….because sometimes they do matter.
I’ve been fascinated by what people share, when they share it and how they share it for some time now. And for even longer, I’ve been thinking about why we share what we share. [Those of you who’re interested may want to read some of my earlier posts. Why We Share: A sideways look at privacy and Musing About Sharing And Privacy are two that come immediately to mind.
Take this post. The trigger for my writing it was StumbleUpon (I’m a fan!), who wrote to me saying they thought I’d like a particular set of sites. One of which I loved. Because it contained illustrations like the two below:
You guessed it. Someone has spent time taking the world map and reassembling it in order to depict the twelve signs of the Chinese Zodiac. He’s a graphic artist called Kentaro Nagai, you can see the entire work, entitled Twelve Animals: Piece Together for Peace, here.
I loved it. And thought I should share it with you. Because somewhere out there there may be one person whose day becomes brighter by reading this. Because somewhere out there there may be one person inspired to do something about something as a result.
That’s what matters. We’re human beings, social animals who look to each other for friendship, support, camaraderie, motivation, inspiration, whatever.
When I started writing blogs I had some very deep-seated views about what I shared, when and why. When I started on Facebook I had some similarly deep-seated views about the whys and wherefores. By the time I started using Twitter around five years ago, I’d figured out how little I knew about all this, my views were no longer as well-formed or as deep-seated as when I began.
Take Twitter. When I started tweeting, I said to myself “Share only when you have a clear idea how it would be valuable to someone. Even if occasionally that someone is you.” As I learnt more about the phenomenon, those views changed.
Now, I tell myself, “Share as long as you know it will not cause someone else harm”. It was arrogant of me to presume I would know how something would be valuable to someone else, and to filter everything else out. I realised that the “do no harm” filter was a better one to use. Is it perfect? Certainly not. I rely on your feedback to tell me when I do harm. I will make mistakes. But this way it is more likely that through the organic process of people reading posts like this one, someone somewhere who needed to read this gets to read this.
Life is about abundances and scarcities. For most of my life I’ve seen stuff like bad news and negativity and criticism and cynicism regularly in abundance, and things like good news and encouragement and building people up and saying well done and smiling and making someone happy, all in scarcity.
For some reason, it appeared that what we term as mainstream media tended to focus on the negative, apparently because it “sells”. I can never figure out why. Time we inverted that. And maybe it’s happening.
I find social media in general much more upbeat, more focused on the positive, more willing to thank, to encourage, to support, to enthuse, to motivate. I don’t have a rose-coloured spectacle view of the web, about social networks or about social media: I am acutely aware of how dark a place it can be, how evil cyberbullying can be, how truth can be twisted, how people can subvert the web to nefarious purpose.
But still, overall, I find the web to be an uplifting place where people can and do support each other. It’s something they put in the water. And it’s one of the reasons I share what I share.
Why do you share what you share? Let me know, I’m interested. Fascinated.