Has the Mobile Phone Killed the Art of Conversation?

Has technology hurt the art of conversation?

 

What do you think? Just look around you in any direction. What do you see? Strangers opening up a friendly dialogue with one another? Or do you see nothing but “zombies” literally hypnotized by that little device  in their hands called a cell phone? But what is wrong with this picture?

A Personal Observation

No one can argue how the invention of the iPhone, the Android, the Blackberry, or the Smartphone, has made life a little easier in recent times. But this is my observation: Just recently I was talking to a workmate who was having a disagreement with a close personal friend of hers. I asked her did she tell her how she felt? She said I did in a text. I said you need to talk to her face-to-face. The problem was, she never did confront her. The art of conversation-where has it gone? Because of the mobile phone, not only are people not conversing but not even willing to talk face-to-face as in this case!
On another occasion at a public location a woman told a gentleman sitting next to her how she liked his  mobile phone-a simple gesture that should have triggered at the least some dialogue. The gentleman glued to his iPhone 5, didn’t even looked up or said a simple “thank you.” Not that it really mattered that much to me, but perhaps you have experienced something similar yourself.  Which leads to the  question:  Are mobile phones killing the art of conversation? Are people slowly losing the natural way of speaking to one another, giving at least the appearance of people being rude or ill-mannered in the process?

The Declining Art of Conversation

There was a time when carrying a conversation was truly an art. It was something people looked forward to and most people knew how to start and engage someone in a friendly conversation. It was interesting to find out simple things like where are you from?  What are your likes or dislikes?  And what do you do? People took a genuine interest in other people. But that was then and this is now! According to the PEW Research Center, 13% of cell owners [have] pretended to be using their phone in order to avoid interacting with the people around them. It’s true that no one can argue the tremendous benefits that we receive from cell phones usage-but does it come at some cost?

The Emergence of Social Media 

Just as mobile phones has capture the world, at the same time so has social media. With the emergence of social media on the internet, and the fact that organizations are learning how to use it to reach people, we are forced to go back to reinstate this simple and valuable art- the art of engagement and conversation. Yes, social media in some ways is taking us back to “school.”

Now as for the individual on the outset of this article-did she ever engage in a real conversation with the person she was having the disagreement with? She had a difficult time doing so. She still wanted to communicate only by texting. So don’t be like this workmate- don’t be a zombie glued to a device in your hand ConversationDrop the text messaging and talk to one another-just talk! Remember it’s people that makes the world go around not technology! So make good use of your mobile device, but don’t let it kill the one of the greatest gift we have as humans-the art of conversation!

I hoped liked this post on mobile phone use and the art of conversation. What do you think? What is your observation? Please leave your comments below.

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10 Ways to Measure Social Media for Business

Is your business a social business? Companies that are making good use of social media should take the next step and measure the progress of their social media programs and campaigns. How do you know if you’re succeeding if you don’t have the numbers?

Today we’ll look at 10 ways that metrics can offer visibility into your business’s performance. You won’t want to chart all of these, but tracking a few well-chosen metrics — and incorporating the learning’s into your business processes — can contribute to the bottom line.

Customer Engagement

1. Engagement can take place offline and online, on your site, on your social networks and in real-world face-to-face events. By letting customers participate in conversations about your brand, you can improve your business, your products and your levels of service. Ultimately, customer engagement is key to improving satisfaction and loyalty rates and revenue.

Metrics to track could include:

  • Number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Number of retweets on Twitter
  • Number of comments per blog post
  • Number of external widgets embedded
  • Invaluable assets as re-distributors of content
  • Customer reviews and ratings

Note: Such customer interaction can be invaluable in fostering a culture of community and in guiding product development. In addition, endorsements can be used as testimonials in marketing materials (with permission).

Sales & Profits

2. In the end, you business’s social media efforts need to not just generate customer goodwill — it should contribute to your company’s bottom line.

Metrics to keep an eye on include:

  • Track sales from Google referrals
  • Sales from paid search
  • Sales as a result of social network mentions

Dell said it made $3 million selling products to its Twitter followers on the strength of coupons and discounts that other Twitterers gladly passed along vi-rally as tipsters. And Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” blender’s campaign on YouTube helped to drive a 500 percent increase in sales in 2010.  Just don’t expect the needle to move right away!

Search Marketing & Rankings

3. The importance of search engine optimization to your brand cannot be overstated: SEO & social media efforts should significantly increase your site’s visibility & performance in search results. It should also help you rank prominently for targeted items and increase your long-tail traffic. Identify and incorporate targeted keywords on major landing pages on your site. Strategically use keywords on social networks as well, such as Facebook. You can use links from Twitter or YouTube to claim valuable search rankings on your brand search terms. Tweets that rank for targeted keyword can lead to traffic from keywords that the site does not rank for.

Whenever someone shares content from your site on a social site, you get a link back and a submission history. Try to convert one-time visitors from Digg, StumbleUpon and other social news sites into long-term members of your community.

Traffic & Conversation Reach

4. Your business can produce the most gorgeous, well-manicured press releases in the world. But unless you get customers talking about your product or service and generating traffic to your website, micro-site or social networks, you’re missing the boat. Raw traffic is important, but you’ll want to measure traffic from segmented audiences that you’re targeting-people who are likely to follow you or more so, buy from you. Also chart the number of visitors to your social networks.

Brand Sentiment

5. The nature and purpose of public relations and external communications is changing from an industrial-era paradigm to one of facilitation and curation. Go with it — help create evangelists for your products or services among your most ardent fans. Word of mouth and the viral nature of sites like Twitter, Facebook and Digg can help shift your company’s key brand metrics.

