Sharing stuff

I won’t be the first to remark on the polarisation of the business community between those who see the internet as a threat to their intellectual property (grounded) and those who regard collaboration as a means of creating a better world for all (utopian)

Nor would it surprise you that I place myself at the latter pole along with a group of social media mavens and people like Alan Pickering who don’t use social media but just think that sharing good ideas is …well a good idea.

The argument for openness take s a long view and is wound up in such concepts as “goodwill”. I can try to price my worth using various tools on the web but the reality is that I probably have negative worth in terms of short-term employability as a result of my “sharing stuff”.

The long-term play is that ultimately those who take the plunge and swim in the social media pool will be judged on the quality (and to a lesser extent the quantity) of their contribution. One tool uses as its three metrics of social media value the quantity of stuff shared, the number with whom its shared and the influence the stuff has.

If Thomas Gray had written his elegy in a country churchyard today he might have done so on his IPAD

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway’d,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne’er unroll;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

For the challenge of the internet to society is that it unleashes the possibility of a pure meritocracy where the “crowd” rewards that flower that might blush unseen.

Business leaders who try to repress the natural instincts of their staff to share do so at their own peril. That youngsters want to post stuff they value on youtube or Facebook or blog or tweet or enter talent competitions  demonstrates a belief in their own value which needs to be encouraged.

We might have to let the odd person down gently when they make a fool of themselves (probably the most interesting part of the X-factor auditions) and we certainly need to watch what we post (and what we let others post on us). Try googling a few friends with unusual names on “image” to see what I mean! There is a language and there are protocols that need to be observed, understood and followed.

Ultimately we are sharing ourselves. Celebrating the freedom we have to advertise our worth around the web. But advertising the achievements, knowledge, possessions of others as our own is a kind of theft.

Those who regard the internet as an infringement of their right not to share (either of themselves or their property – intellectual or otherwise) are right to protest when the mavens open their bedroom doors (not literally).

We are learning the rules and those of us pushing at the boundaries are likely to break a few. When we do, we need to step back, reconsider and if necessary change our behaviours – oh and unreservedly apologise.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to Sharing stuff

  1. Thanks for responding to “just alittle note I read not my own”.

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