Do you want to be someone who makes a positive impact online?
How would this vary according to the commitment you are able to give?
In this article we look at the different levels of contributing and why they might draw you further into the online world.
Firstly we should establish that anything we do online is forming part of this bigger jigsaw, so this is unlikely to be about our first few steps in cyberspace and more likely to be assessing what we have done so far and where we want to go.
As we add anything to the Internet we must think of it as a permanent fixture with no delete button. This is because we are publishing constantly and the very act means that our thoughts have gone out into the public domain (or into the hands of another company over whom we have no control) and we don’t really know after that point whether they’ve been stored somewhere and will resurface another time.
This could be big brother gone mad or it could be a very exciting moment where we adopt a positive mental attitude and resolve to be ever-flourishing students who take everything we do in life to the next level. The sum of all our thoughts on the Internet is where it gets interesting!
So the first level of involvement is going online. There are some who fear technology and we must respect their wishes not to get involved. Others are unable to get online for one reason or another (for now).
If we do use the Internet, then we will do one or more of the following:
Whether it’s seeing what our friends are up to on Facebook, shopping on Amazon, watching a YouTube video of a sneezing panda or finding out information, it’s all about the act of receiving. We are being educated, inspired, entertained and so on. Something is keeping us thirsty to consume more.
The Internet is not a one-way street and we don’t need to consume much before we want to have our say! Comments are a massive part of that. Anything and everything can be commented upon online! This could be on social media or it could be on a product or service, a blog, gaming – anything really.
By far the most time consuming activity is crafting content. When we create we are hoping others will consume and interact.
Contributing Online Takes Time
As our most precious commodity it is hardly surprising that time dictates how involved we become online. The more time we invest, the more we can do. That’s not an exact equation because we can achieve very little online for our traded time in some scenarios (when our goal is leisure), but time is one asset. The other key resource is money. We can build our presence or brand with money, although some may argue this is not really you if you’re employing others to manufacture your content. It’s cheating!
So, going back to time we can split it between any of the three activities listed above. Consuming and interacting are what most people do in the online world. Both tasks require little commitment – we can dip in and out.
Make Your Contributions Count
In the same way that living in a town we can be a positive, neutral or negative influence on the place, being online is exactly the same. We can just mill about or we can actually do something. The Internet is a field of dreams and the chances are that there’s a community developing around one of your passions. So if you’re looking to be a person of value, there are numerous ways to add your voice, share your knowledge and try to help others.
3 Ways to be Useful to a Community
i) Leave helpful comments – we’ve already mentioned this . . . the lifeblood of the Internet, comments are really important in evaluating material.
ii) Aggregate content – there’s so much noise in the online world that everyone is looking for a filter. Perhaps you can be the person that finds the best material and shares it with your friends and followers on social media.
iii) Make connections – this is as much about you meeting new people as it is helping others find people of interest. If you think others will benefit from meeting a particular person then be the person who introduces them.
Setting up a Blog, Podcast or YouTube Channel
Spending time as an active member of a community (or communities) can be very worthwhile but it may limit the scope of what you want to say. This is where the Internet comes into its own. We each have the ability to flesh out our thoughts on a topic and create the media which resonates with us the most. Think of it as donating a chunk of your brain to the museum that is the Internet!
I’m a big fan of Napoleon Hill and I absolutely love how he shares his knowledge from another era. It’s timeless material, but yet I can still read about him online, watch him on a YouTube video or listen to one of his speeches.
It is entirely possible that future generations – even if only our descendants – will come looking for inspiration from us. We now have that ability to leave our best information behind.
This is perhaps the most addictive form of contributing, because it is also the most meaningful to us. We each have something we are passionate about and today’s world really does give anyone the ability to make a difference.
What is the main way you like to contribute online?