Working out loud is an important practice to escape the sense of social media as a challenging exercise of pitching yourself.
Many people struggle with the feeling that blogging and other forms of social media is self-promotion, bragging or a claim to expertise. Reluctant to pitch themselves publicly these people sit on the sidelines. As a result they and their networks miss the value of their contributions.
John Stepper has made the point that everybody works so working out loud is accessible to all of us. There is a humility that is essential to joining in the process of sharing partially completed work. There is no need to pitch when the process is a simple as:
Working Out Loud = Narrating your work + Observable work
The work need not be perfect. It should not be finished. Working out loud is a process of learning and collaboration. The idea that you would share work in progress to invite discussion presupposes you don’t know everything and don’t have all the answers.
The benefits of working out loud don’t always arise from a single post. However, working out loud is an application of the the Formula for Awesome. Working out loud supplies the humility, generosity and collaboration.
All you need to add is some purpose, urgency and persistence. Your daily work challenges should give you more than enough for these three. If you sustain the practice of working out loud, you will learn more approaches to working out loud, you will gain comfort in social collaboration and you will build trust with your colleagues.
A side benefit of working out loud is that you will develop an authentic reputation for both the work you do and the generosity of your collaborative style. That’s far more powerful than a sell job that everyone views cynically. Build a reputation for doing, not talking.
So here’s your next challenge. Work out loud each day for 99 days. Don’t worry about the Pitch. Just share and reap the rewards of collaboration.
PS With apologies to Jay-Z. Thanks to Ross Hill and the many Do Lectures conversations about social collaboration for the inspiration.