Threshold for sharing

Chris Lovejoy

It is important to an establish a threshold for sharing content with others in life and on the internet.

There is a balance between oversharing things that aren’t interesting and sharing things that can be useful to others.

If someone says everything that comes into their mind, other people would get bored pretty quickly. If I verbalised every thought that entered my head, other people would get bored pretty quickly, somewhere between the twentieth time I told them “I’m hungry” and thinking about what I should do that evening. It’s necessary to filter the ideas in our head and only say things worth saying out loud.

Oversharing on the internet is also common. Growing up, I would see people sharing very personal things publicly on Facebook. Things that many would hesitate to tell anyone outside of their close circle yet here they were shared for the world to see.

The flip-side is being afraid to share something that would contribute to others. Many people have ideas for things they would love to say or do which don’t come to fruition. They may be scared of trying and failing. They may be scared of doing so publicly for fear of what others will say or think.

The decision to share is something I must make every time I write a post. Is this good enough to put against my name in the public domain? Or is it better off filed away in a recess of my computer’s memory?

In the past, I didn’t post much due to fear of what others would think. To overcome this, I went through a period of forcing myself to share my writing whether it was good or not.

My perfectionist tendencies led me to want my articles to be my final say on any subject. One approach I adopted was thinking of my published articles as just a first draft. This served me well as it helped me to post more regularly.

This anxiety has now largely subsided. However, part of me still has the mentality of sharing as much as I can. Looking through some of the things I have posted on my blog in the last few months, I have to ask myself whether I am trying to share too much.

The motivations to share can be many. It feels productive to be sharing articles. When I look at my blog and see that I’ve shared 7 articles the last two months straight, it feels like I must be doing well. If I feel I haven’t achieved much in any given day, I will often write a quick article in 10-15 minutes and feel like at least I’ve achieved something.

However, the number of articles shared is a poor metric as it doesn’t take into account the quality of the articles.

I have started sharing more articles which I have written in <10 minutes, haven’t bothered to proofread and occasionally look back and realise I didn’t finish the article yet shared it anyway. This leads me to ask myself whether I’m taking this ‘first draft’ principle too far.

It’s important to write a lot and ‘always be shipping’ (in the words of Seth Godin), however it’s also important to value the time of the people reading your article. If you don’t put effort into an article then you are wasting the reader’s time.

I will continue to search for this balance. However, one better metric jumps to mind which could act as a filter when deciding whether to share an article:

Is this adding value?