Recently we have been asked by a number of clients to explain the concept of digital influence.  How are people influenced through digital communications media to purchase, believe, or become involved in something?  We always say it’s a combination of blogs, search engines, online (and offline) media, and yes, even advertising.  But it all sounds too complicated.  What about boiling it down to a simpler concept?  Digital influence in two letters … FW.

Forwarded emails are a good analogy for digital influence.  At work, when I see those two letters in the subject line, I am likely to assume that the email comes from a trusted source, and that it has been filtered by the sender for relevance.  From the point of view of the sender, it requires low involvement.  If I find an email that communicates a position or has information that is valuable, forwarding it to a friend or colleague is often the best way to share that knowledge.  In my work inbox, I am likely to trust and be influenced by emails that have FW in the subject line. And most importantly, I tend to read them more often.