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May 21, 2010

The omnipresent nature of the web and its pace dictates listening is as important as talking.

Photo courtesy of dharmasphere

Arguably more so.

How rude it would be to walk into a party of people and just broadcast and talk about yourself all the time?   I'm not sure there are many people on the planet that would accept that scenario!  You will certainly not make any friends at that party, and people will leave thinking you a real bore.

Question: Is this how we should act on the web?

I don't think so. I know people will, and the nature of the web is that it will go on, but the "who can shout the loudest" form of "marketing/conversation" will be in the minority - don't you think?  It will not gain traction nor inspire advocacy – one of the major benefits of leveraging a networked economy.

The nature of the web would appear to be heading towards the term "social" and I have no doubts that this term will be re-invented countless times in the near future, but don't you think that the fundamental usage of the web dictates that it is social in the truest form?

Therefore, why would you "follow", "friend" or "subscribe" to anything that a): is a robot and b): never listens to you or engages with you?

If we track forward 5 years with the web (I have only vague vision thereof) but one thing is for sure our ability to "choose" who we "follow", "friend" or "subscribe" will be - well choosey.  We already realize that we have a choice as to what messages we are exposed to and the deluge of information on the social web is only going to make us more picky about who we subscribe to.  As consumers, our attention has to be earned by valuable content, not “bought”.  Broadcasting does not work on the social web.  It does not translate. 

The nature of the web and it's method of communication/s means that whatever we put on the web stays there in perpetuity, therefore, we have ubiquity. Meaning that all this information can be grouped, and you as a potential "follower" have the ability to choose who you want to follow based on a measurement of what someone or something puts out.

Now at that point we all have a choice do we follow a "data flow/life-stream" from someone who only shouts about themselves or their products? Or do we follow the "data flow/life-stream" from someone who makes you aware they have a product but who mostly shares an insight into his/hers industry, engages in conversation, links you to good content/people etc?

Who would you follow?

I don't think it's that far-fetched to think that the former will achieve less traction that the latter.

Is the social web a folly?

Photo courtesy of jinglebell

I don't think so.

I would argue that it is a basic human instinct to group, follow, be social, converse, share, chat, learn, and help.   The fact is that the web and its facilities allow us to aggregate and organise all that information.   On that basis, "ducks to water" would appear to be an apt phrase!

And given that most technologies are being designed to facilitate that desire and don't appear to be stopping, I would humbly conclude that it's not folly.


Given that the web appears to be here to stay and that we are enjoying it (being able to find, sort, follow, help, share, and change), it's now not folly.  I would argue that it is telling us how to use it. i.e. listen as well as talk.



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