Eminence, or being a widely known go-to person in a certain area of expertise, is becoming more important now that the trend of democratization is becoming more visible. Secondly, we have clearly entered the social age, where there is a wealth of media venues available to work on your eminence. This post series covers the what (part 1), why (part 2) and how (part 3) of working on your eminence in the social age.

Eminence role model

I’ve been selected as one of the eminence role models for IBM Benelux, being exemplary for other IBMers on working on staying eminent. I myself have had quite the journey, in which I started seriously engaging on social media channels around the time that I started in the role as cloud services leader for IBM Benelux in Q4 2011. Sure I worked on my eminence before than, but merely in a fact to face fashion.

What really got things started was some really good insight and tips from the social media team behind the Twitter handle @IBMcloud. More specifically; Katie Keating really clarified how to utilize the social media channels to work on my eminence. This is why I have asked her to work with me on this blog series, providing you with some great tips for your journey.

About eminence

I think the description of eminence being a widely known go-to person in a certain area of expertise nails it completely; your reputation has spread beyond the people you directly interact with. Eminence comes with influence within your area of expertise both within and outside your organization.

The Oxford English Dictionary says eminence means fame or acknowledged superiority within a particular sphere: her eminence in photography.  Eminent describes a person who is famous and respected in their sphere: an eminent statistician. Famous and respected. That is the combination which counts. Also let’s look at the definition from Wiktionary:

eminence (plural eminences)

  1. someone of high rank, reputation or social station
  2. the quality or state of being eminent
  3. prominence in a particular order or accumulation; esteem

So it’s about reputation, quality and prominence. There are two aspects of eminence; 1. improving the quality and depth of your knowledge and 2. displaying your knowledge to improve your reputation and prominence.

The Social Age

The Social Age, according to Wikipedia, encompasses both societal and technological changes succeeding the Information Age. It is divergent from the Information Age as it gives more prominence to social factors when adopting and/or extending technology and information. It further broadens the definition of Attention Age because the Social Age focuses on many forms of societal interactions including collaboration and sharing.

There is no denying the shear volume of social media now a days; just look at some of the statistics summarized by socialnomics.net: Over 1 billion users on Facebook, Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn, Every minute 72 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. Check out more statistics in the embedded video Social Media Video 2013: The future is all about digital media.

Now we’ve clearly entered the “social age” there is a whole new array of venues that can be used to strengthen your eminence; but on the receiving side (staying current or improving your level of knowledge) and on the sending side (displaying your eminence).

Eminence in the Social Age

Putting your eminence and the social age together results in a huge potential for staying current, connecting with thought leaders of your area of expertise or working on your personal branding. In this era, you can connect with people via Twitter or other social channels that previously you would have never met. The potential for networking is greater than ever, as is the potential for exposure.

And particularly as these social channels become more saturated with those who are sharing their thoughts and expertise, participation is less and less of an option. If you aren’t sharing your thoughts, someone else is–and this is true for individuals as well as brands. Your audience is there whether you are or not, so don’t miss the opportunity.

Tip from Katie: Also, don’t be afraid to start from scratch. If you’re willing to be consistent, to interact with others in a meaningful way, to add value to the conversations out there and open to new ideas–you will succeed.

This leads me to my next blog post, wherein I will focus why eminence in the social age matters, to you personally and to businesses around you. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this subject. Just drop me a line or comment to this post.

By Edwin Schouten and Katie Keating. Find out more about Edwin on edwinschouten.nl or follow him via @schoutene, find more wisdom from Katie via @ThingsSheSaid.


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