Listen locally

One of the things I guess I’m known for is talking about listening.

Listen to actual words. Put things in content. Align with your business plan. @gahlord #bhgrefusion
Stefan Swanepoel

I’ve written a little bit about listening and strategy before, too.

In this post, I want to cover some things on listening and location. So instead of saying “Who do you listen to?” or “What do you listen for?” there might be another question to ask.

Where do you listen to?

Whether you’re focused on business or something else, the goal of greater human connection is a driving force in online communication. Initially, the thrill of being able to quickly communicate with people from around the world is a huge draw and the opportunities seem endless.

But no amount of high speed internet connection gives you the same communication bandwidth as meeting someone in real life.

Social technologies give us all the ability to increase our connection to the people in our own communities. Whether you’re in for business or just to stay connected to your community doesn’t matter really.

If you’re a car dealer or real estate professional, the business implications of this are pretty obvious. If you’re a politician it’s another obvious move. The local businesses on Main St can use location-based social technology to finally fulfill the promise of competing with the “big corps.”

If you’re a student looking for an internship or a job or help with an assignment. If you’re a non-profit looking for volunteers. If you’re a volunteer looking for opportunities.

If your community has an online culture, an online discourse that’s hopefully as varied as any public discourse can be, then it quickly becomes obvious–participate.

I realize that’s a lot of “if” in a row. A lot of possibility. A lot of potential. But where you are matters a lot because of the richness of interaction that’s available to you right down the street at the coffee shop.

The kind of discourse that occurs is different everywhere. I guarantee that the sort of discourse that happens at my favorite coffeeshop in Burlington, VT would not be the same (or even tolerable) discourse somewhere else–even in the US.

I consider this local online discourse a treasure. It’s something I work to grow by being helpful. It’s something I protect with my actions. Where I listen to influences me more than I influence it.

That’s the power of location. That’s the power of local. It’s the strongest filter there is for reaching and connecting with other people.

The way people talk about a topic, the “What do you listen to?” question, is different everywhere. Having the ability to listen locally is powerful.

You can start listening locally on Twitter by using some of these tutorials:

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  • […] require any sort of formal authority to happen. No one needs to give you permission to listen locally. No one needs to give you permission to create a conversation. But someone does need to work at […]

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