There’s a whole lot of information out there – so much that it’s almost the same as having no information. I’m acclimated to this. It’s part of the reason the Information Diet appeals to me, despite the way it teems with the very confirmation bias it rails against.
This is also why I’m quick to share hard-to-find information with friends, colleagues, and strangers without charging them for it. I’m adept enough at social media. I often have a lead on stuff before it’s a trend. I’m also a crack researcher – I can find things most people forgot ever existed, in part because I’m a huge fan of libraries.
What I’m talking about isn’t file sharing or other copyright/trademark frowny face ack controversy! practices. What I’m talking about is the simple act of making life easier for ourselves by making life easier for others. Simple things, like:
- You can have books delivered to your local library branch. (True for Minneapolis.)
- I know of this great new venue, and I heard you wanted to do a public performance.
Not every tidbit of knowledge you have will be relevant to every situation. But if you’re interested in genuine relationships that build over years, you can’t keep these small gems that close to your chest. It’s part of why I get weirded out when people get weirded out when I offer something useful. I realize it’s partly a Minnesota culture thing, but it’s also a bit of xenophobic thinking to react badly. I have nothing to gain or lose if you figure out how to schedule social media updates so that you can go mow your lawn. I have nothing to gain or lose whether you find a place for your show or not. For me, it’s just about sharing the best ways to make use of resources already available.
Sometimes what gets shared isn’t relevant, or just as often, the person with whom it was shared doesn’t understand the relevance because of the mystery of the learning curve. There are people who will never have any reason whatsoever to use social media. There are other people who just don’t feel comfortable admitting they’re scared by it. And that awesome ice cream joint you found is great news – you can’t know that you’re talking to someone with a violent dairy allergy.
This isn’t about being a blowhard and showing what you know. It’s about really listening to the other person – and then offering something of value, based on what you just learned about that person.
It’s why my marketing resources and plans aren’t secret. If something gets stolen, I’ll cuss for a while – but then I’ll just find a way to be more awesome. That’s just the way it works for me.