Relevant <> Visible

Rapportive in action

In a fascinating blog entry in which Dr. Scott McLeod introduces Rapportive (which is neat, and gave me the same buzz as Boomerang but for different reasons), Scott makes the argument that "Invisible = Irrelevant."

He points out the following:

In a world that’s hyperconnected and hypernetworked, these people are off the grid. Whatever ideas they have, whatever service they’re offering, whatever charity for which they’re trying to raise money, whatever product they’re selling – whatever they’re doing is invisible to anyone outside their local geography.
In 2011, it seems to me that these people are largely irrelevant to anyone other than their local community.

It's a provocative stance but is it accurate? And, is the converse true? Does being Visible equate to being relevant? It's not surprising but I know a lot of irrelevant people according to Scott's standard. Yet, I know a lot more visible people. Which have more of an impact on me?

Obviously, significant others in my life are relevant to me. Would them getting hyperconnected and hypernetworked strengthen that relevance in the context of my life, or weaken it? Does being hyperconnected mean that we may be less relevant in our face to face, local geography?

And, though we know there are obvious benefits to being connected, I have to admit, the last few weeks of being less connected or visible (although I'm more visible than most, even when I'm trying not to be) have been a welcome break. What does that translucence mean for me?

One of the challenges I wrestle with is, when are we over-exposed? When have we put so much of ourselves "out there" that it becomes counter-productive? How many social networking tools do I have to be a member of before I achieve relevance? How does Scott define relevance? Is it presence in the 3-4 tools that Rapportive supports?

I'm not sure. What I do know is that I want tools that allow me to 1) Share my message with others; 2) Facilitate dialogue with wide audiences that I wouldn't normally be able to learn from; 3) Not infringe on my life any more than is needed; 4) Enable me to maintain control of my 'digital footprint.'

Is translucence, rather than visibility, something to shoot for?

Alien from The Abyss
Or, is that too alien a concept?


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Comments

Scott McLeod said…
So you've got me pondering, Miguel. My post was premised on the idea that invisible = irrelevant, and I'll stand by that idea as I originally wrote. However, I'm also starting to think that perhaps this is directional:

invisible --> irrelevant

In other words, it's not necessarily true that the opposite holds:

irrelevance --> invisible (b/c you can be irrelevant and still highly visible)

Also, I'm not sure the converse forms are always true:

visible = relevant (b/c, again, you can be highly visible and still irrelevant)

relevant = visible (b/c there are some who are or could be relevant who are not necessarily visible; i.e., I'm thinking of a number of university profs who are doing good work but aren't easy to find)

So I'm still toying around mentally with the various twists on this. Thanks for extending my thinking!
Scott McLeod said…
Also, I too "want tools that allow me to 1) Share my message with others; 2) Facilitate dialogue with wide audiences that I wouldn't normally be able to learn from; 3) Not infringe on my life any more than is needed; 4) Enable me to maintain control of my 'digital footprint'!"

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