When I wrote my first article and it was published, I was really proud to see my name on it, and then I started to see people grab the article and tweet it, Facebook it, blog it and LinkedIn it! I didn’t know whether to be flattered or annoyed that people were “using” my stuff.
Then there were the comments. Not that I was writing anything particularly controversial, but people have opinions and the web is a great way to voice those opinions, especially as with many of these forums the contributors are anonymous, at least to the author of the post.
It’s like bearing your soul to the world for people to judge and comment on. People can be very critical and you tend to hear the negative feedback more than the positive feedback.
Where it gets serious is if someone is taking your work (or parts or your Intellectual Property) and passing it off as their own. How much you “give away” and how much you keep private is important. Your work and therefore your IP is something that should be very valuable to you, both commercially and intellectually.
I recently conducted a breakfast series and presented some work that people wanted to see and then be able to use for their own clients. Initially I had a lot of information (IP) on the presentation slide page but I realised that I was handing everything over by doing it that way. So I changed my presentation to pictorially represent my topics and I talked through the information, which at the end of the day made for a much more engaging presentation.
Afterwards I was asked for copies of the presentation, or at least the key outtake slides. I was then in control of what was sent and this approach was definitely the best decision as there were competitors in the room, and this was MY STUFF.
There are definite benefits in contributing to blogs, forums and the like, or even having your own, however, in my experience a strategic and well thought out approach to what you write always works best. Don’t post first and think later.