts and video views doesn’t understand influence at all—and we want to do our part to change the conversation.
It’s not that we don’t believe in the influence wielded by independent content creators on social platforms. Quite the contrary, actually: we believe they sell themselves short.
We are on the verge of the greatest storytelling breakthrough in world history. Millions upon millions of people who in past lives would have been farmers, or mechanics, or accountants, have cameras in hand and global distribution at their fingertips. Audiences of hundreds and audiences of millions tune in, day after day, to look at their photos, watch their videos, read their words. Brands hover around them, ready to pay.
Together, those three groups—the creators, the audiences, and the brands—form the new media ecosystem that will determine which stories are told, and which stories are forgotten. Each of them have never been more powerful.
On behalf of all of them, we ask that they aim higher. Telling great stories requires courage. It means giving up on the short-term in favor of the long. It means taking risks and dreaming bigger. But the return on that influence will be greater than we can imagine.