in Ways of Working

Is Sharing Caring? – A Reflection on Comments and Social Media

What does it mean to be caring in online spaces and how is this related to sharing?

I recently came across a message on a blog that stated ‘sharing is caring’. This was placed next to buttons for the various social media silos. This had me stop and think. Is this this in fact a lie we have been sold? I have spoken before about paying ideas forward and feeding back into the stream, but I wonder, are there means of caring that do not involve sharing into somebody else’s backyard? This then involves stopping to reflect on two questions: what does it mean to share and care?


I love to share. It was one of the things that really drew me to Twitter and then blogging. It offered the ability to post short snippets, telling a story over time. This though touches on the first consideration, what should we share?

I often share quotes, visual creations and links. In the past, this was straight to Twitter. However, over time this seems to have become about something else. Although I was backing up my Tweets, my contributions seemed conflicted.

Recently, I have taken to posting everything on my second blog – Read Write Collect – and syndicating from there. This often involves capturing a quote or a short reflection. The question I have is, when I share out, whose link do I share? If I share a link to a bookmark or like then it will bring back all the responses using webmentions. However, then the question is about whether I am sharing for the original author or myself? Should I instead by retweeting a tweet from the author or share out the original link? This then leads to the second point of caring.


I imagine caring can come in many shapes and sizes. When sharing out on social media, I have long made the effort to mention the original author in the post to indicate to them that I care. Sometimes this also involves attaching a graphic or a quote that caught my attention. Although this is good, I wonder if there are better ways to show care?

A step beyond sharing a tweet is posting a comment. I am not sure if it is the effort involved or the process behind it, but I have always valued a comment more than a tweet. In recent times, this has included posting comments from my own site (where applicable) or pasting in.

Another part to this is linking to ideas when I know that they have come from elsewhere. I think this is often overlooked and I really like the latest change to the webmentions plugins that allows you to turn mentions into comments.

Maybe it is just me. Maybe sharing online just works? However, I agree with The Luddbrarian that where we need to start in regards to Facebook and social media in general is ‘expand our imagination’ in this area. I think that this starts by asking questions. What does it mean to be digital? How are we really caring in online space? Does it have to involve sharing? As always, comments welcome.

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I am an Australian educator supporting the integration of technology and innovation. I have an interest in how collectively we can work to creating a better tomorrow.
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Is Sharing Caring? – A Reflection on Comments and Social Media by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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  1. Nice post, Arron. I’m a bit weary of “caring” – like you state, it comes in many forms. I tend to think instead in terms of “added value”. When I repost something, I try to add a reason why I am doing it, what it means to me, a relevant quote from the work, or some commentary. Doing this also forces me to be more selective in what I churn out, which is also a form of caring I guess.

  2. @mrkrndvs I just changed the mention I got from this to a comment.

    I find this sort of mention really valuable. I made a fairly off the cuff like and comment. Then I get a webmention from your post which is both interesting and leads to other places and ideas online and in my head.

    This can certainly give comments & mentions can be more valuable than a tweet.

    Getting the mention and pulling your post in as a comment just pulls everything together nicely.

    • I maybe wrong John, but I think that there have been changes in the ability to adjust the content of webmentions. This means that a mention that is a part of a lengthy post can be edited down.

      • You are right. I had removed some of the text I got in the mention mentioned above.

        I also got a mention from your comment. It came over as the whole post, without comments. I guess cause you linked to my post in your reply?

        This is getting more interesting and better as time goes on.

        (This is a straightforward comment on your blog, I was wondering if I could webmention the comment, but got to confused at that point;-))

          • Hi Aaron,
            That is great. Going to dig into your hidden-code post soon (the summer holidays are coming). Looks like a useful resource and rabbit hole:-)


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