Inspired by xkcd
Who is the most influential person on the internet? That argument could go on for years. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs certainly get people to buy things. Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the men behind the omnipresent Google. Moot, the founder of 4chan, topped TIME's Most Influential Person poll. It could easily be argued that one guy with a pencil has the strange power to make things happen without a company, without a title, and without even asking. Randall Munroe has influence he never asked for. His creation xkcd is "A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language." The accompanying blog, which Munroe calls a "blag", is where he posts everything outside of the thrice-weekly comic. Yeah, he's published a book, too, but it's the comic that makes things happen.
When Munroe posted this comic, Mike McHenry was inspired to install a ball pit in his home. Then Munroe was inspired to make it happen in his own home (shown). He later enlarged it. Then Last.fm put one in their office, although it wasn't easy.
When Munroe posted this comic, Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing was just an average-looking guy you might not recognize on the street. A couple months later, he showed up at ETech 2007 looking like this. Image by Flickr user Scott Beale / Laughing Squid.
When Munroe posted this comic, a new "sport" was born. Andrew, Chris, Ryan, and Chance recreated the stunt in real life and sent Munroe a photo. More people sent in pictures, which end up in the Chesscoaster gallery. See more pictures here.
When Munroe posted this comic, Dustin Spicuzza was inspired to create software that posted a love note at the startup, with a ominous "Missing operating system" appended. He also posted warnings about trying this at home.
When Munroe posted this comic, (which was inspired by this popular Discovery Channel promo), Noam Raby made an animated version, and then there was a live-action version of the comic, and then another featuring some folks you might recognize.
When Munroe posted this comic, the Wikipedia entry for "wood" immediately sprouted more pop cultural references for wood. The entry has since been edited, with the Pop Cultural References section removed.
If you have any doubts about Munroe's influence, bear in mind that there are at least two blogs dedicated to explaining what xkcd comics mean and another that explains how bad it is. THAT's influence!