Resist the Urge to Be Stingy; Sharing is Good for Business

poeYeah, you’ve heard all about sharing on the web, and there is a good chance you have formed an opinion. Rather than talk in platitudes, Shane and I like to give real life examples. It’s the best way we know of to demonstrate web practices that can appear confusing, vague, or even irritating.

Within hours of coming home from the launch meeting of the Hawaii chapter of the Social Media Club, I got an email from Capsun Poe, one of the attendees. He was writing a blog post about it and wanted a copy of my slide deck, aka PowerPoint presentation.

Like many of you, perhaps, I had that initial twinge of, “No! I spent over 10 hours putting the concepts together, gathering the photos, refining the talking points, and integrating it all together to suit my voice. I delivered it in about 15 minutes, even though I usually like an hour for this talk, The Social Web is Changing “Everything.”

Quickly though, my social web brain kicked in, without me having to get kicked out there in public.

  1. I can put the deck on my account at SlideShare, for the whole world to see.
  2. I can set whatever sharing permissions I want to put on it. I chose to let anyone view it, embed it on their web site, add it to their favorites, and even leave comments. The only permission I did not allow was being able to download the original files.
  3. Capsun can then embed the deck in his blog and actually help me spread not only the word, but my expertise and our company brand as well. (We put our logo all over our digital web assets, precisely because we do want others to pass them around.
  4. I actually try to remember to do this with our presentations. Now I am grateful to Mr. Poe for the reminder, instead of being irritated by the request! He has also become a self-appointed evangelist for the Social Media Club – which is exactly what the club’s tag line is all about: “If you get it, share it.”

One of the hallmarks of the social web is sharing. All day every day people are answering questions, posting tutorials, telling friends about their favorite new restaurants, and yes, sometimes sharing files (think music) without paying for them. The old model of intellectual property meant that I own whatever I create and not only can’t you use it without permission, but I won’t share it unless you pay me.

You can see in this example how that mindset would have taken me and my ideas out of circulation immediately. And it would have discouraged Capsun from wanting to interact with me in the future. I would lose his access as well as that of his entire network. Today, it’s not just about the money. If you don’t share, you cut yourself off from growing your bottom line as well as your reputation.

Bonus Points
As it turns out, the people at SlideShare corporate liked my presentation, and featured it on their News and Politics section. This generated extra views and awareness for me. It’s one of those things you can’t buy into, and you can’t count on, but it only happens because I was there. If you don’t participate, you are out of circulation. These days, even if you wanted to buy your way in, on most places of high traffic and influence, you can’t. Not in the editorial pages that is. And isn’t that where you look for stuff of value? I don’t know anyone who looks at the ads on a web page first, or even second or third.

Here is the presentation, in case you are curious. (Or go view it on Capsun’s site and also read his well articulated commentary.) The SlideShare service builds this player automatically, and helps me promote myself, our company, and their services.