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June 14, 2009

I have written a great deal in this blog about “real” communication and “real” dialogue, and it has been pointed out to me that perhaps I may need to go into a bit more detail about what I mean when I use these terms.

Some of my quotes in question are;

“People who engage through social media want a real conversation, and if an organization wants to talk to them that way there has to be real dialogue.”

“You have to be real, because if you are not, no one will listen.”

“People need meaningful interaction.”

So what do I mean by “real and “meaningful”?

I mean that there must be a conversation. A conversation between people. Just because organizations and their constituents are separated by a digital divide does not mean that the conversation can be any less authentic than if it were face to face. I see many organizations that are making the mistake of not engaging as fully with people over social media as they would in person. Social media can only be a successful tool if the person you are trying to engage knows you are there and care about the dialogue. If you are inauthentic, or show little interest in the conversation, it is just as bad as if you were sitting having coffee with them and staring off into space. Perhaps even worse, because maybe you could fake listening in person, but online it becomes very evident if you are not truly engaging. So by “real” I mean personal. Social networking is personal and the conversation has to be an authentic two way dialogue.

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