Sharing is a pretty complicated idea, and of all the major methods of blog promotion, one of the trickiest to manage. How people share, when they share, and what they like to have shared with them is both intensely personal, and increasingly communal.
Building a community around what we do is key to any ongoing human endeavour.
So as a blogger, you may want to ask yourself;
- What am I sharing when I write?
- What benefit can my audience get by passing these shared things on?
- How easy can I make it for my audience to identify what they can share?
And, once identified, how easy will it be for them to share what they now have?
Deceptively simple questions, aren’t they?
Thankfully, these days, it’s also deceptively simple to share just about anything you find on the net. From Twitter, to Facebook, to any of the many social bookmarking sites out there, the tools are available to let us pass on the things we want to.
How can we encourage this on our blogs? We can add buttons, widgets like ShareThis, to our posts to help people feel as though they have permission to share. We can include instructions, or requests in our writing. Any of the soft and hard asks are at our disposal.
How, as end users of the blogs we read, can we take advantage of the tools and begin sharing, even if blog authors don’t add these buttons or make these requests?
- Get toolbars like the one from StumbleUpon
- Add a Google Reader bookmarklet to our browser, or do the same with tools like bit.ly to share on the go
- We can write reactive posts on our own blogs, or
- We can make an offer to the blogger to write a guest post on our spaces.
We have many tools at our disposal to not only encourage people to share our work, but to share the works of those we find interesting. It’s important that we keep this exchange running in both directions. Blogging is becoming more of a self-sustaining community every day, and we need to make sure we’re in the camp that’s encouraging conversation. Not the camp that’s relying on being broadcast.
Broadcasting is a great tool. But it’s not a human action. We share, in both directions, because that’s the essence of community.
Image by kevindooley.