June 29, 2011

Forming vs. Informing

In today’s social economy, people have the ability to receive all the information they could want.  Better yet, they rarely have to search for it.   You see, social media is streaming real-time information in masses, directly to the public.  However, what does this mean for your social influence?  Let’s say that you’re browsing the web and you run across a very interesting article on a topic that is highly related to your industry or topic of interest.  What’s the first thing you do?  The majority probably hits the share button and selects Twitter or Facebook and it sends out the standard content to your friends and followers.  But think about this…does Twitter or Facebook really need additional news?  Facebook is large enough to be the world’s 3rd largest country, and Twitter is pumping out thousands of tweets per second.  How many more standardized messages really need to fly out into the social media fire hose?

Now, I know I’m being hypocritical; I admit I hit the “share” button quite often without thinking.  However, it’s time to start forming an opinion instead of simply informing society.  In other words, what does that article say to you, your industry, or your friends/followers?

For example, let’s say you stumble across this article:

Is this article “share-worthy”?  Well, assuming that your audience is interested in social media, the chances are that this is very “share-worthy.”  However, you will have a much more engaged audience if you share your opinion in addition to the article.  For this blog post: what does engagement mean to you? Does this author offer valuable insights? How can you apply this information?  All of these are great topics to discuss (even if you only have 140 characters).

Once you have formed your opinion…SHARE IT!  Remember, people are following you because they want your opinion on a topic.  If they simply want the news, there are other people they can follow.  Finding information, forming an opinion, and sharing that opinion are three great steps to begin engaging a community through social media.

Feel free to share and form opinions with me on Twitter and LinkedIn: