Sharing has ceased to be an endorsement of the quality of content. Social media has created the expectation that we share content, and in the drive to meet the content demands social media places on us, our content standards are falling.
Here are signs that sharing content may have become more important to you than the content itself:
- You have started reading in order to find content to share, not because you want to spend time reading content.
- When you find content you REALLY like, you have to share it differently, emphatically stating how great it is to differentiate it from the only OK content you shared before. (ie “LOVE this post! …” or “+100 RT …”)
If so, it is time to stop listening to the social media experts, the ones that gave you the idea you need to share 4, 8 or 15 pieces of content in the first place. As Jessica Northey wrote recently, Don’t Should On Yourself and instead, find what works for you.
The rules are at best guidelines, and nobody is requiring you to share mediocre content. In fact, you probably aren’t required to share content at all.
Here are steps I plan to take to bring my content standards back up in the coming weeks, I hope you will join me:
1. Forget the Rules
Do not hold yourself to sharing a certain amount of content. When you set a numerical goal, you create an incentive to share content that would otherwise be below your standards.
2. Say Why
Why are you sharing this content in the first place? Is it because you agree? Is it because it is great writing or photography? Don’t just share it, say why it is worth sharing. Sharing is acting as a content filter for your connections, and your reason for sharing is a critical component of the filter.
If you don’t have a reason to share it, STOP.
3. Who Would You Mail it to?
Remember when you shared content using the postal service? We carefully selected what we sent and who we sent it to. Is what you are sharing worth tearing out and mailing to someone with a note saying why you think they should read it?
If it is not worth mailing to at least one person, STOP.
If all you need to do is forget the rules, raising your standards will be easy. But if your standards have been lowered by social media sharing (like mine have been), raising your standards will take time.
Has social media lowered your content standards? If so, will you bring your standards back up, or is the quantity you share more important than the quality for your objectives? Share your answers in the comments below or with me on Twitter.