The Gravity of Influence: Recognizing Our Responsibilities in the Social Ecosystem

Are you aware of the responsibilities that come with having a fanbase? Learn how to navigate the psychological weight of influence in the digital age and the power of persuasion in social media.

The Gravity of Influence: Recognizing Our Responsibilities in the Social Ecosystem

As I unwind and see where the algorithm of YouTube takes me, I come across a video where Lex Fridman is interviewing Michael Stevens from the popular science YouTube channel, Vsauce.

In the video Michael is talking about the importance you have over your fanbase and the gravity of the influence you hold. What jumps out is how he explains that Vsauce is the collective audience, not him, and that he is plugging into it, just like everyone else who is watching.

We live in times where a few people grow to popularity and start to have a fanbase. But what is rarely prepared for is the psychological weight of having that responsibility. If a person of influence doesn't recognise they hold that responsibility, then it can become an unchecked balance in the social ecosystem. Words they say can be triggering, sometimes unleashing chaos to someone else.

The question I like to ask myself is what responsibilities do I hold in the position I have. That may be more obvious with my connection to thousands of people through YouTube and the community I'm building. But on a more subtle sense, it may be the position I hold as a colleague, as a friend and as a parent.

I also like to ask the question, 'what is it like to be someone who is influenced by others'. Or more specifically, 'how can I become aware of when I'm being influenced in a negative way'.

These are questions that don't get explored enough. Social media has created great influence in how we perceive the world. The traditional media pays attention to social media. The influencers use social media to reach a lot of people. What is protecting us from manipulation?

Personally, I believe that my mind is easily tricked. How I think about a subject can be down to how I was influenced in first hearing about it. Often, when I'm 'outraged', I see things more balanced when I look into the facts. Knowing that my opinion is easily influenced is a vital trait.

So I'll conclude today's issue with a simple 'ah-ha' moment. Our minds are easily influenced by others. There will always be those who are people of influence. Recognise that this is a possible and stay open minded about the facts not being what we want to hear.