It seems to me that in a hyper-connected social world, where everything is transparent, that you are what you share. Success used to be based largely on who you know. As important, if not more so, is the influence and network of who you know and your interactions with that social graph. In a business context, those interactions are elevated by informing others and facilitating discourse.
Let me be more clear. Personal brands have always been built by your associations — clubs, universities, trade groups and colleagues. Now it’s your Linked In Groups, FourSquare badges and who links to your blog. These associations of course extend to content. Associating yourself with great, insightful content by virtue of sharing it with your network means you are broadcasting – or targeting on a selective basis – your intended association. If I read a fascinating article about biometrics or brilliant study on astrophysics and then share it, then that says something about me. It says I read this stuff; I’m in the know. (Of course this is not actually the case for me: I know nothing about astrophysics!) But this is why the sharing of content will continue to transform the way B2B marketing is done: because marketers no longer own the conversation. They can inform, help and inspire the conversation by providing great content. And now there’s a growing ecosystem of content providers from which to draw (beyond traditional publishers). Junta42.com is a great example.
That said, I believe that soon we’ll reach a point – and we may be at it now – of over-sharing. People will begin to feel left behind if they don’t tweet or hoot with whatever the next platform of the day is. They’ll begin to be afraid of being isolated. Quantity of sharing is increasing exponentially and quality of the information shared will eventually go down as a result. And then people will evolve to have built in sensors to almost automatically detect the relevance of messages shared to them. These tools will be algorithmically driven technology apps and/or a sixth human sense that evolves organically and intuitively. And the cream, like always, will rise to the top. And in the end so will those who share great content.