Key Takeaway: Influence is not defined by one's credentials, but by the depth of the avenue of influence a given party places in this subject's hands.
In Plain English: the level of influence a "thought leader" has on his/her audience is not defined by his/her credentials or even the quality of his/her perspective, but by the level of credence and attention this "thought leader" has garnered against this audience.
Example: Joe Blogger may be brilliant. But the level of influence he has on me is directly proportionate to the amount of attention and credence I put in his perspective.
Food For Thought: With all the talk about the role of influentials in community, isn't it time we reconsidered the role of individual-defined influence filtering? Just because I read TechCrunch or may be a member of the Mashable or NewTeeVee communities, does that inherently imply that my personal influence filter is similar or even related to others in the community?