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The always-full-of-great-information Sarah Evans, @PRSarahEvans on Twitter, and one of my favorite Tweeps, shared some really stunning stats today from Adam Singer's The Future Buzz blog. One mindblower of a statistic, among a buffet of them, is that there are 346,000,000 global citizens who read blogs. Wow, I'd be happy to have .1% of that number reading this blog!

I found myself thinking as I read Adam's post that there's a lot of talking going on out there on the Wild Wild Web. The really critical part of social media, however, is LISTENING.

It's tempting to think of one's web platform(s) as megaphones – Hey look! Over here! It's me! That's fairly par for the course in human interaction: we're all interrupting each other constantly, usually about 20 seconds in to what the other person is saying. Reminds me of Gary Larson's classic "What Dogs Hear" cartoon – you're blathering away at your dog, all she hears is her name. Blah blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah.

Same holds true with social media: people only listen if they hear something they want to hear, that their ears (eyes?) are tuned for. Everything else boils down to blah blah blah. Unless, of course, what you're saying is pitched to their tuned ears – their wants, needs, curiosity, value system, whatever you want to call it.

Which means you've got to listen. Listen at least twice at much as you talk. The web ain't a megaphone. It's a conversation.

I'm going back to listening now.

That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it…

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