You Do Not Have To Share Everything


One of the great fears of social is the idea that you have to share everything. Well, you don’t.

Also, people who do share everything are rare, and it might be a good idea for them to stop doing so.

You Do Not Have To Share Everything

Unable to Lie

In the movie “The Invention of Lying” Ricky Gervais’ character is a few minutes early to a date and Jennifer Garner’s character is triggered to say “Hi. You’re early. I was just masturbating”.

Well, that was a nice shocker and apparently she said it because she can’t lie. But, she was never asked what she was doing upstairs, she just volunteered this information for no reason. She chose to share it.

In my opinion this was as useless (and gratuitous) as the strip scene in Star Trek Into Darkness.

They did not have to share this with us, it did not add to the story. We would have enjoyed these movies just fine without it. Then again, it’s not worth writing numerous blogposts about the subject either.

For You Personally

The habit of sharing everything might be fun for some. And on the receiving end it might even be interesting to some. But it can be risky.

Your privacy is largely determined by how much you share on-line. And it’s not just embarrassing stuff you have to worry about.

Future employers can easily check you out on-line, and they do. And they do let what they find way into the decision to hire you or not.
And then there is real valuable information, like your credit card. Believe it or not, people actually post images of their new credit card on-line.

Anything you say can and will be used against you.

For Your Company

Reputation is a precious commodity. Whether it’s street cred for some kid, or the credibility of a bank, in some cases the loss of reputation can have unimaginable consequences.

A company needs to protect it’s reputation with vigour. Deciding what to share and what not can be crucial and sometimes the line is blurry at best.

When in doubt, do not share.

A basic rule is that any information you share must serve a need. It must benefit a customer or a partner, help them solve a problem. A band aid for a pain.

This does not mean you have to share all the knowledge your company has.

It does mean that you can truly help people, and that you can control the conversation about your company.

Yes, by actively participating on social you decide what people read, what the conversation is about.
If you are absent, people will discus your brand anyway, but on their terms, not yours.

Inside Your Company

The need for silos within a company may always exist. And that’s OK. There are always certain aspects, like personnel or legal information, that can’t be shared with all employees.
This is not a problem, because most of that information is not critical knowledge for the day to day work routine.

What you do need to share is exactly that knowledge that is needed, or can be needed, by employees (and managers) to progress their daily work.

The fact that person A knows some process very well can be very useful to person B, who might be just before or just after this link. Having access to the information about every link in the chain can help an employee change something within their link in order to improve the workflow of an employee in the next link.

If these two employees never talk, or never share information they’ll never know. It’ll be up to a manager who sees both links to come up with these solutions.
You’d need one heck of a talented and multitasking manager to see and know everything down all links and then improve on them.

It is much easier, and probably more effective, if employees can do this themselves.

Having policies in place to guide employees on the correct behaviour is a best practice.

Not Everything

So, no, you do not share everything, you really don’t have to.
Whether it’s personal, or corporate a lot comes down to common sense.

If you wouldn’t share it with somebody in person, or shout it out loud on a birthday or mention it in a meeting.., you probably don’t want to share it on-line.

Take 10 seconds and think before you hit the send button.

I shared over 1600 photos on Flickr. All personal. And I regret none of them.

A Completely Unshareable Social Event

In this day and age.., how can you create a website for a social event which is completely unshareable?

In Brussels we have an event.., the “Roller Bike Parade” (I don’t even want to link to it, but for the sake of the post I will).
It would seem to me that when organizing such an event you’d want to share the heck out of it.., and make it as easy as possible for anyone to do just that.

So, how come..,  in 2012.., when everybody is fully aware of Social Media a web design company claiming to be “building brand experiences” does not add any social sharing tools right off the bat? I do not know.

Now.., next to the fact there is an extremely annoying ‘puppet’ jumping around all the time and that the whole site is made in Flash there just is no social platform present on the whole page.., anywhere.

Now.., if you click one of the menu items there are some “articles” and those articles have a FB share button. But those are hardly share-able too.

Well.., no problem then.., I will just copy the main URL ( and share that on Facebook as a status update.., surely we get an image and some useful text to share…

Wrong again…

Instead of creating a post for the Roller Bike Parade the status only mentions and links directly to the makers of the website!

Now.., I’m sure somewhere in this mess there is some brand experience being build.., but I doubt if it is a positive one.

I don’t use Flash.., I used to.., in 1999, but no longer… However, I’m quite sure inserting social sharing into Flash must be possible.

Lesson learned: Make it share-able! You can create the most amazing content, but if it can’t be shared it is worthless.

Content is King.., sharing is Queen.