I share because I care!

Sometimes I feel I’m surrounded by rabbits-in-wonderland, running around feeling overwhelmed all the time. Sometimes I am that rabbit, but that’s another story. Those rushing rabbits are bewildered how other people find time to share stuff. Sometimes I am the one wondering how come they are not sharing more.

But then, it makes sense: while everyone philosophically understands the benefits of sharing information, they may not understand what it brings practically, and so changing their sharing habits is all the more difficult.

Sharing is caring to feed others in various ways (Credits - FromSandToGlass)
Sharing is caring to feed others in various ways (Credits – FromSandToGlass)

Sharing is like thinking about gender issues: it is – or rather should be – not (just) for the specialists, it’s a cross-cutting, permanent attention and motivation. And there must be ways to trigger that kind of ‘behaviour mode’ based on practical benefits and reasons…

So why do I share information really? In no particular order… 

  • First of all, although it might feel intimidating to share thoughts or resources and bother other people with it, I have long ago realised that the advantages of sharing far outweigh those of hoarding (except perhaps by email to avoid invading others’ inboxes)… So in first instance I share because I dare. But then also…
  • Because when I find something interesting and share it, I love to see the reaction from other people – do they find this as interesting as I do? If so, what exactly about it? If not, why not? I care for understanding peoples’ curiosity.
  • Because if I find something thought-provoking, smile-inducing, heart-turning, others might experience these beautiful moments just as much or even more… and it genuinely feels good to see/hear someone going through such an epiphany of sorts. I find it important to be carried by your passions (whether intellectual or emotional) and I care for my kin to be seized by passion…
  • Because when I share something specific with someone specific, I hope it helps them in their own life quest and they will appreciate the nudge of help, as much as I appreciate it. In a ‘pay-it-forward‘ kind of way. I care to help people – perhaps with the vague promise that if I’m in trouble they might help me too?
  • Because by consistently sharing information, whether I like to admit or not, deeper down, I hope people will also recognise the quality of the stuff I share and look at me as a trusted source of that information. I guess I care for my name too (knowledge egology again?)
  • Because in the networked (and networkshopped) world, sharing equates extending conversation threads to form connected nets with other people, and reaching out to different people, expanding one’s personal learning network and conversation arena.
  • Because I have a terrible memory so if I share instantly I might remember that information better. If I share it on information repositories it will stick there and I can always find it again. I care for my memory.
  • Because we tend to work in silo’ed groups of interest and conversation spaces and sharing across these silos builds useful bridges toward universal sense-making. I care for our collective capacity to unravel the mysteries of our world. I care for learning and improvement.
  • Because of all the above-mentioned reasons, sharing has actually become a second nature and it isn’t taxing in the least. And really, at the end of it all, the most important of all the above is the deep satisfaction it procures to help and make people happy… It sounds corny but I think everyone experiences this in different ways and knows this to be true.

In other words…

I share because I care!

What are you waiting for?

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Published by Ewen Le Borgne

Collaboration and change process optimist motivated by ‘Fun, focus and feedback’. Nearly 20 years of experience in group facilitation and collaboration, learning and Knowledge Management, communication, innovation and change in development cooperation. Be the change you want to see, help others be their own version of the same.

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  1. Thank you Arthur for sharing these very interesting views.
    And I agree on the fact that there are also these long term relationship benefits from sharing, even though as you say it’s not planned or expected.

    I do think that the social economy has really focused on sharing a lot more and it’s not just a bit of ‘if it helps me, all the better’. I think there’s a lot of self-centred sharing going on, but hey if the positive outcome of that is that more people also get to see great resources, conversations, ideas, why not then. Eventually, we all have our coping mechanisms (as simple as voting with our feet) when we come across people with a different balance on the ego-everyone scale…

    What is perhaps interesting in that ‘knowledge ego-logy’ is that some people who might have been motivated to share, initially for their own profit, might be ‘stung by the sharing virus’ and really get into the habit of sharing for other’s help and happiness… So all in all again whatever the motivations, sharing usually ends up with a positive result.

    Thank you both very much for your kind comments and stimulating reflections!

  2. Ewen and Nancy,
    I find that the more I share the more effective I become…
    … because… helping others generates a trusting relationship that is (usually) mutually beneficial in many ways, such as I often get good advice/support back. This is not WHY I share, but is a useful outcome from sharing. Time invested in sharing does generate ROI in the longer term as it makes us more effective and provides access to a wider diversity of ideas and perspectives. When you don’t share is when you know people are deliberately leveraging your community spirit for their own personal gain ALONE, rather than paying it forward OR when people are likely to use your provided information and insights inappropriately or even misuse/abuse it.
    Regarding Nancy’s question, people vary in their social motivations. For genuine sharers, the real motivation is seeing others achieve positive outcomes from your help (also applies to teaching and learning contexts). For “commercial sharers” it is more about social climbing and self promotion. This is not a dichotomy, is it a sliding scale. It gets down to expectation and balance of the two. If sharing to help others (as the emphasis) generates a bit of self benefit, this is OK and we are glad to see that if it happens. However, if one was disappointed when there is no immediate commercial benefit (with emphasis on “why else would I share that?”), then I would not consider this a positive approach. To some degree it how we learned our values and what we have experienced (and who our role models are). No right or wrong – just what we are comfortable with personally from our perspective.

  3. Ha! And btw I don’t want to make this sound like I get it right all the time and others around me never. But lots of people in my immediate environment quickly feel overwhelmed and don’t see the time or point of sharing.
    But your question is to the point… and perhaps I’m just not realising that everyone around me just has A LOT more work than me? If not, I reckon that:
    – Everyone feels the joy of sharing – especially when acknowledged by the people who benefited from that sharing – so it’s mostly not a case of people not enjoying sharing.
    – So it boils down to not finding the time, or not finding enough incentive.
    – If a question of time, it might be that a) they’re indeed really too busy, in which case they might have a planning problem (and saying no to too much work if at all possible)
    – If a question of not enough incentive, I reckon it’s to do with not having fine-tuned their personal learning network and thus not finding it easy to share. e.g. on emails one thinks twice before sharing (because of that problem of overwhelming others’ inbox). Yes, I think that might be one of the main points of not seeing good enough reasons for sharing: you don’t benefit from it regularly and it’s an extra hurdle (invading email inboxes of spending time developing & fine-tuning one’s PLN) to share stuff…

    And I do think that my work as ‘knowledge sharing & communication specialist’ naturally puts me in a position to share knowledge and information more readily. In addition, according to team roles I am a natural resource investigator so it’s in my nature as well as in my function.

    What are the cases when you don’t share information and what have you heard from people around that prevents them from sharing?

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