A dystopic vision for the future of ‘social influence’… but is it accurate?

Charlie Brooker’s, Black Mirror, Episode 1, Series 3 – ‘Nosedive’, presents a future where a ubiquitous social media platform determines a person’s social ranking by his or her online and in person interactions. Their resultant influence is then overseen by a social hierarchy where the higher your score, the more access you have to services, jobs, etc.

The main character in the episode is a ‘social climber’ whose life is governed by a process of self-verification; her sole mission, to gain social influence. Is this dystopian vision of the future, where society works in a big-brother style framework of likes and comments, that far away from what we experience now? How is social influence currently perceived? And how is this relevant for businesses who are increasingly looking to social influence and influencer marketing to increase brand awareness?


Influence through the Freestak lens

There are a number of interesting parallels that the Black Mirror script draws from real life. For example, it is now common for those with social influence to receive perks from brands in return for their advocacy. That might be skipping the line at the airport, product, or payment for posts.

Social influence is a key factor in determining who are chosen for those privileges.

But how is social influence currently defined? And how can a balance be made with authenticity? The vacuous world created by interactions depicted in the show is maybe not that far away from an experience prevalent in today’s offline experience. Some do aspire for double-taps on Instagram, and some do despair when Twitter numbers start trending negatively.

However an important definition is that the overarching Orwellian structure by which social influence is governed, doesn’t yet exist in today’s online world.

Importantly, social influence is still defined by those who start engaging conversations and share meaningful content.

This is the world that Freestak operate in. Let’s explore that more.

What else does someone influential offer in addition to reach?


In our recent Pulse Report, What is Influencer Marketing, we try to define the concept of ‘influence’ and offer the following measure:

Influence = Reach x Relevance x Engagement

Looking at the examples above, we see two influencers. One of these influencers has approaching twenty times more reach than the other. But considering the other factors in our equation, relevance (great content) and engagement (depth of engagement with audience), the influencer with the lower reach actually achieves a higher level of influence.

This is one way of making this calculation – and there are many ways depending on the desired outcome of a campaign. But it is a method by which we distinguish between the world of ‘likes’ and the world of ‘engagement’, a genuine online and offline experience. Having spoken with several heads of marketing, an on-going theme is that brands can buy reach, but they can’t buy this engagement – the buzz from creative content by influencers who document their brand experience in an authentic way.

The Freestak experience

The vision we have for the future of social influence, is less catastrophic than that depicted in Black Mirror. The right influencers can offer a brand the chance to reach a large, engaged and genuinely interested audience in a way that is authentic and exciting.

The difference the Freestak platform offers is that we have curated a detailed community of those with social influence, all with an audience that brands in the vertical of endurance sports want to reach in an authentic and compelling way. That’s worth a like and a comment surely?


For more information on Freestak and the Endurance Sports Network, please feel free to get in touch.
Pulse: To download our ‘What is Influencer Marketing’ report, please visit our Pulse page.
Photo Credits: All images courtesy of Netflix or Instagram.



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