Before I started Conversation Agent in 2006, I was writing regularly on the community section of FastCompany.com and engaging in threads with global participants in a network (started in 1997) that at its peak reached 42,000 members (2000).
Remember, this was pre-LinkedIn (2003), pre-Facebook (2004) and pre-Twitter (2006).
We wrote posts to engage in discussions with other people on the network, and to connect on topics of interest. The online activities were extended offline through regional and local events -- in Philadelphia we reached about 500 members and organized around 100 (free) events.
Many of the posts we made went across groups and literally traveled the world to then come together again at a Community @ Work Summit in Denver in August 2000.
I was reading a brief "lessons learned" report of an interview with Om Malik by Siobhan McKeown and thought about my answer to the question: how we can resist the chit-chat, how we can be part of a conversation.
To Malik's advice of listening more I would add using our blogs as tools for listening and signal by going back to highlighting important questions, providing attribution (alas, that has gone by the wayside the most over the years), and seeking to connect more broadly.
It's been at least ten years, and we have made little progress on the advice of just those few. Time to give a shot to a more diverse roster of perspectives and experiences? Just checking.
Whenever I poll readers on what they find most useful about what I cover, the answers invariably includes generosity in linking to the content of others, which allows them to discover new sources of thinking and to follow the conversation across different points of view.
Sidebar on signal
Signal is about being present to the topic. For example, I check in with the titles of posts here each week by re-reading them all at once.
For this past week:
- Digital products as evolution of content
- On graft, focus, determination, and attitude
- How to make a business connection
- Why connections do happen in real life
- Voice of the customer: who is in charge?
- Content as product worth paying for
- How environment shapes our decisions
They all revolve around customer focus and its evolution through digital, which I am using as a short hand for the technologies and tools we use to access information and stay connected.
Do we feel connected, I wonder?
To me, we're getting back to the spirit of blogging -- for listening and signal.
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.