Ecobuild was pretty hectic this year. After just coming for a day last year and mooching around bumping into people, this year I got asked to do loads of stuff and pretty much wore myself out. But not to worry, it was all good.
One of the things I was asked to do was a PechaKucha talk on social media, by Gary Morton of ACO who like me serves on the BIM for Manufacturers and Manufacturing working group. I offered to deliver one on ‘Why people are sharing stuff online (and why you should too). This deck is based on one I made back in 2009 and I’m amazed that the same ideas still receive so much interest.
There was a bit of a delay on Wednesday afternoon getting the session started, and several people asked me about the slides later so here they are, along with a summary of what I said. I hope they provoke some discussion, so if you’d like to add your 2d please do so in the comments below.
What is Sharing?
Wherever you are on the internet, there are a myriad of sites and platforms which are all in essence a means of publishing material (or ‘content’) for other people to read, comment upon and share onward.
But why do people do this? Firstly because they have something to say:
1. Say Something
One of the most trusted sources of information these days is the blog, and if you want to influence opinion you must blog. This is the excellent Elrond Burrell who has been blogging for about a year, and getting a lot of reaction by seeking to educate us on what sustainability really means.
Then of course people share their problems:
2. Ask for Help
It is much easier to find things if you can ask questions of your network. Here is a friend of min0,e film maker Neil Fairbrother asking about CO2 emissions from wind turbines, and our conversation as I put him in touch with a couple of people who could help him.
3. Be Useful
People share to be useful, but they also have other motives, and that’s fine.
Here’s Jacqui at @designconscious helping me find an uplighter at the last minute before a client meeting back in 2011. Her recommendation went in the spec which is great, but more importantly, I saved hours trawling through the hell that is the Thorn Lighting Catalogue. Everyone’s a winner!
4. Be Beautiful
Or for the other side of the William Morris quotation, people share the stuff they love.
I live on the Essex Coast and James Dodds is one of my favourite artists. His paintings and prints of boats and Essex coastal towns are an inspiration. This one (which he gave me permission to share with you) is one of 100s on his website.
Why do we share this stuff?
5. Create a Conversation
The new Internet is no longer about broadcasting, its about conversations. By discussing things we care about, we can create and develop ideas, and it helps us learn if we could work together.
6. Huddle Into Groups
Some people like to Find people who agree with them and collectivise to take action. This is how people learned about BIM when it was a new thing, but more than that, it is also the core of the concept of collaboration. Co-operating together will be what changes the construction industry for the better, and social media can help us do that.
7. Swim the Other Way
But other people like to be mavericks. To stand out from the crowd.
Every day TED publishes a short talk by a thought leader – like John Kasonaa here who has helped turn the poachers of Namibia, including his father, into conservationists, giving them “ownership in the wildlife.”
Every day, another thought leader to listen to, for free in your inbox.
8. Be Remarkable
And why are thought leaders so important?
They teach us how to be remarkable – literally.
When you’re doing something amazing people remark upon it. They share it with others.
Seth Godin wrote a book about this called ‘Purple Cow’.
9. Be Searchable
Before the Internet, being remarkable didn’t always work – you might just have found yourself yelling in a bucket.
But now we have Google. People are Searching.
The more obscure your remarkability is, the better. It just makes it easier for people who are looking to find you via Google.
Here’s Dave Gorman with the simplest definition of what a GoogleWhack is.
The Long Tail
Being remarkable is no longer a disadvantage. It doesn’t stop Amazon stocking your book. It doesn’t stop the local cafe competing locally with McDonalds.
10. Be Specific
So be Specific about what you have to share.
When I worked for an architect we rebuilt the services section of their website to speak directly to the people they can help most with their concerns about buildings and property.
They were the best architects (at what they did) and you can be the best too, online 24/7.
12. Be Sticky
If you are specific and remarkable then you’ll be memorable. Your contribution sticks not only in people’s minds but it sticks onto the internet, building up a footprint of your remarkableness.
People Come to You
This means that instead of having to shove your stuff in people’s faces, people will break down your door for it.
Sharing helps them know you, and if they need your help, they’ll come to you.
Three quarters of a million YouTube subscribers for a blender company? Now that’s sticky.
It is Pull Marketing
But you don’t have to sell blenders to identify what makes you remarkable.
To quote Seth Godin who also wrote ‘All Marketers are Liars’
“There are only two things that separate success from failure in most organisations today:
- Invent stuff worth talking about
- Tell Stories about what you’ve invented
13. Don’t Worry
And lastly, just in case you were, please heed the advice of David Meerman Scott (who wrote ‘The new Rules of Marketing and PR’.
“Don’t worry about sharing your best information online.
1. Your competition already knows what you’re doing, and
2. People like leaders, not followers.”
That was August 19th 2008 by the way. He was ahead even then.
So here’s your homework
- Say Something
- Ask for Help
- Be useful
- Be Beautiful
- Create Conversation
- Huddle into groups
- Swim the other way
- Be Remarkable
- Be Searchable
- Be Specific
- Be Sticky
- Don’t Worry
And don’t forget.
We’re listening – we may even talk about you.
Then who knows what we might achieve together.
That’s really why people share online. Why don’t you join us?
Images: Creative commons. Featured: I Love to Share by Creative Commons HQ