Distributed Listening

by Roger Pynn

A recent conversation among staff members led me to realize how important it is to learn how to talk out of both sides of your mouth … figuratively speaking, of course.  We were talking about the challenge we face with one client in particular whose target audiences straddle two – or even three – generations … meaning we need to enable our clients to communicate with different generations effectively.

Then along came an Ipsos Media CT white paper released at South By Southwest (SXSW) based on new research showing how vastly different media habits and perceptions have become.  Consider this from the study:  “30 percent of millenials said their media time is spent with content created and curated by their peers.”

Whether you are part of the social media explosion or not, this conclusion cannot be argued:

“Social media has taken on the most powerful form of marketing, a recommendation from a peer, and given it nearly limitless reach.”

That study rolled out in partnership with the Social Media Advertising Consortium at SXSW suggested millenials trust user-generated content more than traditional media is no surprise.  That it said they spend 18 hours per day consuming different makes me think sleep deprivation may be a great field for career seekers.

Regardless, it is no more possible in this age to speak on a single channel than to be informed by just one.  Influencing public thought is more challenging than ever before … but doing so requires distributed listening where communicators from all generations must hear each other first.

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