FOREWORDInfluence in the Digital Age

By Lee Rainie,Director, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project

The idea of influence is rooted in astrology. Some long-ago Gauls started using the word influence because they figured the reason people often acted as they did lay in the stars, which emanated a force that pushed our ancestors in one direction or another. It had to be that “inflow” of cosmic vibes that accounted for the weird way people reacted to things. Centuries later, of course, the idea of being “under the influence” took on a wholly different meaning.

Research in recent decades has taken a lot of the mumbo-jumbo and guesswork out of the study of influence. Indeed, it was a giant breakthrough in the mid-twentieth century ...

Get Return On Influence: The Revolutionary Power of Klout, Social Scoring, and Influence Marketing now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.