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Comment is Free

October 17, 2011 - 3 Comments

Declared a newspaper editor, at the turn of the last Century. Little could he have known that 100 years on , the press would be read online by millions and that comments, made by its readers, would increasingly become a clear indicator of the success – or not – of the content.

If you’re anything like me, it’s the articles, reviews and features that create the most discussion, that are the most interesting.

Whenever I log onto a news site, I’m drawn to the articles that have generated most comment. And more often than not, I’ll even skip to the comments section, before I’ve finished reading the full article.

The online Economist, ranks all articles according to the number of comments received. The print edition will give you a list of articles as they appear in the magazine. Read it online, however, and you will know at one glance that last week’s piece on Germany’s role in supporting the European economy received more than 1800 reactions, thoughts, ideas and suggestions from people all around the world.

Guess which article I read first?

Web 2.0 is giving us all sorts of tools to measure how interesting, relevant and thought-provoking something is – by exploiting a simple human trait.

Many of us love a good debate and we are curious to know what other people really think. From comment boards, to Twitter, Facebook to Youtube and back, it’s never been easier and more relevant to have your say, no matter who you are. And the more of us there are, the richer and fuller the debate becomes

At Cisco we pride ourselves on the many ways we communicate with our colleagues. We have wikis and blogs, comment boards, , discussion forums, online communities, chat rooms and surveys.  Everyone can have their say online.  But, what about meetings? What happens when we actually sit down to a dedicated debate?

When you attend meetings do you notice how inclusive it is?  Do you ever feel excluded?  What could you do to get the most out of meetings you attend?

Maybe there are some good habits we can adopt from the way we communicate online; that we can apply to our behaviour when interacting face to face.

In your next meeting, why not think of ways to ensure that everyone has a chance to add their thoughts or perspective? Just because someone is silent, it doesn’t mean they have nothing to add. If you are leading that meeting, how can you ensure that you don’t miss something really valuable from someone who is simply waiting for an opportunity to contribute?

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  1. Communication is vital, and the online environment offers us many tools to express ourselves both by remaining anonymous, and by using our true identity. This duality can be an advantage, but also a disadvantage.

    • MIa, I think this piece is trying to address this point exactly. You’re right – the “distance” or anonymity of the web does empower us to get involved when under different circumstances we might prefer to keep our counsel – for fear of reprisal, criticism, negative feedback … whatever. However I think it´s true that we can learn from our behaviour online – the good stuff, the openness, the levelling effect that it gives us as users. That when we are interacting face to face – in business situations for instance – we might try to approximate the online environment. Instead of push or pull, we should aim for greater interaction

  2. Well I agree Cisco has enabled all the ordinary user’s to express their opinions that make their presence felt. It’s something very cool about Cisco that they keep the consumers feedback in their consideration while designing a more innovative product that fulfills the need of end user’s effectively.