Yes, yes, i know what you’re thinking – “Sharing is CARING, Brett!” – and that’s true. Teaching kids to share can be one of the greatest lessons we can give them – actually teaching adults to share would be an amazing accomplishment and sort out many of the world’s problems. But i want to suggest a new way of thinking about this, especially when it comes to the internet.
Sharing is Blaring.
Blare: to sound loudly; proclaim noisily
Showing appreciation of someone’s blog post, article, video or podcast is a good thing. It is a helpful thing. It encourages and let’s people know what they created was helpful to you and hopefully inspires them to keep on or let’s them know they are on the right track. These are all good things. And it’s important that you keep on doing them.
BUT [and i love big ‘But’s – i cannot lie!] there is something else you can do which carries so much more significance than a like or a positive comment or affirmation. And that is a SHARE or a TAGGING of people you know will appreciate or benefit from what you’ve just read or listened to. And this really is the part that is more likely to help affect change.
The Power of a Share
As some of you may know, i am busy making a series of 50 short videos [6 to 13 minutes] called ‘Race with me’ which seeks to assist white people who are asking the question: What can I do when it comes to race in South Africa?
After about 5 videos into a 50 video series i was getting about 10 to 20 views per video on my YouTube channel. Which is not a lot of views and which raises questions such as ‘Why am i wasting so much time and energy and money to create these videos which no-one is watching?’
i tend to think of myself as The Eternal Optimist [especially during cricket season] but even for me this was becoming a tough gig to sell to myself.
Until one day there was a voice from the great Afro…
Terence Mentor is a dedicated dad vlogger on the popular blog and podcastAfrodaddy and also a good friend and fellow team hockey player.
He suggested that i post the videos to IGTV and i was all “Yes, i should definitely do that” and also “What is this IGTV you speak of?”– turns out Instagram has a dedicated video channel and Terence Mentor…..ed me [#ISeeWhatIDidThere] by showing me where and how to upload my videos.
And so my first ‘Race with me’ video appeared on IGTV over here. Within a few hours it had passed the 200 views mark. It is currently sitting on 569.
Literally cost Terence nothing to share that bit of information with me and had such an impact on the reach of the videos i am making. Beyond that, knowing that they are now being seen on average by around 200 people rather than 20 gave me a lot more motivation to keep going with them.
Mentoring [whether it’s in your name or not] is such a huge and often underused aspect of life that can really make a difference to other people.
This often takes place in work settings or faith spaces but can also be applied where you have a skill someone else is learning [from cooking to music to sport to art to the basics of how to better use your phone or computer] and more often than not simply takes initiative and intentionality.
It can be a once-off moment like Terence sharing some knowledge he knew would help me or for a time period [volunteering at a local school for a term] or a more formalised process where you walk in relationship with someone, or even a group, to pass on whatever knowledge or skill you have that they want to learn.
Are you busy mentoring someone? Do you have a skill or knowledge that someone younger than you or more new than you to a space or group might benefit from? If you aren’t, i strongly encourage you to look around and find one or two people you can start pouring into. Knowing that the mentorship process more often than not works both ways and you will gain a lot from the relationship as well.
The latest video i have added to the series, my 22nd ‘Race with me’ video is sitting on 3, 978 views. No, that’s not a typo. This was on the difference between Minimum and Living wage which tends to be an interesting topic… but it is not 150 times better than my other videos.
So what happened?
Or more importantly, who happened?
A new friend that i met recently, who has a few hundred thousand followers on Instagram, shared my 22nd ‘Race with me’ video. She used her platform to take a message that she thought of as important and stick it in front of a whole lot more eyes. It cost her very little to do – simply a click on the mouse and a few typed words – but it introduced some important race work to a much wider audience.
This is the power of using your platform. i have watched my mate Grant Hinds do it to raise money for various charities and non-profits as well as awareness for a range of different issues, Terence Mentor do it to shine the light on other voices and to highlight issues, and on a somewhat bigger scale you see celebs like Taylor Swift [sexual harrassment], Chance the Rapper [education] Ashton Kutcher [anti-sex-trafficking] and others use their considerable reach to impact people’s lives and choices.
Special mention must be made of Luke Skywalker himself, actor Mark Hamill who must be my favourite person on the Twitterer just for how he uses his platform to connect with the humanity in people, understanding both the power he wields and i think the ridiculousness of that power. But at the same time the effect it can have when used for good.
Sharing is Blaring
When you click ‘Like’ or write an encouraging comment it makes the writer/creator feel good. Which is nice.
But when you SHARE, then as the definition states: You sound loudly – you proclaim noisily!
You take something that you found helpful or informative or challenging or educational and YOU PUT IT IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE!
This is where the true power lies – this is where YOUR power lies. Because there are people on your wall that will never come to my wall and click on the video i made. But when you share it, there is a form of endorsement and invitation that proclaims to your people: This is worth your time!
So i want to invite you to be more expressive in this way. You might not have the time or even the knowledge to create the blog post or the video or write the article or do the work of researching and reading and compiling. But you can click share and maybe write a few words as to why it touched or impacted you and suddenly you are inviting a whole new audience to discover something that might impact their lives. And that is so huge and so important.
Yes, if we’re talking race or sexism or politics it might add a level of discomfort to your life and you may face some conflict or push back or difficult questions. But to change the world, we all really need to lean a little bit more into the discomfort and choose to be speakers of truth and life. Or at least sharers of it.
If you made it this far, and you agree with what i am saying, then please SHARE this post on your wall and maybe in your other social media spaces as well. And if not this one, then invite your white friends to start doing the work by watching these videos. And if not me, then other people who you find challenging and helpful like Afrodaddy when it comes to parenting as a dad. Or whoever the people are who you find helpful.
Let’s stop Liking things and let’s start Blaring. Which happens by Sharing. Hopefully the more eyes on these things mean the more people starting to do the work which means a country starting to change for the better in bigger and more monumental shifts.
And if you have a platform or reach or spaces of influence, make sure that you are using them for good.
Brett Fish is a lover of life, God, tbV [the beautiful Valerie] and owns the world's most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob (who doesn't bob). He believes that we are all responsible for making the world a significantly better place for everyone.