Social Listening or Human Listening?

Listen, offline!

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Human-to-human contact

It is the digital truth . Everyone’s talking about it. There is almost a movement towards it . It’s what you hear in meetings and briefings. It’s the buzzword that’s uttered with a lot of gravitas- with millions invested in it. SOCIAL LISTENING.

Social listening is the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about a brand and industry online.

Marketing teams primarily use social listening for community management, such as identifying customer pain points and providing direct consumer response to questions, complaints, and comments. It is also used to surface feedback that could help to differentiate their brand, product, or service by opening the door to insights.

Insights. That magical word that promises to create a differentiated brand is the tool for most marketeers- the magic wand that will somehow lead to fortune makeovers! And yet, does social listening truly take place in actual social situations? How tuned in are we as humans to our surroundings?

We have devised sophisticated technology to ‘listen in’ to chatbots, likes, shares, following, unfollowing, comments ! But are we using our inherent ‘human’ skills of listening in daily life? How often do we have a one on one chat with our co-workers that is outside the domain of ‘huddles’ and ‘presentations’? How often does one know that a colleague has just had an agonising night of numbing toothache! Or a spouse’s dream that has been annihilated? Or a child’s ecstasy that has taken germ somewhere…

How often does one listen to a grunt, complaint, a whimper, a whine, a compliment, a cheer, a shriek, a worry, a high or even silence? After spending most of the hours on devices, when one finally ‘looks up’, does one really find a ‘better analysed-to-death’ world that is functioning better? I guess, the answers can be found in the increasing numbers of human succumbing to depression and anxiety.

May be we all have
‘undiagnosed’ tinnitus! Just some noise
that is hitting our eardrums and being deflected away. If only we’d unplug and
listen – to life around, there may be a solution to a whole lot of ‘pain
points’. And breaking news, you don’t have to spend a penny!

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