[Holga] On Conversation

I work with companies every day teaching them how to use Social Media to build community and create valuable connections. For many of them, I am seeking to move them toward a paradigm shift in their marketing framework: Relationships matter. Stop talking at people, and learn to listen.  Learn to truly listen.

I took this photograph with my beat up (and treasured) Holga.  It says something of what I am often trying to say with my work: Real conversations are truly the end goal. We must learn to listen to each other.  And better.

Any eleven year old can tell the difference between contrived conversations and “real” ones. Feign interest in a conversation with a tween and you’ll lose them quicker than an eye can roll.   Good parents stop to listen to their kids, even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient.  It is no different in business.

Companies that can make this fundamental shift toward valuing authentic conversation will be those whose bottom line consistently shifts toward profitability.  Non-profits that can can make this shift will jump out of their dying-lifecycle and the organizational dynamics that keep them pinned toward a poverty mentality.  They will begin learning from those they seek to serve.  They will grow more comfortable with change; they will grow.

Twittter and other social networks excites me to the extent that I am able to meet, connect, and share with my real-time “stream” of contacts.  What about you? The real-time web will continue to translate into offline coffees, lunches, and handshakes, but only for those willing to take conversations seriously.

(Holga: Darrelle, David / Breckenridge / September 2010)

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