Intimidated by the velocity of change? Another way to stay focused

“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 End of bigpresent-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.

Do you really need to have an instant (Twitter) opinion on everything? One way to stay focused

Globe and Mail writer Russell Smith laments the pressure leaders in business, the arts, and others feel to take a stand on just about everything.

Smith writes, “It’s so easy taking a stand now, that you must have a stand: You must have a position right away and publish it, broadcast it, and you instantly have responses, arguments, and that’s thrilling; it seems all so very vital and important.”

He adds, “There is now pressure, real pressure, — rsmith-logoparticularly if you have a Twitter account, and especially if you have some kind of agent or publicist who says you have to ‘build your brand’ by using it — to take sides and issue opinions, all day long.”

The pressure to regularly add posts to social media platforms is real because failing to do so makes the owner of the news feed look inactive almost instantly. You don’t post, you don’t exist anymore. You may as well be out of business. The traditional print ‘news cycle’ of at least 24-hour has been reduced to minutes. It can be brutally difficult to appear current.

I officially follow a couple of hundred smart organizations and people on Twitter – mostly law firms, accountants, marketing gurus, news agencies and some leading non-profits. Unofficially, I flip through my Tweets while waiting for the TTC. When I feel like it, I admit it.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy Twitter. I can be nice about bad grammar (“Of these luxurious outdoor showers which do you want to get clean in?”). I try to put on my marketing hat when confronted with the overindulgent use of maverick symbols now lifted from obscurity.

Nevertheless, rather than feeling pressure to share a constant stream of modestly interesting opinions and news events – posting for the sake of posting to look ‘alive’ — organizations and their leaders may want to ask themselves a simple question: What do I want to be known for most on social media platforms?

Once an organization selects a few “hot topics” of choice, the pressure to post regularly may be replaced by posting and curating quality information when it is available. Information you know your readers want to receive. (More talk about curating in another post.)

Focusing on quality, not quantity may be one way to feel less pressured about sharing opinions and news on social media sites. Your followers and readers will understand quickly that you only post when it matters most.