Our Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin streams are cluttered with updates. Many of these updates are irrelevant and come from a few hyperactive individuals. Some of the updates are interesting, relevant, and timely. What you share online says a lot about you.
The people that share too much irrelevant information (think forwarded emails about politics, jokes, scams, etc) and then there is a second group that also share frequently but improve their reputation because of the quality of what they share. Today on Twitter a number of people shared Steve Rubel’s comment that “people who can separate quality from junk as curators will be gold.” For anyone that spends a significant amount of time online, you highly value those people that regularly share great content.
The majority of the information shared comes from a group of people I refer to as “The Collectors.” Being a Collector is neither good nor bad, it really depends on your skills as a collector and the relevance to your industry. It you want to become a collector all it takes is an interest in your subject and effort in terms of research and searching out quality. If you are a collector of information that is willing to share online, you get increased exposure, improve your reputation, and brand yourself as someone that understands the industry. Â You become a trusted source of great content (even if you don’t create any of this content yourself.) If you want to build a reputation as someone that really understand trends in environmental law for example, you can find and share the best articles written by others on this topic. The quality of your collection demonstrates your expertise and understanding of the industry.
It is important to note that the vast majority of the users of social media don’t share anything. Â They lurk, they comment occasionally and they are for the most part passive participants, which is ok if you aren’t looking to build relationships. Many lawyers choose to lurk even though they are natural collectors, reading the daily news, Lexis and Westlaw daily reports, and scanning competitor firm websites for new insights. They don’t realize that this behavior is highly valued online.
These lawyers need to open their eyes to the value of their collection. They need to start sharing their collection online. Sharing is simple, and it’s getting easier all the time. We have all emailed an article to a valued contact, now we can take one additional step and paste that same link into Tweetdeck and share it instantly over Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and a number of other social networking sites. This one extra step can make a big difference.
We are used to PUSHING out our content to people that we believe are interested in what have to share, now by publishing the content online through social networking sites, we can also start to PULL in interested parties. We don’t have to find them, they will find us. . . if the quality of the content is there.