In social media, speaking without listening is malpractice

In “The Hunt for Red October,” a character describes to the protagonist Jack Ryan how Russian subs are sending out many sonar pings but, at the speed they are going, can’t actually listen and use the sonar to locate anything.

Too often, this is how “influencers” use social media: to shout, and not to listen.

LinkedIn is not a megaphone. X (nee Twitter) is not a megaphone. Instagram is not a megaphone. Neither are blogs. Social media is conversation, not shouting.

If you use these tools to share insights, you must listen for the response. And part of your job is to respond to those who comment.


  • Followers who ask for and never receive a response will tire of you.
  • Commenters who raise interesting issues deserve a response.
  • You could learn something from those who respond.
  • You could find other worthwhile thinkers in your space.
  • If trolling or pointless name-calling breaks out in response to your post, you must delete it, block it, or shut it down. If you use the social web, you should police it for garbage.

If you have time to use the social web, you must budget time to notice and respond to comments. If you’re too busy or too famous, you can designate people to respond on your behalf. But failing to notice what happens in the wake of your posts is malpractice.

If social media is important to you, learn to listen. It’s not just good manners. It will make you smarter.

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One Comment

  1. I quit following one guy’s essays because he didn’t accept comments. I couldn’t even let him know why I had stopped following him.