We talk a lot about what it means to be influential and often focus on the scientific and business aspects of influence as they apply to the internet and social media. But at this time of year we need to take some time to put that logical reasoning aside, look at who influences us personally, and think about what that means for us in the coming year.
Sometimes we are influenced by those who are touched by tragedy. In the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, there were emergency responders and charitable people who went above and beyond to save and restore lives in the affected regions. Most recently when evil visited the Sandy Hook Elementary School, there were still heroes like Principal Dawn Hochsprung and first grade teacher Victoria Soto, who gave up their lives trying to protect the children under their care. Who is not inspired by the loss of those twenty beautiful young souls to hug others a little harder or to say the words “I love you” or “YOU MATTER” more often?
At times like this we turn for comfort to people like Angela Maiers, who remind us that we do indeed matter. We may never know if anyone could have connected with the determined mind of Adam Lanza before he went about his gruesome business, but Angela advises those who are faced with the challenge of nurturing our children every day that they are in a position of privilege to do one thing like no other person on earth can do: TEACH. In spite of the loss of her own brother Christopher this year to the tragedy of suicide Angela has launched Choose 2 Matter to fight suicide, and I am eternally grateful for her personal messages of strength and support to me.
JoAnn Gwynn and Debra Kaye Thank You for giving me the best Christmas presents ever. Debra thank you for your unique insights, and for shining a brighter light on the business of innovation. I wish you everything good with your book, THE RED THREAD: Weaving Together Connections That Create Profitable Innovation, and look forward to reading it in March.
To Ekaterina Walter, Intel’s global social media strategist, I just have to say “thank you” for having the courage and foresight to take Intel in new directions that connect and empower people. You have been a great addition to my circle of friends. I gain inspiration from your and wait impatiently for your book, Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook's Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in January.
My Hopes For the New Year
There are many others who are working to make a difference in the way we communicate and use social media. To people like Danny Brown, Sam Fiorella, Tim McDonald, Olivier Blanchard, Marjorie Clayman, Brian Vickery, Jodi Okun, Linda Bernstein, Cedar Brown,Down Rasmussen, Mark Fidelman, Dino Dogan, Pam Moore, Joshua Estrin, Kelly Kim, Susan Borst, Aaron Lee, Aaron Kilby and many others, I definitely look forward to meeting and socializing with you in 2013.
To all those who read this and follow my work, I wish you all the best in 2013. I hope you are blessed by friends who are there to support and inspire you, who challenge you to be your best, and who make it a joy to do what you do. For those who have been touched by tragedy my wish is that you are lifted up in spirit, that you have others to bring you up when you are down, and that you are still able to see the beauty that there is in our world.
For anyone who is using social media as a way of communicating, I implore you to resolve to use it as a tool of influence for creating change and impacting behavior for good, and not simply as a means of building popularity.
Finally, I wish a heartfelt Merry Christmas to my dad. Dad passed away, much too early for me, on Christmas Day but I think of him to this day as one of the greatest influences on my life.
Merry Christmas everyone and best wishes for an influential New Year!