As the number of online communication channels has multiplied, so have the opportunities for us to share valuable ideas and information with others. A key skill in this brave new world is the ability to contribute in meaningful ways to online conversations. The ability to do this well is invaluable, because it contributes to our influence and reach.
This mind map is an attempt to diagram the strategies for doing so, and to remind you of the wealth of information sources we all have at our fingertips to start and extend fascinating online conversations (click on the map image to view the full, expanded version).
The art of conversation: parallels with improv comedy
Doing so is a bit like improvisational comedy: You want to put something out there that makes it easy for others to add to it and riff off of it. At the same time, you should be looking for opportunities to extend, interpret or otherwise riff off of that your colleagues are posting to their online platforms. I urge you to ask questions of yourself that are phrased in plural terms in order to generate ideas and possibilities for conversational tennis. Ask yourself, “In what ways can I contribute to this conversation?” rather than “In what way…?” See what I mean? You want to get your brain generating many ideas, and then pick the best of them to implement.
Share cool ideas across channels
This mind map also illuminates the many opportunities we have to cross-share cool ideas between different channels of information – another form of sharing and content creation. What do I mean by this? Here are several examples to help you understand the power of cross-promotion:
Newsletter to Twitter: Let’s say I just received an e-newsletter from a thought leader I admire. It contains an idea my readers should know about. So I summarize it in a tweet and distribute it to all my followers.
Twitter to Google+: A very smart person I follow on Twitter posts a link to an incredible article that has really rocked my world. Once again, I want to share this awesome find with my community. So a write a short post that explains what I like about it and how to utilize this knowledge, and publish it to my Google+ feed. Because Google+ permits longer posts, this is the perfect opportunity to add my interpretation to someone else’s idea (while giving them credit for it, of course).
Book to Pinterest to Twitter/Google+: Lately, I’ve been collecting memorable quotes from the new book by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?. I search for striking images that help bring the idea behind the quote to life in compelling ways, and integrate the quote and an image of the book cover into an attractive collage and upload it to a special board I’ve created on Pinterest just for quotes from this excellent book. I then post a tweet that serves as a “teaser” for the idea with a link to the Pinterest image, and post it to my Google+ stream – and I include the book’s hash tag in each channel, so my content can be found more easily.
Now it’s your turn!
What elements would you add to this mix? What strategies do you use to share ideas and contribute to online conversations? I welcome your thoughts in the comments