To understand influence for behavior change, understand the difference between popularity and influence, and the difference between reach and action.
I wish I could claim that insight as my own, but I cannot. Instead I can claim recognizing its importance and sharing it. Someone wrote this in the comments of a blog post about marketing and behavior change. I suspect the writer was thinking about social media. Numbers of Facebook fans and Twitter followers does not necessarily translate into truly influencing people to change. Marketers are discovering this to be true, as those of us in public health could have told them. Health education and health promotion professionals know that the circle of people closest to an individual can have strong influence on that individual.
I’ll search for that blog post again and share it here. It was about “marketing economics.” But to me, it read very much like public health concepts. This is exactly why I believe these two professions can share and learn and benefit from each other when we are open to seeking info beyond our professional boundaries. And that’s one premise of this blog. (I’ve been very busy and unfortunately sick lately and not much time to actually carry through on my intentions for this blog! Will do better through 2011.)