I’d initially intended to post here on this topic, in a more personal less work-centric method and perspective. But I quickly realized as I began writing, that the topic its self lent more readily to a professional post on “Notes from Rational Support“. This was originally posted there on Jan 20, 2011:

Personal eminence has been on my mind a bit lately, which has led me to take a few actions of my own including my individual addition of an About.Me profile to signpost my own eminence in the digital spaces. You’re going to read that phrase (digital personal eminence) a LOT below, so let me quickly define that out for you: eminence is a position of distinction or superiority. Personal digital eminence, then, is about the power of your electronic presence as a brand; your individual distinction on the web. I’m working to improve mine, and Rational Client Support’s of course, but that is easier said than done.

We all know the big brands online. I am guessing you can easily name 5 right off the top of your head without even trying. Individual -people- are a bit more difficult to identify, though I am sure you could still easily name 5 within a short amount of time. These are brands and individuals who likely have rock-star status across the globe; the ones which are known beyond social or cultural boundaries. But that is only the tip of eminence, as both brands and people need to be knowledgeable in their areas in order to really solidify their standings.

In a general context like this, it is very difficult to gain that level of eminence without being a large-scale celebrity. But what if we look at particular contexts within spaces that are important to us? The spaces in which we play on a daily basis…  Personal eminence in these contexts can be seen all around you. In the support world this is displayed by those whom are always readily answering questions or sought after for advice. Personal -digital- eminence is just as easily seen if you are involved in forums, user communities, or subscribe to blogs or RSS feeds: it is found in the people you follow, the people who are visible, the people who are always learning and more importantly -sharing- in the digital realms.

Building this personal digital eminence for yourself, however, isn’t overly difficult, and is ultimately important for you as well as for your company whether it is IBM or a small unknown start-up. Individually, personal eminence is a direct influence on career success. Now imagine a company which boasts a large number of individuals who all have some level of personal digital eminence… you’re likely imagining a very successful company that has a solid, trust-worthy brand backing it up; a company who’s name elicits that sense of reliability, much like IBM, I’m guessing.

A quick connection of the roll up from personal to corporate eminence should tell you exactly how important this can be to individuals and businesses alike. It is for this reason that I encourage everyone to join the conversations in your spaces, as yourselves; to step forward and take control of your own personal digital eminence.

Of course, participation alone isn’t enough. Not only do you need to be active in your communities and networks, but you need to be authentic as well. Don’t be afraid to stand out as a subject matter expert, but don’t try and pretend you’re one if you aren’t. Take criticisms in stride and admit mistakes when they happen (oh, and they will happen). Be open and honest with your opinions, and listen to others as well. Genuine communication is not only a key to building eminence, but also a good life skill as well! Of course, it is this kind of authenticity paired with activity which will skyrocket your personal digital eminence to new heights, improving your company’s brand eminence as well as your own career.

I’ll ask you now to heed this as a call to action for both IBMers and the public alike: Get out there and distinguish yourself in -your- space. Be passionate, become the subject matter experts, give back to the communities and forums you frequent, and become your own individual brand. Only you can control your personal digital eminence, but it can benefit so many more!

Image credit: (cc) flickr user RambergMediaImages

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