You’ll need a more sophisticated set of metrics tools to gauge the following: Brand awareness, brand favor-ability, brand recall, propensity to buy, etc. (TV ads are measured in this way.) A positive brand associations via social media efforts can help drive clicks on paid search ads. Use a social media service to measure brand sentiment.

Public Outreach

6. The worlds of public relations, customer service and marketing are merging. Social media enables customers to interact with all channels within a company. Traditional metrics, such as column inches in newspapers and magazines, are becoming less relevant over time. Outreach to blogosphere & Twitterverse is becoming as important as outreach to media organizations. Consider creating a social media newsroom that offers bloggers and news organizations a rich set of multimedia, bullet-ed takeaways and quotes from key participants. Then track the number of mentions on social sites by using the bit.ly url shortener.

Lead Generation

7. Social media is becoming a funnel for lead generation. A number of tools now let you track business prospects through sophisticated filtering mechanisms. Use LinkedIn to connect with potential business partners and clients, and chart the rate of invitations accepted and follow-up communications acted upon. See which kinds of messaging are resonating.

Here’s an opportunity for your internal teams to work together to optimize your site for keywords and key phrases. It’s always better when potential customers come to you.

Customer Retention

8. We’re moving into an age of optimization and retention. Watch your retention rates as you start participating in social media. Over time, if your team uses social media intelligently, they should rise. Zappos, which uses Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube for its social media efforts, has exceeded $1 billion in sales. Some 75 percent of its orders are repeat customers. Make sure you monitor your repeat customers and shower them with love.

Cost Savings

9. In this age of cost-cutting, companies are looking to apply savings wherever they can. Cisco saved $250,000 by using social media rather than traditional PR and marketing to roll out its Data Center project.

Crowd sourcing has become an increasingly popular way for businesses to leverage customers and outside parties for savings. Consider how cost reductions can be applied in a way that benefits the bottom line while not infringing on worker rights or jeopardizing health and environmental standards. Then measure how each initiative contributes to cost containment.

Employee Recruitment

10. The brightest young minds coming into the workplace today live, breathe and understand social media. Show them that you’re a genuine social business and not just another company hunkering down in the wake of the social media revolution. Measure incoming employees’ sentiment about your company. What are they saying? What attracted them?

Measure exiting employees’ sentiment. Assign someone from human relations, with no stake in the matter, to conduct exit interviews. Assess their feedback — and take it to heart.

By JD Lasica of Socialmedia.biz

These are 10 ideas, but it’s not a complete list. List your ideas in the comments below.

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Avoid Bad Conversations

One of the most interesting and fun parts of having a social media site is being able to jump into any conversation you feel you can share an idea or opinion about with people from all different parts of the world. Working as a social media virtual assistant, where marketing is one of your main goals, the conversation pieces you hold are necessary. However, the quality and legitimacy of those conversations really do matter.

As much as building relationships, human-to-human, is important, the quality of those relationships is also important. You may recognize that when meeting someone in person, you want to be approachable, sophisticated, and proper. Conversations that take place on social media sites should also fit within these guidelines. Conducting yourself in a professional manner shouldn’t end until you’re not working.

It’s normal to have bad conversations and good conversations. Bad ones may consist of mono voices, endless sentences, and quirky ways of expression. Good ones could also include quirkiness, but will also include meaning, depth, and less face value.
The point here is are you paying enough attention to yourself and the way you conduct your conversations? As a social media marketer or manager, most of your clients hired you because of your ambition, goals and the way you spoke to them. They don’t have much more to go off of other than how you speak and your past track record.

When you’re alone, start thinking and ask yourself some questions. How would I sound to a complete stranger? What would I say? What would I say about myself? When you’re out and about, think about the conversation you just had with the cashier or waitress. Also think about how you speak when you are at work. Being self-aware can give you more of an intelligent and professional outlook, which is very important as a social marketing assistant.

Great conversations start with positive behavior including, thoughtfulness, sharing yourself, empathy for others, and conveying insights or ideas in a positive manner. However, even when you are starting out positive it can end up in a bad place. Here are 4 ways to avoid a bad conversation:

1. Don’t be overly blunt when asking questions.

When asking questions to another person, don’t turn into a Combat Captain. Let the questions spawn organically, not brutally. Let the conversation unfold and ask questions so it can do so, but don’t pry and pry and come off too stern. That’s scary.

2. Difference of Opinion? It’s ok, embrace it!

Instead of just trying to get your point across and only giving a basic acknowledgement of the other person’s idea or opinion, even if you hate it, say more that “yea-yea.” You want to engage the person and the conversation, whether to move them towards what you think is right or not, we’re all humans and we’re entitled to our opinions. You’ll have a much better chance of swaying them your way if you just talk about it rather than shrugging it off.

3. Don’t go overboard when talking about yourself.

The last thing a person wants to hear is a two hour conversation, where the one person speaks the entire time and it’s all about them and their life. It’s boring, wasteful, and just rude. Try to avoid this at all costs. However, in my experience, to get someone on your good side and make them feel welcome, do remember to ask questions about them. It creates a more comfortable atmosphere and portrays that you care.

4. Short, Cryptic, One Way Statements = Bad

I love being witty, wise or a smarty-pants, whatever you want to call it, but there is a time and place for things like this, such as at home or once you know a person well and they know your personality. If you continue on this way, you may come off as a bit cold or mean. I know you probably don’t intend it to be that way, but not all people are like you so it’s better to just be personable rather than disengaged and short.

Great conversations are fluid, have depth, and are stimulating. They allow for connections to be made and can inspire. As a social media assistant and marketer, language is our art and we should provide the best. Working on the art of conversation can help you personally and professionally and overall, enrich your daily life.

By Dawn Pigoni of http://besocialworldwide.com

 

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