Why Model Citizens Have A Responsibility To Become Influencers
Societal progress is bottlenecked not by a demand for change (tens of millions of Americans are fed up with the status quo), but by a lack of worthy role models building in public.
I'm no fan of Andrew Tate, but his viral impact on society is a useful case study for all of us.
The super-famous internet personality, who now has over 5 million followers on Twitter, took the world by storm in 2022.
There was a period of several months in the second half of last year when it was impossible to scroll through Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, or TikTok without seeing a flood of Andrew Tate videos.
During that time, he was searched for more than Donald Trump and Joe Biden... COMBINED.
The cultural effects of this collective overdose of Andrew Tate were palpable. I personally know teachers and parents who have talked about how their students and children have begun to parrot his virulently misogynistic talking points.
But it's clear that these were not isolated incidents.
Andrew Tate was not just a source of entertainment for the world.
Andrew Tate had become a lifestyle role model for so many young men around the world.
How was Andrew Tate so effective in shaping the behavior of millions of people so quickly?
I believe that the secret sauce to Tate's success in this regard is that he seemingly documented and shared every aspect of his thinking and lifestyle with his followers.
He turned his life into a transparent reality TV show.
He let his followers into his world.
He gave them a complete lifestyle and philosophy of life to aspire to and model.
He live-streamed himself working, taking meetings, working out, enjoying time on boats and beaches, buying Bugattis, eating in restaurants, going to clubs, and more; and he talked about why his lifestyle was far superior to other people's lifestyles.
Even if you don't agree with his lifestyle, it's hard to deny his conviction in his own lifestyle.
This conviction is very attractive to people who are looking for a North Star lifestyle to follow and adopt.
I would guess that very few readers of America 2.0 are rushing to model Tate in almost any way.
I promise there are some useful principles that Tate follows—and every successful lifestyle influencer follows, including his arch-nemesis Greta Thunberg—that we can use for more noble/regen ends.
The Three Principles of Impact Influencing
Here are the three most important principles of “Impact Influencing”:
PRINCIPLE 1: People Model What They Can See. The more parts of your philosophy and lifestyle that you broadcast to the world, the more opportunity you give to people to model your way of thinking and being.
PRINCIPLE 2: People Help When You Clearly Tell Them What You Need. The more clearly you articulate your goals and what you have to offer to people, the easier it is for people to decide that they want to take your offer and join you.
PRINCIPLE 3: Conviction Makes You Charismatic. In other words, if you can convey confidence and strength of purpose, you will be attractive to many people looking for someone to follow or model.
Any of us who believe that we are in some way on a path worthy of emulation should take these principles seriously.
Let's say you're a regenerative land steward. If you want 100 times more people to follow your example, it's worth exploring whether you can...
Do more to document and publicize what you're doing and what you believe, so that more people know what to model and what ideas to explore.
Do more to make it clear how other people can join forces with you, so that you can get more help in advancing your mission.
Do more to communicate your conviction in the path you're taking, so that people feel inspired to at least consider taking a similar path.
Practically speaking, you might want to
Set up your LinkedIn if you don't already have one
Set up a personal website if you don't have one (my own has yielded INCREDIBLE returns for over TEN years)
You also want to be doing more…
Tweeting about what you’re doing on a day to day basis and why, and publicly inviting your internet friends to help you advance the mission
Filming weekly or bi-weekly video reflections on your journey—what went well, what could have gone better, and what you’re excited to do next
Speaking on more podcasts and events why the path you’re walking is essential to a better future
It may feel unsettling to receive this advice. If so, you're probably the person who needs to hear it. In my experience, many of the people who least want to be "influencers" are the very people who should be most visible on social media.
Three Examples of Impact Influencers
Three people who are effective Impact Influencers?
Kevin Owocki—one of the leading builders of the “regen web3” ecosystem. The guy is constantly building and ideating in public. He’s one of my greatest role models.
Joe Brewer—one of the most well-known bioregional land stewards (at least in the web3 world). He posts regularly in a way that conveys deep conviction in what he’s doing.
Me (or at least I try to be)—I try to build, learn, educate, and catalyze in public. I’m an open book and everyone knows it.
But this is about YOU!
My Challenge To You: Become An Impact Influencer
What is the impact of you stepping up and putting on an Impact Influencer hat?
You could have a huge impact on what members of Gen Z and Gen Alpha aspire to become.
Young people will always look up and reach for the highest branch they see possible.
And it's not their fault what branch they currently see.
What you can do is illuminate new, higher branches for these young people.
You can change what they think is desirable and possible. And when you change what they believe is possible, you change what becomes possible.
On the current collective trajectory of our culture, we are on track to cultivate millions of little Andrew Tates around the world.
This may or may not be avoidable. I'm not sure.
But we can create a future in which more people follow your example and the example of the people who inspire you most.
The key is for you, and other model citizens, to recognize the power and responsibility you have to be the Impact Influencers the world needs you to be .
Until next time,
America 2.0 (by Gary Sheng) is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.