I must admit that I rather enjoy Facebook! I’ve caught up with a lot of old friends, and it’s nice to see what everyone is doing. Some of my friends post old photographs of themselves, while others post jokes, comments, and family news. I like that!

But I recently decided to comb through my friends with a conscious decision to “unfollow” certain people. It wasn’t because I decided I didn’t like them anymore. Nor was it because they offended me. It was because they almost never posted anything original. All their posts were shares, the creations of other people. Some were reasonably good; some offered interesting political and social commentary; and others were funny. But ultimately, too many shares quickly became boring.

I decided to create a metric around this, and came up with OQ, the Originality Quotient. It’s quite easily calculated. It’s the ratio of posts that are original material as opposed to a share. A quick calculation is accomplished by looking at your last five posts. If all of them are you own creations (a photograph you took, news about your family that you wrote, and so on), your OQ is a hundred. If four of them are original, your OQ is eighty. Once an OQ falls below sixty, the author becomes a bore. (Please don’t take this too seriously or literally!)

So, start by calculating your own OQ. Do you have the opportunity to raise it? Now think of the people who engage you and interest you on Facebook. I would be willing to bet that almost all of them have OQs over eighty! Now do a spot check on a bore. Again, I’d be willing to bet the OQ is sixty or lower!

I have made a personal resolution to keep my own OQ above eighty. If we all work to maintain OQs of eighty or better, we can make Facebook a better place. Not only will it make our own posts more interesting, but it will also improve the quality of the stuff we share!

For example, if you’ve decided to ration your shares to no more than 20% of your posts, you’re less likely to succumb to the emotional blackmail of a post that suggests you’re heartless unless you share a picture of a child living with cancer. You might think twice before sharing a bogus statement about how Facebook’s IPO changed your intellectual property rights. Nonsense about how Bill Gates is willing to give away his fortune to anyone who shares his post might just go away! We might never again see those silly assertions that 100 shares will enable a baby to get a heart transplant. Best of all, people might direct their energy toward actually loving their daughter (brother, sister, mother, father, etc.) rather than begging people to share a sentimental claim that they do so! The ultimate goal is to put the big time share mongers out of business.

I don’t think I have ever asked people to share something on Facebook. But I believe that if we all resolve to keep our OQs above eighty, we can make Facebook a better place. Please share this post and follow it up with at least four posts of material that you created yourself.

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