|Did you ever have that idea? You know, the one that started off as a random thought that sounded so perfect when it rattled around in your head? How the idea got parsed, shared or acted on are another thing altogether, and this, is where the inspiration to this post may be found. Namely, the inaction that follows many brilliant ideas that one could claim as there own.|
Except for the fact that someone else acts on that idea and will gladly take all the credit for you.
One of the great things about social media (and there are many) is how opinion and insight become a part of the collective conscience. And the amazing way organic thoughts and opinions are co-opted rather simply through the function of sharing, and facilitated through the break-neck speed of syndication. One of the best reasons to monitor social media has to do with the way knowledge transfer and shifts in cultural awareness can potentially translate into new and marketable insights and technologies.
There are many everyday examples of social media sites that have taken those thoughts and ideas shared by the crowds to the next level. In the category of pro-consumer resources, there are, to name just a few, review/testimonial sites, fan sites and hack sites (in the context of a piece or body of work that produces something that is desired, wanted or needed by a community of users). The "hack" phenomenon is something that continues to fascinate because it gives us all a peek into both, the resourceful nature of consumers, and the democratized tendencies of social media.
So should it stand to reason that if a consumer needs to take their own initiative to make consumer goods function or work better, that this happens because companies aren't listening to what people actually want or need? Perhaps, and I think there is some truth in the details, especially when looking at the example of fan-sites and how they are able to capture the imagination and creativity of online audiences in ways that the companies who produce the goods being hacked never dreamed possible. In such situations, there is an inclination and maybe an overall tendency to overlook or shut out the ideas that take shape and form online.
It also stands to be reasoned that not all thoughts and opinions are going to be the next best social media idea, however neither should all of it be dismissed at wholesale. The value of having a trend, industry or brand monitoring strategy in place is found in gauging those opinions - it follows that the listening, teasing out of promise and meaning is where the best social media ideas are born. I've seen it go both ways, and more than I'd care to share in the direction of corporate blinkers and muted hearing coming in the way of something great.
Don't get caught looking away, otherwise what happens is the same deflated feeling that overcomes someone when they have a "hey, that was my idea" moment. Except when it happens with a social media idea that could have been born with a little investment in monitoring online thoughts or opinions, it's an alarm of lost opportunity that rings around the world. And you can bet that everyone online that you wouldn't want to see or hear it will be paying attention and taking notes.
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