“Most of us feel lost in the dust kicked up by the pace of change,” says Nicco Mele, a self-declared IT nerd who memorizes poetry in his spare time. He has been recognized as one of America’s ‘best and brightest’ by Esquire Magazine.
In his book The End of Big, Mr. Mele says, “We don’t yet have an adequate vocabulary to talk about what is happening.” He adds, “Our present-day technology collapses time, distance, and other barriers. You often hear ‘social’ used in connection with technology – social media, social business, social sharing – but the consequences of radical connectivity on institutions are anything but social: they are disruptive.”
This disruption is felt acutely in academia and more generally in the knowledge economy. A popular blogger or intelligent contributor to Wikipedia can gain significant authority regardless of his participation in the academia.
Mele says, “From a purely reputational view, the Internet may think that a Wikipedia user who goes by the name Hoppyh knows more about Abraham Lincoln than famed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.” He explains that Hoppyh has made more than 1,339 contributions to the Wikipedia page on Lincoln. Kearns Goodwin hasn’t made any. And, even if she would start adding information to the Lincoln page tomorrow, Wikipedia wouldn’t give her any special status, observes Mele.
If you are a professional Subject Matter Expert, should you now be making regular contributions to Wikipedia?
Should you join the 164 million or so bloggers who are sharing their views on the Internet?
Does it matter that your clients may have instant access to information from reputable sources that may contradict your own views?
It’s comforting to hear that smart people like Mele feel intimidated by the velocity of change.
Meantime, busy professionals may want to take comfort in the old saying: do one thing and do it well. Or, as Google would say: It’s best to do one thing really, really well. In other words, pick and choose where you will put your energy to build profile online. It may be a blog, an e-zine, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, or any other platform – but, most likely, it can’t be all of them.