Not sharing means not caring in the digital world

Posted: September 11th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: blogging, social networks, tools, web | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Had a read of Chris Brogan’s excellent post about how business’ need to start sharing or they are going to be in trouble.

He’s right, everything needs to be accessible and the old barriers within business’ need to disappear or it will be the business’ themselves who disappear. The very nature of the web is to share, I’m writing this blog post now and I’m sharing something with you. Someone tags this in delicious and shares it with their network, someone else emails it to a friend. It’s easy to share online.

That’s why it’s important that organisations, even the smaller ones like I work for, get their house in order and get everyone sharing. The flow of information around an organisation is almost as important as the flow of information from the organisation. I work for an organisation, a Students’ Union, who are a very sharing and caring kind of organisation, but there has to be a putting aside of old issues and a realisation that if the organisation is to move forward then information, best practice and most importantly ideas are not discussed behind closed doors but are passed around to be added to, taken away and made better.

While people hide behind job titles, department names and bottom lines then nothing will move forward. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you’re not sharing with your colleagues ideas then things won’t happen. For public organisations there are definitely loads of ideas floating around about how to make things better, how to improve what’s already there – I’ve had many of them while developing the Union’s new website – but they never go anywhere other than into a pad to be thought about next year. What if that pad was online? You scribble a note, and everyone can see it an contribute. The staff intranet shouldn’t be a boring list of when the next fire inspection is, it should be a buzzing community of everyone having their say about the next big idea.

And if there’s not enough people to fulfil all the ideas, as inevitably with public organisations there aren’t, then share them with others. You’re not in competition, you’re all working towards a common goal. As Chris Brogan says:

Sharing is a new business tool. And it’s not really obvious. You have to think about the ways you can share, the ways you can’t. You have to weigh whether you’re giving away the best part, or if there’s plenty to go around (so often, the answer is B).

So there we go, how is this sharing going to happen? If the people at the top see the possibilities that social media can have the opportunities for innovation that are bubbling underneath them.

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