I’ve had the good fortune to work over the years with hundreds of people who believed that giving precedes getting.  They’ve looked for opportunities to give valuable ideas and guidance to their associates and their customers and worried remarkably little about what they would get in return.

Interestingly, surprisingly few of the same people have yet to realize that social media—apart from Facebook and, quite recently, Pinterest, which many see as different than “let’s make a deal” SM channels like Twitter and LinkedIn—provide them with wonderful opportunities to give of their ideas and expertise to an extent never before possible and with less time and effort than ever before.  I wonder if they think that social media are for the “getters” of the world.

I wonder, too, if those who are slow to embrace connecting, following, digging, scooping and tweeting, disbelieve that they have anything of value to give through social media.  They do, of course.  Nearly every article or book read, every job opportunity discovered, every delightful photograph or cartoon, is easily given to someone—perhaps many someones—who will profit by it.  Better yet, many of our gifts will be paid forward—and paid forward again by others whose names we’ll never know.

My friend, Deb L., was already one of the giving-est people I’ve known, beginning way back before the dawn of social media.  She continues to give in non-tech ways, but has embraced the new opportunities to give through blogging and sharing gems she’s mined from the web.  Has she gotten back anything in return?  Yes, definitely, most recently in the form of a new and richly satisfying job, but I’ve never sensed that she was “giving to get.”  Instead, she gives for the sake of giving, and is delighted to have new ways to reach out to others.

I hope I’ve given you something of value in this little post and that you’ll join me in encouraging the hesitant to explore new possibilities for giving.  They’ll be the better for it.