3 Key Themes That Incapsulate the Evolution of Influence

In today’s interconnected world, social media platforms are the new town squares where creators and influencers hold court. And even in the relatively short amount of time that influencers have been around, the dynamics of influence have undergone a profound transformation. Power has shifted from traditional gatekeepers to everyday individuals who have mastered the art of audience captivation.

Examined through the lenses of digital culture, the nature of influence—the people who influence, the platforms they use and the ways in which they participate—is evolving into something very different from what we have experienced in the past. Three key themes encapsulate this evolution and define what it means for brands.

Collective influence

Creators and influencers have been working on their content in isolation. In the increasingly saturated field in which they operate, this is leading to burnout.

As a result of this, influencers are banding together in collectives to share the burden of the creative process. This also helps them to have a greater shared impact in a very crowded space.

Be it hype houses or media collectives, influencers create economic, emotional and creative alignment between collaborators. Rather than everyone competing for the same pie, thanks to these collectives, they are now engaging in co-opetition.

They are pooling their skills, audiences and resources in support of a larger creative vision or purpose. This is described as “creativity in multiplayer mode.” For example, Radar, a gated private community, has its core squad commanding a strong presence and influence among other members. Another case in point is MSCHF, which is an art collective set up to parody culture. MSCHF has a shared vision and is focused on making a statement through art and disruptive culture.

Human only > human extended

Advances in technology inevitably lead to questions about how it will negatively affect humans and their influence on the world (the typical Black Mirror reference). In this particular case, it is whether AI, which now gives anyone with a device and internet connection the power to create anything from their imagination, will drown out creators. We are already seeing influencers harnessing new technology, creating alternative revenue streams and extending their influence beyond the typical means of human life into different elements of the Web3 world.

We see this in Grimes getting ahead of the fakery and splitting royalties with creators who use her voice, and Hybe, the Korean music giant behind BTS, using voice AI to launch its latest artist, Midnatt, in multiple languages simultaneously.

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