Why the Simple Act of Sharing Pays Dividends

April 10, 2015

sharing

Social media makes it easy to share. We dash off breezy updates about our vacations, post photos of cocktails, share the latest Jimmy Kimmel “Mean Tweets” segment - almost without a second thought.

But when it comes to sharing professional content, people pause. Why is that?

Perhaps it’s because we all want to be seen as smart, as an expert in our field. We want to come across as being on top of our game. And we’re not quite sure whether the thing we’re about to share meets that bar.

Here’s my advice: get over it!

If you feel the comment, article, or post you’re about to create is an interesting and informative one, chances are highly likely your connections will too. Plus, sharing is good for you too - we know that sharing content a few times a week raises your profile views and connection requests.

Think about it like this:

Sharing invites conversation with people you care about. A quick update with a link to an article, video or LinkedIn post helps keep you top of mind. Like stopping by someone’s desk to say hello, it’s a light touch way to stay top of mind with your connections and to give them a sense of what you care about. It sparks tangential conversations too. Not so long ago, I got pinged by an old colleague who’d seen an article I shared. Did he want to chat about it? Not remotely. But it spurred him to reach out and ask for my thoughts and advice on his next play outside the company. It was great to reconnect with him and even better to be helpful.

Sharing helps others stay informed. When you share something valuable, others get value from it. You help your connections sift through the noise of millions of articles, to find the ones that will matter to them. For example, I loved this post on the forces that shape you as a Silicon Valley product manager. It’s still relevant for experienced product managers - but it’s especially salient for someone just starting out. If you see something and think, “I wish I’d known that when…”, share it.

Sharing shows you’re a ‘Smart Creative’. In How Google Works, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg outline the concept of “smart creatives” - which resonated with me. It’s the idea that it’s not enough to be the person who comes in and does the job by rote, mechanically finishing one task after the other. You have to be intellectually curious and ambitious to push on new ways of doing things, with the courage to pull it off. Think about a young Steve Jobs taking calligraphy and then applying those lessons in elegance and spacing to Mac typography. Maybe you’re an engineer who was inspired by a piece you read on Picasso’s technique. When you share something smart and engaging, particularly off the beaten path, it’s another way to let people know you have an intellectual pulse and the capacity to stretch.

This week, take a few moments each day to share something you’ve read and comment on someone else’s updates. See what goodness accrues.

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