One of the most amazing things I’ve experienced in the past decade of social media is the aspect of sharing. From the first time I read Cluetrain to the current place it takes in the multiple buzz word lexicon of social media – sharing is a central pillar of social engagement.
For many of us today, sharing is an easy exercise. Cut & paste a link, click a share button for a photo or embed a video in a post. We take it for granted… it’s easy!
For those getting started, or for businesses both large and small, sharing is not as clear as one would think it is. Businesses may worry about ownership of content (copyright) issues, or the context of the content they’re sharing and how it reflects or impacts their brand and reputation.
Individuals may have similar concerns, and might have trouble understanding the technical “how to’s” of proper attribution or embedding of HTML code. But that’s what the seasoned folks should be, and are, helping with – that’s a lot of what we share.
Back to sharing itself though.
As online social engagement grows with mainstream participation, people and businesses gain more from sharing than we initially realize. Giving back to the community has always been a cornerstone of corporate responsibility, and participating in online communities is easier and more cost effective than in the physical community.
Offering up tips, tricks, ideas, solutions, trials, samples, free product, services and more helps build community and reflects on individuals and brands in a positive light. Who doesn’t enjoy or respect those who are helpful? That’s not the same as giving things away simply for favors, that has it’s place in brand building, but not for community building.
Many will call it the “pay it forward” method, and indeed giving back to your community is crucial to the health of that community. It motivates others to do the same and thereby provides a basic, common knowledge to the community that benefits the whole. In the end, ideas are shared back to you or your business that you might otherwise not have thought of. And that’s always a good thing.
Photo credit: Andrew Crummy
A longtime staple of many social media professionals is to share what they read, what they find and the resources they use every day. I’m not different, and have been sharing this information for the better part of a decade.
Over the years, I’ve used Google Reader (still a staple), Tumblr, Posterous, Read It Later, InstaPaper, BlogLines, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, Digg, and many others that I’ve since forgotten (sorry!). In fact, earlier this year I wrote a similar post pointing out that I had More Resources To Share.
Since then the work involved to share to so many different sources, along with the changing landscape of browser experimentation (my fault for using Firefox and Chrome) with their different sharing plugins takes way too long. To add to the complexity, I’ve added several dozen feeds to my daily reading list, even after cleaning out many non-essential feeds.
I’ve made it simple. Finally. At least for me it is and I hope it is for you as well.
Google Reader is still my mainstay for sharing – everything that I think may be of interest to others is found here. By everything, I mean everything – social media, mobile technology, android stuff, apple stuff, microsoft stuff, and many other topics. If you’re connected to me via Google you’ll see it in your “People You Follow” portion of your own Google Reader. Otherwise, you can find it here: http://www.google.com/reader/shared/rickmahn
Posterous is the main place I’ll take time and post social media related items that I think are very relevant for anyone in the field. These articles and posts might be on business use, marketing, communications, tools, news and so on. You can find this fee at: http://rickmahn.posterous.com/
Finally, I do still bookmark some items at Del.icio.us. There’s really no rime or reason to those, but it may be useful, so here it is: http://delicious.com/rickmahn
Photo credit: ryancr
Sharing your knowledge with the intention of letting someone take something forward.
Here’s another learning from my recent travels across the country. It has to do with community, and regional participation.
I happen to live near and work in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota area, and we have a very good, active social media community. Because of this, its been easy for me to focus locally and (kind of) forget how many other large and small urban centers also have great communities. That’s been the biggest learning as I’ve meet folks from all corners of the U.S. and around the world.
We all have vibrant social media communities, but they’re all different. Some areas seem to be better at marketing, some better at technology or funding. Regardless of the size of the city, the interest and enthusiasm always seems to be bigger than you’d think… and that’s the really fun part.
So my question to you this afternoon is what you’ve been doing to support that community and help it flourish. The benefits of understanding what social media can do for individuals, businesses and your physical communities is growing at an impressive rate. Its more than simply mainstream usage, it’s about people (society) adapting to new ideas and tools that support those ideas. It’s cultural change which can be challenging for some organizations and individuals, and this is where you can help your community.
Getting involved in your local community is the best way to make things happen. Find out what the need is and work on filling it. It may be getting people together at meetups, answering questions, or maybe training. In any case, participating with your local community is as important as keeping up with the new ideas and tools that come out every day.
Picture courtesy Sri Dhanush
The amount of time I’ve wasted of the last several months not creating content for this blog is simply silly. When we all have so much to share and so much to say, why do we find it so hard these days to create content for our blogs?
We’re so connected to nearly instantaneous interactions on Twitter and Facebook, or IM & Skype that we forget how groundbreaking a blog actually is. Our nuggets of wisdom have been shortened to 140 characters or less and thrown into the rushing stream of status update consciousness.
Yes, this knowledge is out there, shared, and searchable, but how does it track back to what we represent to other folks?
I keep thinking about these things as I miss the opportunity every week to write content for this blog and share things I’ve learned or that I think would be useful to other people. That’s the frustration I’ve had with Twitter and other status update services or tools.
I know I’m not alone in this, many I talked to at SXSW this past week had similar comments, and we’ve read this online from many others. What I want to do is to get back to a regular blogging schedule where I’m sharing things I’ve learned through the week. There’s so much going on all the time, and it’s a shame not to be able to create content around that knowledge.
At least, this is one of many things that SXSW woke me up to. The rest I’ll save for more posts.
Picture courtesy of the|G|