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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Conversations Companies Should Have

Social media offers companies the opportunity to listen in on their users conversations, but the question facing most companies is this: what in the hell do we do once we listen?

The simple answer is this: you respond.

We know this because of the cluetrain manifesto, a book written at the dawn of the Web age, which posited that all markets are conversations -- and those conversations needed to happen in human terms.

Which is exactly what is happening.

Twitter, a mobile network that allows people to send out short messages to large groups via text messaging, has given regular folks the unprecedented ability to air their grievances with companies in public. Jeff Jarvis calls this the "canary in the coalmine," a metaphor from the days when mining companies used canaries to judge the air quality in a mine shaft.

It's an apt metaphor because companies can judge the temperate of their products using social media by monitoring what people are saying. The problem is only 29 percent of companies using social media monitor what is happening and 17 percent don't bother listening.

Once companies start listening -- and inviting that conversation -- it's important for them to realize one more important item: you can't just delete what people say. The surest way to get in trouble is to try to control the conversation.

By brad at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

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