Overexposure vs. The Fear of Obscurity

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I was just recently asked to speak at a local, sold out social media event that has been getting a ton of exposure.

Unfortunately, I had to decline. Why? Well, there are a slew of factors really. But first please allow me to indulge in a few thoughts I have been having about social media, networking, productivity and the like.

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A recent post by Carlos Miceli reinforced questions I have been asking myself lately:

What do my social actions say about my productivity?
How are my actions perceived?
Am I wasting my time posting and engaging in useless conversations?
Am I  collaboratively producing and constantly learning?
Are my connections and conversations providing value, not just to me, but to my work AND my network as well?

Interestingly, the same week a very dear colleague and friend Dana Lookadoo also posted an extremely useful column on getting control of your social media life.

All of a sudden a connection between productivity and transparency has been made.

I would like to think that the connections made online and the social blogosphere have been worthwhile. I have seen results. I can attest that there has been valuable information shared, and collaborative projects as well.

But I’ve seen the opposite too. And there are times I feel the urge to participate in time-wasting conversations, as if I needed to be present – not really as a social addiction, more out of fear of becoming invisible. Out of sight, out of mind.

It’s the conflict of overexposure vs. obscurity. Chew on that one.

My takeaway is this: I would rather give when I can, and be known for integrity and follow-through. It’s not about how loud I can be – I’d rather let my connections and work speak for itself.

So back to declining the last-minute offer to speak … initially I felt guilt, I was wasting an opportunity to be in front of colleagues and potential clients. I was letting the organizers, who are also friends of mine, down.  I could have done it, but at what expense? My schedule is packed, my project list never-ending. My family needs me. Oh, yeah, how about sleep? Sleep is good.

So I graciously passed. It’s uncomfortable for not to be out there, in front. I can’t stand to miss the party. But what I can say is this: I am more self-aware, and that will only make me more valuable to the connections I make in the future.