There’s been a lot of talk about online influence lately, as seen in the buzz around Klout, the backlash against Fast Company’s Influence Project, and even an Influencer Project Conference, billed as “60 speakers, 60 seconds, and 60 ways to increase your online influence.” As much as we want to measure, quantify, and increase our (or our client’s) influence, the question still remains: what makes someone influential? Is it their message, their charisma, and/or their medium?

We found a little short film that tries to look at the essence of influence. They take a look at people like Jay-Z, the New York Times’ Bill Cunningham, and Steve Jobs, as well as the places, like SxSW, Coachella, Bonnaroo, and the TED conference, to see what makes people so influential.

From the directors:

INFLUENCERS is a short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment.

The film attempts to understand the essence of influence, what makes a person influential without taking a statistical or metric approach.

INFLUENCERS via R+I creative.

The filmmakers identified three things that make someone influential:
1) Confidence/comfort in what they are doing, whether it is inventing/originating, curating, or popularizing/promoting a concept, idea or brand
Influencers are usually comfortable in their own skin. While they may have a need for approval, they likely know what they like, and what they don’t like.
2) Respect for their thoughts within their niche or industry, regardless of whether they are liked as a person or not
Influencers don’t give a damn about what people think about them, but they are heavily invested in what people think of their ideas.
3a) The ability to see outside the mainstream thought, AND….
3b) The ability to pull it back into the mainstream conversation.

Influencers aggregate and curate unique thoughts and ideas and then, because they straddle mainstream and innovative worlds, translate and popularize those new concepts.

We loved what the film tries to capture in an offline sense, and we are trying to process how a film would be made were it to focus on online influencers. Is it all about compelling ideas in written or video form, or is there something (or someone) more? How does charisma translate online (Gary Vaynerchuk immediately comes to mind in terms of social video)? What do you think? Who are the influencers in your life? Why are they influential? How are you trying to become an influencer?