A couple of weekends ago I took a little test on Twitter. I wanted to see if I didn’t start off engaging anyone if I’d be missed. I did know that one of my blog posts was scheduled to post late morning, but I was curious if anyone would pick up on the blog post or send me anything.
When I finally looked later in the day I did have messages. A couple of people had retweeted the post. A couple had responded to the post. And one person had written me a welcoming message to the day. I felt pretty good because I think it shows I do have at least a little bit of impact, or influence, online. Of course, my local influence is still nothing, as everyone who wrote me was from somewhere else, but that’s okay; I’ll take what I can get.
Our lives are so much different now than they used to be. In the past, there was some sense of community, of knowing the people who lived in your community. You’d see people in the neighborhood and know everyone’s name. You’d shop at the same stores and see each other there.
Nowadays, we have more ways to communicate with each other, yet instead of spreading the sense of community, for the most part it’s become more restrictive. You only message so many people because you don’t want to pay for extra time if you go over your minutes. We don’t have to leave our homes to go meet people because we can bring people into our homes electronically.
It’s a shame, but that’s pretty much my life. I work from home most of the time, so I don’t have a need to leave the house all that often. I’ve learned that my wife and my elderly neighbors across the street think that I’m getting old before my time because I don’t leave the house. My mind says not to spend money unnecessarily, and that includes gas for my car. It’s less expensive to stay home, so I do. I leave when I have something specific to do; just getting out for the sake of getting out makes no sense anymore.
This leads me to wonder sometimes if I would be missed by many people if something happened to me. If I stopped twittering, left LinkedIn alone, got off Facebook, and pretty much just withdrew would people notice I was gone. Sure, I know a few would; I do luckily have a few friends, and of course my wife, mother and grandmother. I do have my newsletter. But would any of the “masses” really miss me? Would I even have a legacy that someone would say “that was a good guy”. Unless my wife sent something out, and that’s not going to happen, would people reach out and say “hey, where are you”, or would time just move on?
It’s an interesting question. The second question is if you’d want that sort of thing in the first place? As I’ve talked about this concept of influence I’ve thought about the second half of that, which is once you have some influence can you ever have a private life again? Then I came to a resounding “yes”. We had this CEO of Hewitt Packard have to resign and get out of Dodge because of an alleged sex scandal, and I realized that I had absolutely no idea who this guy was, yet one could imagine that his influence had to be pretty high. If it wasn’t for the scandal, he’d have never crossed my mind at all. And yet, because of his influence, his indiscretion (alleged; yeah, right) was big news, and plastered all over the media. Almost Tiger Woods bad, but that kind of thing is hard to top.
Do you think you’d be missed by the masses if you suddenly stopped writing or doing whatever it is you do online? Do you care? Or would you like something mixed, like the treatment Ben Vereen gets from the Muppets in a performance of Mr. Cellophane?