Invisible = irrelevant

It’s 2011. If you’re invisible to the world, aren’t you also irrelevant to the world?


I use the Rapportive plugin for Gmail. It’s a pretty powerful little add-on that gives me enhanced profile information for the people that send me e-mail by tapping into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, Flickr, my Google contacts, and more. For example, if you used Rapportive, here’s what you’d see on the right side of your screen if I e-mailed you.

You can see from my profile that I am richly connected and using a variety of social media tools. There are many ways to intersect with me, professionally and/or personally.

Although it’s happening less frequently every day, I still receive a great number of e-mails from people whose Rapportive profile looks like this:

This doesn’t mean that they lack a Rapportive profile. It means that they have no presence on any social networks. No Facebook, no Twitter, no LinkedIn, no Flickr, no etc. Nothing.

I wonder about these people. They’re not just missing out. They’re missing out. In a world that’s hyperconnected and hypernetworked, these people are off the grid. Whatever ideas they have, whatever service they’re offering, whatever charity for which they’re trying to raise money, whatever product they’re selling – whatever they’re doing is invisible to anyone outside their local geography.

In 2011, it seems to me that these people are largely irrelevant to anyone other than their local community. And though it might be fine for many to make that individual choice, that decision should stem from intention rather than ignorance. I also believe that we should be doing better by our schoolchildren. They may decide to go off the grid when they’re older, but in the meantime we should be doing our damnedest as educators to teach them how to be networked and connected in positive, productive ways because in the future almost all of them will want their products or services or charities or ideas to have some traction.

If this were a review, I’d give Rapportive 4 highlighters for being a solid bit of software that does what it intends quite well.

But I’d give the person above 0 highlighters because I don’t know about her. And neither do you.

Image credit: Invisible man sculpture, Harlem, NY

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

CNN files lawsuit against Trump administration

The lawsuit claims the administration violated the First Amendment when it revoked the press credentials of reporter Jim Acosta.

(Photo by Al Drago - Pool/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press credentials were revoked following a heated exchange with President Donald Trump on November 8.
  • The network filed a lawsuit against the administration on Tuesday, claiming the administration has violated multiple amendments.
  • The White House may only revoke the press credentials of journalists for "compelling reasons," not for reasons involving content.
Keep reading Show less

Why millions of Americans didn’t vote during the midterms

Fall is a bad time to hold elections.

Photo credit: Joshua Lott / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Usually, only about 40 percent of eligible voters participate in midterm elections.
  • Political philosopher John Stuart Mill believed it would be for the collective good if everybody voted.
  • Because of logistics, we may need to change the time of year we vote.
Keep reading Show less