The key to conversation is listening

News organizations often fall into the trap of using social media only as a broadcasting platform. Sharing links and news updates is an important service, but the platforms are dubbed “social” for a reason.

Two groups of synonyms relate to the word “social:”

  • community, collective, group, public (here’s why it’s tempting to blast messages to the crowd);
  • party, gathering, get-together, soirée (here’s why it’s important to balance your posts).

Ever been to a party and run into someone who only talks about themselves? How fast did you find a reason to bail out of the conversation? Don’t be that guy.

This Knight Digital Media post outlines five ways to listen using social media as a way to better know and represent your community. To highlight:

  • Listen for new sources
  • Listen for story ideas
  • Listen for feedback
  • Listen to understand and for context
  • Listen for relationships

The great thing about using social media to listen is that it’s pretty convenient. The hard work is in paying attention, asking relevant questions, identifying key voices and leaders, just like reporters have done for ages. But once you’re present in the community, all that conversation comes right to you.