The Best Way to Increase the Perceived Value of Your Online Identity

Post more original content than links to other people’s content.

I see a lot of people on Twitter and in blog posts sharing dozens of links a day to other people’s content. Some of it is even good! However, if your goal is to enhance your own perceived value online, you’ll get a better return from posting your own ideas.

Good content from you (in blogs, LinkedIn answers, tweets, etc.) will draw people to you over the long term. This is much higher value traffic than what you get by sharing links because they are coming to see what you have to say about something.

A sure sign that you are posting too many links? You label some of them as “Must Read.” If you do that, why are you sharing the others?

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6 thoughts on “The Best Way to Increase the Perceived Value of Your Online Identity

  1. Hi David, clearly I am one of those people you’re referring to and on this one let’s agree to disagree. I consider part of my job to be a content curator and I post a lot of links to interesting stuff I read. Not everyone who follows me is an association person and some of it will only interest some people. I would never expect everyone to read everything I post – that’s not what Twitter’s about!

    So for me marking something as “must read” means, one the one hand, that my association community (specifically) is more likely to pay attention to that one particular link which is “must read” because it really pertains to them and could be helpful to them. And on the other hand, because I read lots of stuff while on the go, it enables me to find those articles again later and star them as favorites when I’m back in front of my computer so I can find them later. I feed my favorites into my reader, so I can look easily back at the things I thought would be “must read” and then potentially expand on those ideas in my own blog posts.

    People who only want to see my own content just subscribe to my blog, and can even subscribe to @SocialFishFood if they want a tweetstream of only blog posts. I have myself followed and unfollowed plenty of bloggers on Twitter based on how their Twitter stream was valuable to me beyond their blogs (which I remain subscribed to).

    I’d actually disagree entirely with regards to Twitter specifically that sharing your own stuff provides higher value traffic. (I don’t think you’re actually saying this, but just making the point). Twitter etiquette requests a 90/10 split where only 10% of your tweets should be about your own stuff.

    I also think that content curation is something that associations in general should be doing much more consciously and much more generatively and widely. They may not be used to sharing “other organizations’ content” but if they do it well it WILL drive higher value traffic and potentially new members to their sites.

  2. Maddie, nice job setting up some straw men with which to vehemently disagree!

    The premise of my post is that posting your own content (anywhere, not just on Twitter) has longer term value for your personal and organizational identity online. Link sharing is ephemeral: it ages poorly and is easily replaced by the multitude of others doing the same.

    I’m not against link sharing, as you point out. What I am saying is that using more of your time to post your own content will have a better return in the long run if your goal is to increase your perceived value online.

  3. I happen to agree with Maddie. I have no idea who you are, this is the first time I’ve ever seen your name or your blog. I follow Maddie on Twitter precisely because her filtering and aggregating of all kinds of content has value for me. I would say the majority of people I consider valuable sources of information on Twitter are not pushing out their own content, but finding what they think is of value to their network. That expansive networked knowledge base base brings me information from very reliable and credible sources all over the world that in turn has value for my network.

    Just my two cents worth.

  4. I see your point, David, and agree that original content goes further to establishing your online identity. I also like your list of LinkedIn answers, an often overlooked piece of online content.

    However, I do feel there is value in sharing links to other people’s content.

    I, for one, love the info I find via links on Twitter.

    I don’t think you intended for your post to be anti-link sharing, but to just suggest that people focus first on creating their own valuable content. I agree, as long as we’re not discrediting the value provided by those who link to content that is not their own.

  5. David, I get what you are saying but what Maddie is saying is also very important. (Incidentally I also found this post via a link from Maddie on Twitter). I hate to use the term rules in reference to SM but if you are mostly posting your own information you’re missing the point of SM and following the traditional media model of pushing information at people.

    I first develop favorites of people I follow because they constantly provide great information I would normally not have found. Because they are now in my eyes a great resource I pay much more attention to what they write. In essence I trust who they trust and because they have not let me down in the past I trust them even more.

  6. @csread (no name?): You’re here now! Welcome.

    @Nick: As I’ve stated several times now, I have nothing against link sharing in general. I’ve both done it and benefited from it. Back in the day, I ran an early aggregator site for tracking knowledge management posts called KMPings. Pretty popular in the early KM blogging scene.

    @Traci: The original point of social media was to post your own media (mostly text in the early days) and then interact with others about it. Linking to others was an important part of that but not the main outcome. Posting your own content online was the original anti-traditional media activity!

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