Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What good is being awesome if no one knows about it?

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I was wondering the other day about one or two colleagues of mine that are really good at what they do. And I mean really good. I've had the pleasure of working with quite a few amazingly competent people in my short career, but surprisingly, not that many of our colleagues knew or know right now how good these people are. And that phenomenon has been relatively constant throughout the years.
When you come to think of it, it's not that surprising: our culture is not one to encourage bragging. Let me rephrase that: our culture is one where self-advertising is considered bragging, which is seen as rude worldwide. No matter how humbly you do it. This of course generates a posture of not talking about what you did or not sharing amazing content you've created, just for the sake of keeping low and off the management's radar.
The problem is that this way of thinking only works if your plan is to sit at a computer doing the same stuff all over again for the rest of your life. And if you're ok with that, this post ends here for you, so cheers lad! :D
If you're not ok with that, let me tell you something: social networking was the best thing to happen to the internet after Google. The advent of Facebook, Twitter and all that followed, ushered a new age of global awareness and new channels for promoting yourself and your skills. Why should you do it? Because of Math of course.
Factor this in: you're in your bullpen/open-space/shared office with your colleagues. You're in a team that communicates a lot, so everybody's aware of each other's worth. You've got what, six people around you? Let's say ten. Ten people that know how good your work was in this project.
Now imagine a global community, with dozens, hundreds, even thousands of people that may be aware of your digital footprint, be it directly or indirectly. Do you realize the amount of hits a post from you can get even if it's by accident? Imagine hundreds of people reading what you've said, or high-fiving an answer you gave in a forum, or sharing a link you in turn shared yourself. The networking that is generated by a minimum of action is at worst two times more widespread than what you could do by talking to your team. That is the power of going social.
And it's not about bragging, it's about sharing your thoughts, contributing to online communities, spreading the knowledge, etc. Is it scary having all that people reading your posts, probably judging or even just trolling you for the fun of it? Yeah, it can be. But we live in an age where almost everyone in your team's an ok programmer, or a good-enough analyst, so you need an upper hand.
You don't need to tell the world how good you are, but at least let them see it for themselves. Make social networking your not-so-secret weapon!


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