What is giving back? Before the Internet it was volunteering your time, donating money, helping your friend, assisting a colleague or being the good samaritan. Today, with Social Media, giving back is much more. It is the writing reviews of books/articles, contributing to forums, writing blog posts, sharing links/news, and writing thank you notes. It is sharing with others, putting your opinion out there and giving back to people.
I have contributed much to society before the advent of the Internet and Social Media. I have donated money and volunteered my time. Some of the interesting experiences I have had were feeding the homeless in Brisbane with Drug Arm Australia and socialising a Guide Dogs in Melbourne with Seeing Eye Dogs Australia. Lately, I have been traveling and reading more. My focus has been to write reviews and share them on multiple mediums so that others can benefit and learn what I have learned.
This year I have decided to review every book I have read via GoodReads and review all attractions, restaurants and sites I experience via TripAdvisor. Some of these entries I have shared via LinkedIn and others I just share via my website www.bradrevell.com. There are many other ways to get your opinion and perspective out there. Contributions on forums and product reviews on Amazon are just two options.
Writing a thank you note is another way of giving back. I write a thank you note to the author of every book I read (as long as the author is alive). In most cases it is hand written and mailed, however, if the mailing address is unknown I will send an email. Last year I emailed a thank you note to Seth Godin. Seth responded within the hour. Recently I read a book by Heather Townsend and sent her a LinkedIn message. Heather responded within the hour and we have exchanged a few messages back and forth. Heather and I are now connected via LinkedIn.
Giving back does take time, yet it is all about building the muscle. There are many tools one can utilise. I have a template for thank you notes and for book reviews. For example my book review template always finishes with three key takeaways. When writing blog posts I use the ProWritingAid tool which ensures what I write is in good shape and fit for the reader. I also use OmniFocus to keep up to date with who I need to reach out to and what I need to do in the world of giving back.
Reviews, blogs and thank you notes do not have to be long, they just need to hit the point and help someone. Networking professions would say that giving back is key to maintaining strong relationships with the connections in your network. They are the gifts that give back as I get my message out and build my digital profile. In return, others get to read and learn from my experiences. Give it a try!