I wish I could take credit for starting this discussion…but I can’t.

On his blog a friend of mine asked the question: To be known well, or to be well known? and following was what he had to say:

    “Professionally speaking, I’m struggling to figure out which is more important: to be known well, or to be well known. I’m not sure it’s possible to do both well.

    In other words, is it worth it to pursue some sort of prominent role in the national dialogue like I had when I worked at MIT? Sometimes I miss that. But it would require hitting the speaking circuit again, attending a bunch of conferences and other networking events, and more engagement in online forums. Oberlin would get recognition by association, I suppose, but at what cost? I’d have to focus less on Oberlin itself, and that’s what I came here to do.

    But simply focusing on Oberlin and letting the aggressive study of evolving national issues take a backseat leaves a big hole.

    Ugh. No easy answer to this.”

I find myself trying to answer that question today. At the time I responded to his post with the following:

    “I do believe one can do both: “to be known well, or to be well known.” Your ability to re-image Oberlin can directly impact the voice you have in/on the national stage. You sit in a role where you have the ability to speak and speak strongly on the ideas currently in the field and the ideas which you wish to put out in the field. To be known well at Oberlin means to impact the fabric of the University for the better, to take its idea and message to a new level of national and international understanding. By doing so you will be known well to those at the University and you will become well known outside of the University. The fact that you can ponder on this idea means your ability to impact and shape is greater than others.”

What do you think?