Sharing is Good. Speaking is Better.

Those of you who chose to connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Facebook know that, for the most part, I’ve maintained a pretty low profile over the last four years.  That doesn’t mean that I haven’t checked in or that I don’t notice your posts.  It just means that I’ve been watching, observing, and even studying what the vast majority of us do on all social media platforms.

We “share” a lot.  Perhaps we share too much.

When I was in college, I had an English Literature professor who challenged us on a weekly basis to “read critically” and be prepared to come to class to discuss what we thought about the work.  Many, if not all of us, read the work and boned up mightily on the body of critical thought available on the work.  When we came to class, we were all very good at citing references, cross-referencing them, even assessing the merits of each critic.  I remember the professor listening to us go on and on and before he would bang the book down on his desk and bring the class to stunned silence.  Then, looking at us over his round frame glasses (this was after all the early 1970s), he would nearly shout, “Ah, but what do YOU think?”

Ah, yes.  What do we think?  That’s been the question following each of us since we first started on this journey — and long before the Age of Social ever became a Social Phenomenon.  But the Age of Social has really put a new, more powerful urgency on the importance of finding our individual voices.  We all have one, but so many of us are afraid to use it.  We don’t have enough confidence in the rightness of our own ideas.  We prefer to half present a voice in the guise of “liking” something or “sharing” something that someone else has said. 

It seems to me that if the Age of Social is ever going to become truly meaningful and absolutely transformative, the individuals who are a part of it have to find the courage to speak with their own voice about issues that matter the most to them. 

It doesn’t mean that you still can’t “share.”  It just means that more people might “share” what you have to say.