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June 05, 2008



Papa bear is almost forced to keep his mouth shut by his very size. Like you said, 'People will always speak a little more freely about you if they don't realize you're in the room.'

Sometimes, Papa can do more. I can't remember the guy's name (Frank?) over at Dell, but he's making some serious headway. Then again, Papa might have just sent "Mama" in to handle the kids. Lots of Papas do that.


Being a big guy 6'6" I realize the nuances of being a pappa bear and yes I do know when and where to speak and I also realize how to as well. I notice that some don't like to be talked down to even if they are short.

Rudy Kehler

I don't see this as a conversation. When papa-bear responds to the market, he's not listening for the purpose of engaging, he's listening for the purpose of _capitalizing_ on what he perceives. He is all about self interest while the nattering he monitors via polls, blogs, w.h.y., is true discourse. People processing their experience.
I think this is why 'lurking' sounds so creepy. It is. When we are unaware of the listener's motivation or intention, which would be revealed if the-lurk would participate, we are legitimately cautious.

Phyllis A Rogers

Lurking is such a loaded word. I see it more as observing. I don't mind Papa Bear observing me, especially if it leads to me getting more of what I want or like or leads to Papa Bear making the world a better place in some small way. If he benefits from it too, alright with me.

Jean Gogolin

I've always been curious about why listening and observing -- two things intelligent people and companies do all the time without ill intent -- got to be called "lurking" in the blogosphere. Hiding under the windowsill or in the bushes is lurking. Listening and observing in order to learn are not.

Steve Dodd

Very interesting perspective. There are a bunch of companies doing social media analysis that don't need big money to use. Some of this technology is really cool. Check out www.Radian6.com, www.sysomos.com, www.Buzzlogic.com for starters. Like with social media in general, Papa Bear has lots of choices!

Sonia Simone

Yeah, Steve, that's what sort of spurred this post--I think some of the technology is very interesting. And like it or not, it's here, so we might as well get used to it.

Jean/Phyllis/Rudy, I suspect it makes us uncomfortable because we're not conscious of the listening. Sort of like when you get halfway through that hilarious story about a co-worker, than realize she's standing behind you. It might not have been an unkind story at all, but it's still a little unsettling.

Sonia Simone

Oh, p.s., Jon, I love "Papa might have just sent "Mama" in to handle the kids. Lots of Papas do that." Fabulous.

Judy Dunn

I definitely do not think Papa Bear's behavior makes him creepy. I myself listen in a lot with the intention of learning what the solopreneur's issues are so I can address them better. Sometimes I chime in like Mama Bear and sometimes I don't.

And many, many more people read my blog than comment but I don't consider them lurkers, either.

I think no matter who we are (and what size) , we all have the right to look, listen and learn.

Janice C Cartier

This has to sink in for awhile with me. I think it's smart to watch, observe, use both ears. Makes sense.
Market responsiveness, how can that be bad?
There is that slight creepiness factor if someone had ill intent.
Or now that you all have me thinking, would I want someone to hear the things I say in conversation? Would we self censor more knowing a Papa Bear is in the room?


I'd never have time for an active conversation with all the blogs I read. I still think it's communication though.

My major way of listening is the blogs I subscribe to - so I guess this isn't sneaky.



JetBlue does it, then gets involved, too. TypePad used to lurk and get involved, though I'm pretty convinced from my own experiences that they've pulled away from that. Zappos does it. I have a couple of corporations watching me regularly (as opposed to hunting for mentions of their own name), though I don't quite know what they're looking for.

I don't think Papa's sneaky at all, I think he's savvy. I also think that getting Mama involved when it's called for is brilliant, for making an individual happy and for spreading word-of-mouth. Why can't a big company sincerely want to help you and sincerely want helping you, to help them? Isn't that what every small business owner wants? If I love golf and open a pro shop, I'm glad to share my knowledge but I also want to make sales, right? Why is that slimy as part of a corporate plan?

I'd like to see more of that small-biz sincerity infiltrate big biz, rather than having people misunderstand it as something conniving or unattractive.

Yes, I think getting your gum to the troops because of what you read online is communication. It's not a conversation, but it is communication. You talked, we heard, we talk to a wider group about what we heard.

(I can't set an alert for my name. Apparently, I'm sharing it with a rather popular chick.)

Looking forward to Baby Bear.




Ja, ich denke immer Ihr Zahnfleisch, um die Truppen durch das, was Sie online lesen ist Kommunikation. Es ist kein Gespräch, oyun oyna aber es ist Kommunikation. Sie sprachen, hörten wir, sprechen wir mit einer größeren Gruppe, was wir hören.

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Social media have several advantage in any kind of business either it is small or big business, the most important is you know how to used and handle it carefully.

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