Take the money or open the box

Image from Pixabay
Image from Pixabay


I’m regularly surprised by the extent of the connections we make. I was talking to someone at a gig my son was playing recently. They knew the band, knew who was who, what they played and other insights, all on the basis of Facebook and Twitter posts. It has become ubiquitous to use social media to push a message and social media tends to ebb and flow around the topics of the day. On some occasions the media itself becomes the topic, and on others it is a channel which helps to scale up a story or newsworthy incident.

I was thinking about social media as part of a recent #chat2lrn topic on Twitter.  The topic was about civility in the world and the workplace.  The chat ebbed to and fro as the best chats do as the group discussed what they perceived civility to be and I was reminded of the idea of Betaris Box. It’s nothing more than a simple circular diagram that shows how attitude and behaviour are linked.

Reading through some Twitter conversations recently, I think we forget how we can get sucked into this unconscious bias to take on certain attitudes. I think we forget sometimes is that this ebb and flow is being created and reflected by us as individuals. Take the recent news about James Foley for example. The infamous video is in the public domain and readily available if you want to search for it. There has been a concerted effort to stop the video being shared and I’ve not seen it linked by anyone in my timeline although I know it has been shared copiously on a number of platforms by people I know. The question is, what would be my reaction if someone I knew had sent me the link?

Using the Betari model, my attitude would be reflected in my behaviour; if I thought it was worthy of sharing, I’d re-send it on, etc. More of interest to me, in this instance, would be to query what the motivation would be behind the share from the other person. With something as horrific as the Foley incident, I’d query with the sharer directly – why would they think I’d be interested in it, what value were they attempting to create sharing such an infamous piece of content? With something like this it’s easy to query and question with a sharer but do we ever query why someone shares other content?

I review what I think is of interest to me on a daily basis and tweet about it regularly. I aggregate, sift and filter content which I find value in daily and send the content back out to the gracious network of people who follow and connect with me via Twitter, Linkedin and Yammer. Yet rarely do people ask me why I share particular content. Similarly, I assume a certain motivation behind the shares of others.

Is trust an inherent part of sharing content? Do we place additional value on content based on the history of sharing previously?  If so, is there an expectation and pressure to continually find ‘new’ and ‘exciting’ content?

I will be exploring these ideas on 10/11 September at Learning Live in London. If you’re coming to the event, the session I’m facilitating on the 50 Big Ideas will spend some time looking at the value we place on learning content. I’ll be trying to help you with, if not a big idea, at least a few small ones that you can take back to the workplace and maybe, in 8 weeks or so, help change your practice.

What do you think? Do the attitudes of others affect your curation and sharing activity? Please let me know via the comments.


5 thoughts on “Take the money or open the box

  1. Interesting blog, Andrew. As a relative novice to Twitter (late 2013), I follow people/orgs who are interested in the same subjects as me – primarily they are L&D/HR practitioners. Some of these people have a great following and share some great insights. At times, this same group share some random insights that, in my opinion, are not worthy of sharing. And yet, they get re-tweeted as if it’s some form of ‘Emperor’s New Clothing’! I have sometimes thought “Hmm, I wonder if I had tweeted that, whether it would have been shared?”. I suspect not. However, I wouldn’t dream of asking that person why they choose to share what they do as, in my opinion, it will clearly appeal to someone (hence retweets)! If the material they share was totally offensive, I would choose not to follow them. I have that choice and they have the choice to share the info they do – whether I find it interesting or not.


    1. Thanks Lily.

      I agree – at times I wonder why things get shared and wonder who would want to see it. Being able to access the Twitter analytics now could make a difference; if I know what people like to see, should I share more of that? There’s a danger that we create blinkers around what we pass about and the valid, interesting, relevant content loses out because it’s less ‘popular’.


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