The right links to the right person

For years and years, I have made it my mission to discover new things and ensure I'm passing it on to the right people. Sometimes, I'd go days or weeks without sending anything to anyone. Others, I'd be finding interesting tidbits, apps, companies that needed to be shared almost too frequently.

As my partner embarks on her journey into Virtual Assistance, I find myself at my peak again. Every day, I'm popping open the share sheet on Twitter to pass over another important link.

As another friend of mine looks for a new job, unhappy with their current role, I'm stumbling across so many different possibilities and sharing them with the hope of improving their situation.

Take the popularity of Maria Popova's Brain Pickings (now The Marginalian). This started out as a friendly direct-to-colleague email of the books Maria had read and has since grown into a self-sustaining (via donation!) blog and business that allows Maria to do what she does best: read and share.

The critical piece here is the importance of sharing, and the importance of identifying the right person to share it with. It mimics the need for finding the right audience. It's a lesson of product market fit. And one of being a good Samaritan. We all know how life changing the right information can be. One book, tweet or job posting could change someone's life. And that speaks to the abundance and popularity of listicles and newsletters.

The real challenge is finding the cream of the crop, and serving that dessert to the right person.

When this information is as abundant as it is, we need help filtering that information to what is good, and helpful to specific people. If I can do that work for people and help expose them to information they wouldn't otherwise have had, then I undoubtedly should.

In the days of RSS1, we had fantastic apps to help us do the filtering for us. Google Reader is still held in fond memory to this day.

We've now replaced them with an infinite number of newsletters, which pile up alongside your amazon recipients, delivery notifications and all the other email you've got. And while we have applications like Big Mail and Hey (no thanks, Basecamp) trying to provide order to this, it's not quite the same beauty that the internet once was.

While the very nature of subscribing to something provides you with some level of filtering, it does so within your own biases.

A fascinating example of this is Mediaopoly. While intended to show you some analysis of your news diet, the findings point to a truth: we are all drawn to certain types of content, and will build biases that reflect them. Sharing what you think someone will find interesting will change their perspective. And widening perspective can only be helpful.

On the contrary, it can lead to the assimilation of ideas. Too many shared sources of information means a reduction in diverse thought which is negative.

As usual, a healthy balanced diet is required.

1If you happen to still use RSS, you can subscribe to my blog here:

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