for me, the most interesting post i read in the past week was from brian solis pondering is twitter a conversation or broadcast platform? solis asserts that
sometimes it’s effective to also maintain a presence simply by reading, listening, and sharing relevant and timely information without yet having to directly respond to each and every tweet – perhaps replying to only the critical or influential individuals that may need immediate information or direction to steer strategic activity.this is something i've thought for some time. indeed, one of the promises of social media is speaking with our consumers not at them. to me that's not just about literally speaking with them, but also speaking where our consumers are speaking. that's still with them, just a different way. traditional media speaks at them in place where they aren't speaking. it's a semantic difference but two equally legitimate strategies.
a brand or company is but another voice in the 'conversation-verse.' no more or less rightful to be there than a regular person. whether that voice is just expressing themselves or dialoguing is irrrelevant. and not just because (as solis points out) right now, a small minority are actually doing it, but because conversations are not always appropriate, warranted or necessary. sometimes you just post something.
it's more about presence than anything. certainly a great brand presence is a mix of sharing and conversing that's different for each one. we needn't always be conversing with them, rather giving them something to converse about around our brand or company. if we feel it necessary to contribute to that conversation, then so be it, but it's more important that they are doing it amongst themselves.