The technology industry loves to take very meaningful words and terminology and reduce it's meaning and depth down to a shadow of it's former self for the purposes of first strike advantage or developing market share.
Aggregating, reporting, analyzing, filtering, mining - any of these would have been a better term than listening. But Listening made it sound so active, so enticing, so concerned and empathetic to the needs of people. Listening it was. One small problem - it was very selective hearing.
To me this begs the question - why not actually listen? Why don't we actively listen? We have the capability. Let's borrow from the psychology and personal improvement gurus and build out some inter personal skills based on real human capacity and concern.
- "Validate their need to be acknowledged and understood." From putting some basic acknowledgement in place to truly honouring and earning the digital opt-in, this particular facet of empathy is a great guideline for what we can with big data when we break it down into the conversations we want to have with people (marketers, people is another word for customers)
- "Listening becomes a near impossibility." So much noise. So much clamor. If we want to hear someone we are going to have to shut up for a minute. Stop broadcasting. Start having conversations. It will change your, I mean their, life.
- "Learn to listen, and more importantly, listen to learn." I do honestly care whether or not you had lunch today, but I don't need to see a picture of it. It's not about hearing every single thing that goes on, it's about the cues and clues to inform and propel the conversations we need to have. When we listen to learn, we can do something with the things we hear.