Are you an influencer or a hype-man?

I went for an event a few months which was organised by the Leading Ladies Africa team. During the event, one of the speakers spoke extensively about the difference between an influencer and a hype-man. An influencer creates trends and can change them too while a hype man, well, creates hype…I’ll call it noise if you permit me.

That little point got stuck in my head and I mused over it for hours after the event. When an influencer says jump, people say “How high?” They don’t waste time. They are ready to jump that minute. When a hype man says jump? Nobody pays attention. He has to say it over and over again before people even consider whether it is worth the time and effort to jump. I mean that really just blows my mind away. We are talking about the level of impact. They are both saying the same thing but what they are saying is received differently by their audience.

Coming away from the world of social media, I would like to ask, are you an influencer or a hype-man? When you speak, do people listen? Does your opinion carry weight amongst your peers? Let’s not even go too far, what about your family? Are you changing trends within your family? You may be wondering why all this matters. Well I’ll tell you. Hype men don’t become great. Yes they become popular but please don’t confuse popularity or fame with greatness. They are two different things. While popularity is for a certain period of time, greatness always outlives a person.

There are too many hype-men out there and few influencers. So much noise, so many unnecessary and half-baked opinions being thrown around yet, so little depth. Social media has helped to intensify the hype. You find someone who is constantly making noise on social media but when it really comes down to it, you discover the person is just shallow. Influencers hardly make noise. They observe, they study, they think critically and they add value. That’s why when they speak people listen. It’s because you know that they have taken time to think about what they want to say. Influencers never lack true followers because they always have something to offer.

What do you have to offer? Don’t be one of those people who excel best at hype. Be an influencer; a change agent. Carve your niche. You don’t have to be all over the place and it’s not everything that requires your opinion. Learn to listen. Learn to absorb and analyze. Know when to withdraw from the crowd and set your own trends. That’s how to become a person of influence.

So in the grand scheme of things which one do you want to be; an influencer or a hype-man?


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