Once upon a time reading the Sunday newspaper was an event. Families shared various sections. Dad got the sports or business pages. Mom got the Lifestyle section and the ads. The kids argued over the funnies. Everyone glanced at the front page headlines, at least the ones above the fold before church. And they discussed what they read.
Not much, really. And everything.
With the advent and explosion of the internet, the newspaper got bigger. You don’t have to wait for it to be delivered, either, It’s there when you turn on your computer, tablet or even your phone.
If getting the news got easier, sharing it has become infinitely more complicated. You can’t just hand a section to someone in the next booth at a restaurant. Forget reading over someone’s shoulder. The screens on most cell phones are hard enough for one person to read at a time. And instead of one or two sources, there are now millions. Maybe more. We may not even be consuming the same news!
Sharing has become something of the holy grail of news and by extension, blogging. We talk about things going viral, trending or being a hot topic. But how and why it happens is often a mystery.
It’s a mystery because most of us don’t share with purpose, if we share at all.
We don’t often listen with purpose, either.
Fortunately, adding purpose to your sharing and your listening isn’t difficult.
As bloggers we create news. We share that news, whether it is personal, professional or something in between, by sharing links to our writings, photographs, videos or whatever on the social networks we belong to. Often this is an automatic function the blogging platform we use provides. Not only don’t we have to take any action once the feature is set up, there are times we don’t even know when it’s happened unless something went very wrong (and we get complaints) or very right (and the number of hits and shares skyrockets).
We don’t create news in a vacuum. Whether it’s the spark of an idea we find in a book, an event taking place somewhere in the world or just something that caught our eye on Twitter or Facebook or in an email, there is something that spurs us to create. Until recently, we rarely shared or cited that source.
Now, we reblog, retweet, +1, like or share things like crazy.
But are we taking that inspiration and running with it? Are we adding anything or is the newspaper just passing through our hands?
If we aren’t adding anything, if we aren’t following our inspiration to see where it leads us, we aren’t doing our jobs. We are creating news in a vacuum then throwing it against the social media wall to see what sticks. Then we wonder why so little does stick. Maybe it doesn’t stick because we didn’t put it in context or give anyone, including ourselves a reason to care.
Remember that Sunday paper? Remember showing Dad this week’s Peanuts comic strip and hearing him laugh? Remember Mom talking about a recipe she might try that week and getting funny faces when it sounded too weird? Remember listening to your parents talk about neighbors getting married or community meetings or the new park or sheriff? Remember where you were when…?
It’s Sunday. What’s in your newspaper?