Yesterday, my horoscope (wait, don’t stop reading — there’s a business-applicable point) read that something on the web was going to change my life or, at least, how I viewed things. Working in the social sphere means I spend a lot of time on the Internet and the idea that something I saw could make a life-changing difference had me curious. I spent the whole day with this idea in the back of my mind — something was going to have special meaning for me today. Then I remembered where I got my advice and tabled my non-business craziness.
But what this reading did for me was allowed me to look at every site, every blog, every touch point as an opportunity for receiving a poignant message. I stopped looking at social media as noise (not that I think it always is, but parts of it can be overwhelming — so much content, so little time) and began to try and listen to what was going on around me. I can liken it to being in a crowded train station. There are all sorts of cacophonous interruptions, hisses and squeals of brakes, announcements, people shouting to be heard. At first listen it can all sound like headache inducing noise, but if you focus on individual occurrences, you can hear some interesting exchanges.
But it’s not easy to block out what’s going on around you and focus on the singular. You need tools to help you. In the case of the train station, you may find yourself concentrating on isolating a conversation by looking in the speaker’s direction (but don’t get caught. It can be embarrassing if they’re not talking to you.). When it comes to the social web, you need other analytics. You need search tools or reporting features. You might want to consider your own platform or online community, one that focuses on your organizational goals and one that’s surrounded by your branding.
How do you hear what’s meant to be a pivotal exchange? Are you hearing your members’ voices over the louder, competing din?