The Value of Sharing Links We Haven’t Read

March 15, 2014

Try this experiment: Take a impactful message from a source, boil it down to 140 characters, then share it on Twitter with a broken link.  Lots of folks will  share your link.

Sharing unseen links is a new kind of exhibitionism that’s had a lot of play recently.  It’s an interesting phenomenon.  But I wonder if it’s such a bad thing.

What we share represents a new form of exhibitionism.  We share how we like to be seen and what we share defines us in the public eye.  And what we say we link to may be less important than the show of sharing itself.  Posturing and positioning may be more important than the curation we like to believe we’re doing.

While sharing without seeing is something I avoid, I have to wonder if it carries its own value.  Upvoting ideas, thoughts, political platitudes and beliefs allows us to narrate our story without so much work.

If things get bad we can add the disclaimer that shared tweets are neither endorsements nor acknowledgments that we’ve actually seen what we’re sharing.  That would allow calculated self-presentation while absolving us of the long-form baggage on the other side of the link.


Steve Levine March 16, 2014 at 1:13 pm

What about the value of retweeting links you haven’t read because you TRUST the judgment of the person who tweeted them in the first place. If you’re an established thought leader on a topic, might not you expect that to happen quite frequently?

Kate Land March 19, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Speaks well to the balance of the C’s: curation, conversation and content creation you have spoken about before. (I would add cheer-leading but, that is an aside.) To curate in a valuable way it seems we have a responsibility to actually read what we share. Takes work indeed but – “posturing and positioning” shortchanges not only our followers but, ourselves as well. I learn loads by being present on Twitter and observing, reading and at times sharing.

Epidemicity March 27, 2014 at 8:15 pm

I’m afraid I just don’t see how there can be any value in sharing something you haven’t read yourself. Sharing, in essence, is recommending; and, the written word is a form of art, just like a painting, or sculpture or piece of music. How can you recommend something you haven’t experienced yourself?

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