Recently, I’ve read a lot about social media and how companies are using this to change their ways. The old standard of a corporation being a one-way channel of communication (ie: they speak to us through advertising but there’s no hope for us speaking to them) is starting to dissolve into a new norm. Thanks to social media (ie: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc.), our voice is shared amongst all those we associate with, giving it much greater power and volume. Companies wanting to stay fresh and current have a responsibility to listen to and respond to that feedback (positive and negative).
Is any of this a big surprise, though? If you think of human relationships, it has to go both ways. We need to listen to the other as much as we speak, otherwise we’re not in a valued relationship. The false notion that this doesn’t apply to companies has been dismissed now that we have a powerful enough tool to communicate back to these companies, and this is requiring a whole new level of honesty and humility on the part of very large and powerful companies (think Walmart, McDonalds and Pepsi).
It’s one thing to simply listen, but if the content of that message is negative it requires humility and enough introspection to respond in a way that betters yourself and your relationships. Now that the “flood-gates” are open to a whole new level of communication, we’re all charged with becoming better listeners and more aware of ourselves so that we can grow (regardless of whether “we” are a person or a company).