Seriously hard. We consume a huge amount of information daily. I see metrics like 10,000 to 100,000 words a day being consumed by each of us. Some of that will be subjective, some of it objective. Some of it will be fiction, some will be fact. Some? Who knows. Political propaganda with elements of truth. Some of it will incite emotion and some of it will aid in falling to sleep.
If you blog, do podcasts or write whitepapers for reasons not tied to your employment or cold hard cash income, have you ever asked yourself why you do it? What makes you want to share?
In a society where something is declared fake news because two parties don’t agree and freedom of speech is becoming one way, is it worth it?
Why do I share?
If I need or want to learn something, I’ll go wide in the hunt for knowledge. Thanks to the ‘tinterweb, information is readily available. So much information is out there that we have the problem of validating what we read. Blogs have been a massive help to me over the years, especially when you read aligning and agreeing articles. The validation of “someone else in the world has had this thought” is fantastic. It gives me hope. I share to share that feeling of hope and give back to the community from where I’ve learnt so much. I’m not saying my information is better or worse than other similar sources, I try to share underpinned snippets of knowledge to help someone else on their way.
Sharing is hard
We live in a globally distributed society and take it for granted. Even over this last twenty years, the change from small community to internet scale sharing is visible. So, if I want to share something, there must be an index in to that thing. Search engines are the index. Google without a shadow of the doubt is a great ingress source of traffic. This is quite simple. I don’t care about selling items and profiting, so don’t worry about SEO as much as I should. I follow the simplest of SEO rules like ensuring the meta data contains keywords, the title contains keywords and I provide meaningful links to other articles. SEO changes a lot and it’s not one of my strengths, however, even the simplest of rules affect how likely it is someone will find my article.
Knowing when to share is hard. Using Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin primarily as a sharing mechanism, means that readers find information on a timeline. If you miss your peak slot, they’re not going to find it. Synchronising posts to different mediums can be time consuming, especially knowing when to re-share. If you’re also like me and think “I don’t want to make people angry by oversharing”, then you need something else to remove the concern and automate it.
How to share
I’m faily old school in my approach. Whilst I could use static content generation like Jekyll, I don’t. I host my own installation of WordPress and maintain it. It’s slow, it’s cranky but it works and I’m too busy to rebuild it on another system. WordPress is easy to lay out in terms of side bars, widgets and menus. For the uninitiated, it is a simple web page / blogging platform based on PHP and a database like MySQL.
When it comes to writing documents, I write in Markdown, which makes life simple. I write on a simple text editor without any formatting (bold/italic etc) and use tags which deals with formatting and style. I also store the posts in Evernote which means I can access them and work on them anywhere.
Evernote to WordPress
Converting from Evernote to WordPress is something I currently do manually. I copy the text from Evernote and run it through a Markdown processor. This processor converts from Markdown to HTML and I paste HTML straight into another Evernote document. This document is posted in to WordPress (eventually).
If you’ve picked your sharing mediums and you’ve got your SEO sorted with your site registered with various search engines, then the final bit of the jigsaw puzzle is automating sharing. You could write a script to post to the various social sharing engines or a commercial paid for piece of marketing software. That depends on how much time you have available and how technically competent you are.
Should you be sharing?
This is a subjective question. If you are permitted to share something is a different question of whether you should share. I do not share information I know I shouldn’t. I’ll also not share some things because I know after looking for information, some things have been done to death already. If you’re trying to prove a point, you’re also doing it for the wrong reasons. Do it for the right reasons. Give some value back to the community that you’ve taken so much value from already.
Is it worth it? If one person leaves a message on the blog saying it helped, then yes.