When I was a wee lad, my mum taught me to “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”. Aside from the fact that I never really understood why anyone would use the word ‘unto’, it was good advice. If you’re nice to people they are more likely to reciprocate with niceness. If you’re nasty, well, you know what to expect.
Earl Hickey called this ‘karma’. I call it common sense. But you’d be surprised how uncommon common sense can be in some quarters.
I was reminded of this at the seaside this weekend. If you sell postcards, it’s helpful to also sell stamps. The two go together like bread and butter. Of course, if you don’t sell stamps that’s not the end of the world, but your customers would still be glad to know where they can buy stamps.
What you shouldn’t do is put up a big sign telling people you do not sell stamps. And underline NOT four times. That’s the retail equivalent of advertising that you’re a crappy shop. A simple “Stamps are available from the Post Office 70 yards that way” sign will greatly increase the chances of your selling some postcards to grateful customers.
The same rules apply online. The social web thrives on the generosity of others, many of whom may be complete strangers to you. If you help others online, they are more likely to help you in return. And, even if there’s no immediate personal or commercial value in supporting others, by giving generously you may just reap the rewards in the future.
So, as a citizen of our online world, take at good look at yourself. Are you doing unto others as you would have others do unto you? Will today’s helpfulness pay dividends in your future?