To Share or Not to Share that is the Question

Social Media Icons

Icons by Kate England

Sharing content across the plethora of social media sites has never been easier. Most websites now have one widget or another that means, at a the press of button, your followers, friends or connections can read a whole slew of material, including blog posts, ebooks, and also watch videos and listen to audio.

Recently, I have been watching and loosely testing the engagement from sharing other people’s content across my main platforms. The results have been predictable: in the main the amount of engagement (as compared to what…?) has been pitiful. Yes there have been a few comments on Google+, a few likes and Re-Tweets on Twitter and comments on LinkedIn but not nearly enough engagement to make the exercise worthwhile.

And you can understand why people might chose not to respond:

  1. People have better things to do with their time than surf, scan and meander around a whole slew of social media sites;
  2. They already have too much content to read. If they are using something like Evernote (as I do), I would be surprised if: (a) they have read everything they have saved; and (b) perhaps, more importantly, acted on the advice contained in the saved article/blog post;
  3. It is irrelevant to them or their target audience;
  4. They miss it completely which chimes with point 1; and
  5. They don’t want to be seen to endorse one person over another.

The thing is, whether it is social media or any other digital arena, there is simply too much information in the ether, and very little of it shows original thinking.

Take something like blogging. If you read around this subject area you would be forgiven for thinking that the science, methodology and technical competency is beyond most people. Even making  a call on which platform to choose is a big fat headache.

But for me none of this counts for much. If you want to blog you can do so easily via Tumblr, Google+ or even Facebook. OK they may not be traditional blogging platforms but they do the same thing in principle.

The blogs that I routinely read – Seth Godin, Julien Smith and Steve Pavlina – I do so because I learn something or they make me think differently about a particular (relevant) issue.

I couldn’t care a fig that Seth is on Typepad whereas the other two bloggers use WordPress. Also, I don’t see these bloggers routinely sharing masses of content or engaging in the ‘blow smoke where the Sun don’t shine behaviour’ of endorsing others in the hope that they will shine a light back on your work. In principle, there is nothing wrong with this but absent a disclaimer of sorts that you know them or have done work for them, how genuine is it when you start talking in glowing terms about their blog post etc?

For me I have come to the conclusion that save for things outside my commercial purview – music, sport, food, family stuff and environmental/nature – I am going to throttle back on how much I share. For one thing this will free up a lot of time from endlessly checking Google Reader; and, more particularly, I can focus again on creating Art in my blogging, sound recordings and videos (as well as have some fun!). If I do share content from now on it will be something of exceptional value (I will continue to Re-Tweet Seth’s posts).

I don’t normally ask for feedback on a post but I would be interested in your own views on sharing the content of others.

Finally, although I have briefly stuck to writing on Wednesday’s on social media and Brand You on Friday’s, I am likely to bring both posts together and blog on Wednesday from now on. This is simply to make things more manageable for me, and to give me a re-re-focus to my blogging. I may put out shorter posts from time to time, but only if I think I have something useful to say.

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