Grabbing attention or building a reputation?

Daniel Tunkelang has been writing on the attention economy (here and here for example): everyone is fighting to have your attention, and you only have so much to offer.

Attention is easy to measure:

  • You can record the number of people subscribing to your blog.
  • You can count the number of people citing your research papers.
  • You can point to your number of followers on Twitter or your number of friends on Facebook.

However, I do not blog or write research papers merely to grab attention. Instead, I seek to increase my reputation. While attention fluctuates depending on your current actions, reputation builds up over time based on your reliability, your honesty, and your transparency. To build a good reputation, you do not need to do anything extraordinary: you just need to be consistent over a long time.

Of course, you need to get some attention if you are building a reputation. However, on the long run, the saying build it and they will come, is true. Being present and doing good work is enough. You do not need flashy presentations. Remain lean and mean. Avoid high maintenance operations. Do good quality work.

2 thoughts on “Grabbing attention or building a reputation?”

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. Grabbing attention is a tactic, while building a reputation is a strategic goal. If you don’t cultivate a reputation, then attention-grabbing tactics will wear you out, with no lasting return. And I think that applies across the board, as much to corporate brands as to scholarly researchers.

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