The social media world has been chewing over Fast Company‘s Influence Project lately. And the initiative has sustained heavy fire from critics who point out that their method for determining who in the online world has the most influence…

  1. Create a unique link on their site
  2. Get as many people as possible to click on that link
  3. Whoever gets the most clicks wins

…doesn’t really capture the full nuance of influence. After all, your “influence” isn’t just a raw number: you have greater influence over some people than others, in some topics than others, at some times than others. (Amber Naslund delivers a particularly crushing – and persuasive – critique.)

All well and good. But chasing raw numbers is so completely compelling that any hope this thing won’t be huge – that the eventual Prom Queen and King winners won’t be lionized as gods – is futile.

Besides, this is basically the way we choose an American Idol; it just removes the overly onerous requirement that voters have the skills to key in a four-digit number on a mobile phone. So how can it go wrong?

In other words, count me in. But on my terms.

I know the kind of influence I have. My parenting record establishes clearly that I’m much better at keeping people from doing stuff than getting them to do things.

Therefore, my goal will be to influence people not to click my link.

And I would like my final score to be computed according to the following formula:

Score = ( Number of people with a web connection minus Number of people who click on my link ) x 16

(Why multiply by 16? Because a reasonable extrapolation of the value of pre-emptive action – based on the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – suggests that every non-click on my link is worth 16 clicks on other people’s links.)

Here’s my link. Please don’t click it.

Postscript: For another way of measuring influence, do check out our Influ-a-rama-matic.