Overexposure vs. The Fear of Obscurity

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.


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.

7 thoughts on “Overexposure vs. The Fear of Obscurity

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Over-exposure vs. the Fear Of Obscurity in Social Media | Monica Wright -- Topsy.com

  2. Dana Lookadoo

    Monica, I cannot believe how reading this post made me feel as if you crawled into my skin, my mind and my heart.

    I’ve had the same thoughts. What happens with social media is that we become close friends, sharing our thoughts and desires, and we bond with others as a result. However, we cannot spend the time in “friendship” mode we want, and we know we are missing out on conversations … relationships.

    Then, add the difficult aspect of saying “no” and feeling like you are letting someone down on top of that is challenging. What a struggle! I am so grateful you shared this, because you empower us, your friends to remember to do the same. We must set boundaries. You did the right thing!

    Being in the industry means we work outside normal boundaries. The lines between work, socializing, marketing and helping others can get blurred.

    The title of your post adequately explains this. It’s also the beauty and the beast!

  3. Eric Werner

    Odd coincidence – I had to turn down a last minute speaking opportunity this month as well. I didn’t like doing it but there is the need for balance as you mentioned. I think it is important to think of those types of things as investments too – if you didn’t have the cash you wouldn’t try to force some into the stock market… You might decide to invest more or less next month.

    Also as with any investment you should try to get s much value as you can. If you had to give a talk without being able to give your full attention to the people afterwards it would probably not pay off as much for you or they.

    Great points Monica!

  4. Monica Wright Post author

    That’s a great analogy – applying social activity and relationships as “investments”. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should, or feel like you have to. It’s a challenge to say the least, making those decisions.

  5. Monica Wright Post author

    It truly is the beauty and the beast, you completely nailed it. Also, the guilt we feel I had always attested to being more of a female trait stemming from my role as mother and Catholic upbringing (guilt can motivate a lot you know!) So for that I was excited to see Eric’s reply too. I must say I’m relieved that this seems to be a common struggle. I hope that this will at least give us the “ok” to say no, and provide understanding when people have to say no to us.

  6. DR Net

    Boy I have to agree with some of your points and thoughts to chew on Monica. I have never really gotten into the social aspect of Web 2.0. I see the usefulness in some ways, but is just seems to be a saturated conglomerate of emptiness for the most part. Other than some great benefits for backlinking and seo. Who has the time to chit chat about what they are doing after eating a Bran muffin 🙂

    Sam, Aka Dr Net

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