A blog is a Web site containing the writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other Web sites. (Dictionary.com 2013). Although the assignment for our class has proven to be insightful in the world of blogging (ie; formatting pictures to fit and show up) I would not consider myself a blogger. There are many bloggers within the entertainment and political realms that have gained notoriety that many individuals go to daily. Is mainstream blogging an example of power and influence within our society? By looking at what power and influence mean while viewing some of the top online bloggers, we can determine its impact.
If we use Jeffrey Pfeffer’s definition from our lesion, we know that Power is potential and influence is power in use. Basically, your ability to be powerful comes when you use it for influencing others. According to eBizMBA.com, the top 5 most visited blog sites are Huffington Post, TMZ.com, The Business Insider, Engadet and Perez Hilton. The site monitors the internet “hits” (visits) for the blogs to place it on their list of top blog sites (eBizMBA.com). Huffington Post has 54,000,000 unique visitors per month, and TMZ coming in at 19,000,000 unique visitors per month. It seems as though the two websites have a potential to influence those 54 million-plus visitors each month, but where does their potential (or power) come? Power can viewed in 5 bases (Northouse 2013):
o Referent Power – This power is a function of the leader and the follower. When the leader is seen as a role model, this is referent power.
o Expert Power – The power of knowledge. If you are considered an expert in a field, you can influence people
o Legitimate Power – This is one’s formal authority or position that gives them power.
o Coercive Power – The ability to punish and the opposite of reward power
o Reward Power – This power is the ability to distribute desired resources or rewards for influence
While looking at what bloggers do, which type of power would you consider they normally have the ability to influence with? Referent? Expert? I’ve gone to TMZ.com myself more recently because they seem to have the ability to get the entertainment news the fastest and most accurate. This has been based on confirmed reports of their stories coming out after TMZ has posted it and other blog sites using them as a reference. This would be considered Expert Power. Huffington Post could be either referent or expert power depending on the relationship it has with its followers. While Huffington Post has a massive presence on the web, it has over 14 different topics that you can peruse to solidify its saturation in the blogosphere (online community of blogging). Therefore using its potential referent power could be good or bad depending on what type of stories they put out there.
The notion that bloggers use social influence due to their position amid an online community seems like an appropriate categorization as well. “The 6 principles of social influence are: liking, social proof, commitment and consistency, authority, scarcity, and reciprocity” (PSU, 2013 pg. 9). Blogs exhibit the majority of those principles each day. Visitors who frequent the site would be considered are probably consistent and see them as an authority in news as well as possibly liking the bloggers who contribute. Because it shows up on the Top 15 most visited sites, individuals will see that as social proof and want to follow the trend. This type of influence is powerful and the stories get circulated very quickly.
Although I will not be able to exert the type of influence the bloggers on the sites aforementioned have been able to do, I have been able to determine that bloggers can be powerful and influential online.
Dictionary.com (2013) Definition of “Blog” Retrieved on July 4, 2013 from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/blog?s=t
EBizMBA.com (2013) Top 15 Most Popular Blogs/July 2013, Retrieved on July 4, 2013 from: http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/blogs
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2012). PSYCH 485 Lesson 7: Power and Influence. Retrieved on July 4, 2013 from https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/su13/psych485/001/content/07_lesson/01_page.html