In his epic book “Here Comes Everybody”, Clay Shirky writes:
We are living in the middle of the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race. More people can communicate more things to more people than has ever been possible in the past, and the size and speed of this increase, from under one million participants to over one billion in a generation, makes the change unprecedented, even considered against the background of previous revolutions in communications tools. The truly dramatic changes in such tools can be counted on the fingers of one hand: the printing press and movable type (considered as one long period of innovation); the telegraph and telephone; recorded content (music, then movies); and finally the harnessing of radio signals (for broadcasting radio and TV). None of these examples was a simple improvement, which is to say a better way of doing what a society already did. Instead, each was a real break with the continuity of the past, because any radical change in our ability to communicate with one another changes society.
Shirky, Clay (2009-02-24). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (p. 106). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.
What good, though, is that expressive capability if people can’t find you when they need what you do? You need to be known!
So now you are an expert. I know it. You know it. It’s the rest of the world that may not know it. Yet. In my humble opinion however you did not get to this ripe old age of wherever you’re at without becoming an expert in something. The 10,000 hour rule is just that – Malcolm Gladwell hypothesized that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. Now think of all the things you are an expert at!
Here’s the problem, however: your area of expertise may be so narrow or specialized that no one in your town or county or even your state needs it. There are however almost 2,000,000,000 people on the Internet. Even if your expertise appeals to only one in 1 million people that still means there are 2,000 people who need you to guide them. The 10,000 hours you spent gaining your expertise probably means you’re pretty good thinker too. The challenge is you can be the sharpest knife in the drawer but if no one can find the drawer you’ll never get a chance to get out…
Chris Brogan says:
“As you now know, if you have no Google results, in a sense you don’t exist.
Brogan, Chris; Smith, Julien (2010-07-16). Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust (p. 161). Wiley. Kindle Edition.”
My good friend Dana VanDen Heuvel, a thought leader in his own right, says “there are thinkers and there are thought leaders. They both have a point of view. The thinker has a point of view that is limited by word-of-mouth but the thought leader is only limited by world of mouth.” Using the good, fast and cheap tools available on the Internet a thinker can make his or her thought leadership position searchable, findable, knowable, usable, and shareable. Because of all those ‘ibles’, they may actually become credible. Publishing your thought leadership position will give you a share of voice which may lead to share of mind and ultimately to share of market…
The first step in ‘being known’ is actually accepting the face that you ARE an expert and discovering your ‘onlyness’ as author Nilofer Merchant puts it in her book “11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra“:
The foundational element starts with celebrating each human and, more specifically, something I’ve termed onlyness. Onlyness is that thing that only one particular person can bring to a situation. It includes the skills, passions, and purpose of each human. Onlyness is fundamentally about honoring each person, first as we view ourselves and second as we are valued. Each of us is standing in a spot that no one else occupies. That unique point of view is born of our accumulated experience, perspective, and vision. Some of those experiences are not as “perfect” as we might want, but even those experiences are a source of ideas and creativity. Without this tenet of celebrating onlyness, we allow ourselves to be simply cogs in a machine—dispensable and undervalued.
Merchant, Nilofer (2012-09-12). 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era (Kindle Locations 107-113). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.
So now we have established the foundation of being known; you have to define your area of expertise and embrace your ‘onlyness’; only then can you take the next step. More next Tuesday…