What is Sharing Online? 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. Some of these platforms are illustrated in the Conversation Prism by Brian Solis and JESS3.
But why do people do this?
1. Because You Have Something To Say
Firstly because they have something to say. According to Technorati the blog search engine there are over 120,000 blogs around the world, regularly updated with things we just must share. Here is just one example of the excellent Brian Green offering his usual cutting remarks on construction economics on his blog, Brickonomics. A must read for the construction industry.
2. Because You Have a Problem.
Then of course people share their problems. It is much easier to find things if you can ask questions of your network. For example is a friend of mine film maker Neil Fairbrother asked on twitter about CO2 emissions from wind turbines, we had a conversation on Twitter and Linkedin as I put him in touch with a couple of people who could help him.
3. Be Useful to Your Own Advantage Too
People share to be useful, but they also have other motives. The premium sanitaryware manufacturer Grohe tackles a bottleneck in their sales funnel by targeting installers direct with their ‘active’ site to show not only that installing their products doesn’t have to be difficult, but also that learning how to do it can give you a competitive advantage.
4. To Be Beautiful
Or for the other side of the William Morris quotation,
Have nothing in your houses which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
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’s given me permission to share with you here) is one of 100s on his website. The painting will be exhibited in Maine in August.
5. To Make Productive Conversations
Why do we share this stuff? 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 Together with People You Agree With
Some people like to find people who agree with them and collectivise to take action. Here’s a campaign aiming to get construction people to lobby their MP about how every £1 invested in construction produces £2.84 of GDP. Together we can make a bigger noise!
7. To Swim the Other Way
But some people actively collect the mavericks. Every day TED publishes a short talk by a thought leader – like John Kasonaa 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. To 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. Because People are Searching for Us
Before the internet, being remarkable didn’t always work – you might just have found yourself yelling in a bucket. But now we have Googlewhack. The more obscure your remarkability is, the better. It just makes it easier for people who are looking to find you via google. Want to know what a GoogleWhack is? Check the definition here.
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. The Mass Market no longer lords it over the Niche Market. We might be in ‘The Long Tail’ but now we can be found by whoever is interested.
10 So Be Specific
So be Specific about what you have to share. My company, a firm of business minded architects, recently rebuilt the services section of our website to speak directly to the people we can help most with their concerns about buildings and property [in London, Essex and Suffolk, for example]. We are the best architects (at what we do) and you can be the best too, online 24/7.
11 To Be Sticky and Get Stickier
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.
12 Because People Will 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. 38,000 fans on facebook for a blender company? Now that’s sticky.
13 Because it is Pull Marketing
You don’t have to sell blenders to identify what makes you remarkable. The new BlackPool regeneration agency just set up a photoblog to share images of Blackpool as it is now, rather than as how many of us remember it.
To quote from the Seth Godin’s book ‘All Marketers are Liars’;
There are only two things that separate success from failure in most organisations today:
1. Invent stuff worth talking about, and
2. Tell Stories about what you’ve invented
14 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. Your competitino already knows what you’re doing, and People like leaders, not followers.
That was August 19th 2008 by the way. He was ahead even then.
So there’s your homework:
Say something, something you care about.
Ask for help because a problem shared with 13,000 people is…
Be useful and be beautiful too. You can always get a designer to help you with both.
Create Conversation, be part of the conversation, either with people you agree with, or people you don’t
Either way, remember to be remarkable, then you’ll be searchable. And if you’re specific about what you have to say then you’ll be much stickier online and off.
And don’t worry, because we’re listening, and if we like what we’re saying we’ll share it too.