Teaching children to share

kids to share

I’m currently teaching my 3 year old to share.

It’s not going very well – so we have set some ground rules.

The first is:

What I expect her to share, and what I don’t.

I don’t expect her to share her bunny.  That’s hers – it’s personal.  It’s too important to entrust into someone else’s care.

But I do expect her to share toys, sweets, and my time.

But then the tricky question comes: Why?

Well, we share because it’s a nice thing to do, part of our human nature.  But 3 year olds don’t really grasp human nature as a reason to do anything.

So we share because:

<!– If we share, then it’s more likely that people will share back with us. We create a network of people we share back and forward with.

<!–it makes people like us more.  A way of gaining popularity

<!–it shows I have a view on the world around me; I understand what’s important within culture (Peppa Pig has cultural context when you are 3)

<!–we might learn something from it.  A new way to play with the toy or a new way to approach a problem

So the rules of sharing when you are 3 are not so different for rules of sharing in a social media.

There are some things I won’t share – things that are too personal to entrust into other people’s hands.  And actually doing so would be dangerous; there is nothing more uncomfortable than someone sharing too much in a public forum.

I am selective as to who I share with, I have different networks of people who I am comfortable with sharing with. And within those groups I share different things.  Photos on facebook; opinions on twitter; images on instagram; and contacts on Linked in.

I share different things at different times.  Sending round a link now of T-Mobile Royal Wedding would not be interesting to anyone.  But in April it was the opener for a number of conversations about how we would be spending the bank holiday.

I share things that make me look good! Photo’s from when I was lucky enough to go to the Harry Potter Premiere. Check-ins when I am eating at Gordon Ramsey restaurant. (I haven’t checked in at Nando’s even though I have eaten there much more often than at Gordon’s), and twitter updates announcing PHD agency of the year win.

And I share when I want to learn. I offer my opinion and ask for feedback and response, because together there might be an interesting or new way of tackling the same old problem.

So if I understand why I share, I can help advise brands on why people might share their stories. And what stories they would need to tell to make people be interested in sharing.

Does it connect me with a group of people?

Does it make me look good?

Does it have relevance in culture?

Can I get something back from sharing?

If your brand story can really deliver on one of these motivations then there is an opportunity to generate Shared Media; but it requires an honest appraisal.

Why would the great British public do something that you wouldn’t?  Why do you think that they would be happy to do something daft, posted on the internet for the world to see, all for the chance of winning a badge and a sample sized trial pack?

It’s child’s-play really.

POSTED BY : Jenny Smith

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