Friday, May 2, 2014

Who Influences You?

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TIME magazine has released its annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. This year, 40 of them are North American – more than Asia, Africa and Europe combined could muster. It begs the question, how influenced are we by those who decide who is influential? Can North America, with little more than 5% of the world’s population, truly lay claim to such extraordinary dominance on this list? Is Rand Paul really more influential than, say, British Prime Minister David Cameron?

TIME’S criteria are well established. Entrants are recognized for changing the world, for good or bad. Hence why Vladamir Putin, Kim Jong Un and one of Al Qaeda’s deadliest generals make the cut. Each of the 100 chosen are believed to affect the world we live in. Their ideas shape us, engage us and spark debate. Even revolution. The lines blur, of course, between true influence, power and fame. It could be argued some, like Miley Cyrus, could be better described as headline fodder.

Influence is often subjective. It reflects an individual’s world view – particularly when sports, art and entertainment is concerned. There are always surprises on this list, like New Zealand teenage golf sensation Lydia Ko. Humble. Talented. Inspirational. Then there are those that can’t be argued against, like Pope Francis. The question I have for you is: who would be the top 10 most influential people in your life? And what does that say about you? While TIME tries to pin down who is influencing the world, it’s more important to know who is shaping you.


Florian said...

I share your doubts. The list reflects the people perceived by the TIME mag editors to be the most influential. Last time I checked they were based in the US, and not in Germany, New Zealand or anywhere else.

In the end it is always about the question of credibility of rankings - such as the sustainable city rankings discussed on the Sustainability Leaders Blog. The TIME ranking might be credible to US audiences, but slightly less so to those living anywhere else in the world.

Media Messiah said...

This blog is a case in point. One of the world's most influential CEOs regularly blogging his views about a world he is directly influencing. But few end consumers have ever heard of Kevin Roberts so don't read or comment, and people who should know about him are either too scared or ignorant to join in. Whereas some TV weathergirl goes on Twitter and tells people she's eating chocolate ice cream, and that's supposed to be a big deal and attracts zillions of followers. The concept of "influence" needs re-calibrating.