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March 11, 2017

The art of social listening: Going beyond data towards meaning and context

Social listening at a conference

There are conversations happening all around us. Obviously, the most easily accessible conversations are the ones that are on your smart phone. I mean, I am talking about the one that is happening on your popular social media app.

Having said that, listening to conversations are an important life skill. They help us to understand the world, understand others and build relationships. Listening is also an important attention building skill.

This time around, our attention is drawn towards a new type of listening which has surfaced in the recent years. This is “Listening to social media”. Within the industry circles, this is known as ‘social listening’ by some social media experts.

Social listening is all about gaining insight about yourself, your brand, your company and your products and services by listening to online conversations that happen on social media channels.

It is about making meaning and making the right response of your online social media conversations.

But then, for the common man the word ‘social listening’ will always mean: listening to others (the medium could be anything!) and being good and kind to others.

Exploring further on the business side, companies have begun to realize the importance of listening to social conversations online for understanding the customers. After all, “Understanding the customers thought and intention” has always been the holy grail of business.

This importance was captured well in an article from Harvard Business review titled ““How to get more out of social media-think like an anthropologist”. Click here for the article.

The article talks about how data managers and data scientists should jettison the traditional methods of analyzing data and look at finding meaning and understanding the context of online social conversations. Understanding the background and culture of the people involved in the conversations, also makes right sense.

It is only through understanding the context of the conversation that we begin to gain insight. A more qualitative analysis is required rather than a quantitative one. Context in an online conversation answers some most important questions such as “Who said it?”, “What is being said”, “What are the challenges?” etc. Sometimes online social conversations are amplified by the culture of the people involved.

Understanding the context in an online conversation, gives companies an opportunity to make the right response to its approach and strategy.


March 06, 2017

We thrive on social interaction –There is no lone genius

social media usage

A recent survey from the global web index showed that there are there are 2.3 billion active social media users in the world. We human beings are social animals. We love to form groups and socially interact.The use of social media has tripled over the last few years.

Our social brain is responsible for our evolution to whom we are today.

It is based on the simple knowing that a single person need not possess and have all the expertise and knowledge in the world. We can seek knowledge and expertise from others as well in areas where we are lacking.

Many scientists and researchers have agreed that there is no lone genius. It is through successive iteration of ideas and collaboration with others that insight happens. We need to collaborate and socially interact with others to make our hunches right and take it a conclusive understanding.

Apart from a few usages of social media within organisations for collaboration and chat messages, now called enterprise social networking or social collaboration, social media on the consumer side, is still in the realm of sharing jokes, photos and videos for entertainment purposes.

A recent HR survey from Bamboo shows that about 68% of employees in the United states, do not mind taking a break during the day for surfing social media sites. And about 40% of them spend about 10-30 minutes on the same.

Having said that, social media is an attitude. The underlying behaviour of the participants very much depends on the current prevailing culture of the place and the whole world in general.

Social media is self-organising and continously evolving. There are pockets within niche industry cirlces like advertising and the recruitment industry where professionals use social media for more productive purposes.

We thrive on social interaction. There is no doubt about it. Social media has provided a conduit. My concern is that this conduit needs to be used in a much more productive manner for professional collaboration as well not just for sharing jokes and photos alone.

There are sites like Linkedin groups which do a good job. But then, there is no much linkage and penetration among various social groups for its usage.


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Welcome ! about the blog

Coffee Mug!

Coffee mug conversations and listening – about social media, networks, collaboration and crowds.

Human beings are social animals. We have evolved to this date and time, because of our social nature. We love groups and we love to share.

I write about re-inventing ourselves and our work through Social media, Social networks, Work Collaboration, Innovation and lastly Work life balance.

I completed my Masters in IT for manufacture, WMG, University of Warwick. I graduated in the year 2004.

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