What is the future of influence?

People talk about social capital and the ability to change markets and also talk about the "new" influencers -- many of which are now peers.

The question of influence is similar to that of a personal brand. Some say it is critical, others say it doesn't exist. People talk about social capital and the ability to change markets and also talk about the "new" influencers -- many of which are now peers. Yet when you ask the question, "What is influence?" it's really tough to get a straight answer. And if you get a straight answer, it's not often that you find an answer that maps to any other that you've heard. In truth, most people consider themselves in defining influence, as most individuals just want to be influencers.

Confused yet? Yeah, me too.

Luckily for us, there's an event next week in San Francisco and Sydney that focuses entirely on the elusive notion of influence. The Future of Influence Summit promises to explore influence as the "new center of the marketing world," how influence drives content and publishing and the shape of the emerging reputation economy. The event organizers have put together a pretty stellar selection of speakers for both events, including a live-linked keynote from Howard Rheingold, author of "Smart Mobs" and a couple of "cross-continental" panels. Other speakers include Brian Solis, author of "Putting the Public Back into Public Relations", Tara Hunt, author of "The Whuffie Factor", Michael Brito, social media strategist at Intel, Duncan Riley, editor of The Inquistr, and Steve Weaver of Channel Nine.

Want to attend? Here are the registration details. And do me a favor, eh? Once you learn all about influence, come by and share it here on this blog.