Who needs thought leaders anyway?

It is time for a thought democracy


Write a thesis on Why it’s essential to be an online authority.

That is the challenge of the recent Copyblogger Essay Contest I entered. It got me thinking about the idea of Online Authority. And with it Thought Leadership. Isn’t it time to stop following leaders? Isn’t it time for a true thought democracy?


As much as I like reading blogs by the likes of Chris Brogan, Brian Solis or Seth Godin it is their version of the Truth. They are not my own insights.

It is a shortcut to thinking. Just retweet, Plus 1 or Like and you can hitch a ride on their knowledge… But that is not what thought leadership is about.

Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters —
Subterranean Homesick Blues — Bob Dylan

I think it is time to say: there is no thought leader. There is no online authority.

A leader suggests one primary source of valuable information. But with the ability for everyone to be online and share their knowledge; thought leadership can only be proclaimed dead. And with it Online Authority.

We are all thought leaders, hence there is no thought leader.

We can all be The Authority within a niche market at any given moment. And everybody is entitled to their own opinion of that niche market. Everybody is welcome to claim they have the most knowledge of some part of the Long Tail.

Everyone is the leader. Everyone can be the leader.

Thus there is no leader.

Without a leader there is no-one to claim authority.

Without authority there is only democracy. It is internet in it’s purest form. As it was meant to be.


Declaring yourself an online authority is basically a silly claim.

You can claim you are an expert. Because you have a proven track record. Sure…

But so can anybody.


If all the information is out there, as it is, being an authority comes down to the amount of time you are willing to spend on gathering and internalizing all that information.

And being the first one to claim you are The Authority. Which will only be questioned. By other people claiming thought leadership and the role of Authority.


We are all on a quest for knowledge. We are all constantly learning. Sharing knowledge is essential. Not the claim you are making to that knowledge. Accept Thought Democracy.

Kill your thought leaders. Kill online authority. Don’t watch the parking meters.