This is an open invitation to converse at a time when dialogue is becoming scarce.
While the worlds of traditional and social media are descending into forums of self-promotion, lost is the opportunity to listen and to exchange ideas. There is value in conversing, not just in talking to let the world know you exist or to have your position heard.
I have noticed two related trends, especially in social media. First, people are replying less often to posted items. All media, including what could be seen as interactive media, is viewed more and more as being for consumption. We may be trending toward more connectivity, yet connectivity is less about interacting (the phone part of smart phones) and more about consuming (iPads, web access on smart phones). We read, we digest, we move on to the next thing.
Second, when people do reply to posts or articles, they seem to be replying more to make their own statements than to engage in conversation. The obvious examples are on news sites, where the comments section of an article on any innocuous subject can be used for political diatribes. Even on professionally-oriented sites like LinkedIn, postings are often self-promotional and replies when given are similarly self-promotional. Dialogue is absent. People are posting to be heard rather than to have an interaction to create mutual understandings.
The trend is general. The political environment and modern media promote that the loudest and most outraged in behavior get heard. First amendment rights are now being interpreted as “everyone must facilitate me being be heard by all.” Social media gurus claim that businesspeople should be active on social media, but the activity suggested is one of self-promotion for the sake of self-promotion.
To converse we must listen, and if we aren’t conversing, we aren’t listening. If we are not listening to each other on news and professional sites—if we can’t listen to our friends on Facebook—then are we listening to our customers and clients? Are we listening to our colleagues, investors, boards, and regulators? In my field of finance, can you understand risks, opportunities, and other issues without listening and having dialogues?
So, let’s converse! Here is my open invitation: I’ll buy you coffee during the day or a drink in the evening, or I’ll buy you breakfast, lunch or dinner. Interested? Then contact me an old-fashioned way: Give me a call, write me a letter, or send me an email or a text message.