Oh What Big Eyes You Have! The Difference Between Looking And Seeing

We have discussed the importance of listening, the differences between active and passive listening, and responding to what you are listening to, but how many of you think about how people look at versus see your engagement and / or content? Does it make a difference? I think so. Let’s start with the definitions for a level-set:

To Look

- (verb) To direct one’s attention (towards)

It is extremely easy to hit publish and have whatever you want to say out there in the world at whatever time you desire. The fancy digital activation strategies you may deploy to spread your message across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or any other social media / community platform, may get you in front of eyeballs, but are they the right eyeballs?  People may look at your content, but does it hold their attention long enough for them to see it and take any other action?

To See

- (verb) to perceive with the eyes or mentally; understand

I look at a lot of content. I am constantly browsing Zite and Flipbook for headlines and opening paragraphs that capture my interest. From there, I do not immediately share across my social networks because I have yet to understand the value for myself. I bookmark the content and continue to browse. Periodically through the day, I will stop and read the content I have saved. Occasionally, the content will be deleted after initial read. If it is not deleted, I tag and further classify the content. I ask myself about what I have learned and the value of such information or perspective. If I can ask and answer clarifying questions about the content and others are able to get or add value, then I share the content or expand on the idea by creating content on my social properties.

Mindful Observation

Living in Boston and driving a car, you have to share the road with several cyclists. This was a huge change for me and how I was used to cruising down the highways in Dallas. I would look at, but fail to see or recognize the cyclists. (Don’t worry, no one was hurt, but I am sure hearts were racing.) The content we produce (blogs, tweets, videos, whitepapers or dialogue on any platform), shares the road with a lot of competing interests. We need to build paths for our content to travel and expectations for how our content will share the space, so the community can easily stay present, observe the content from a distance and experience as they desire, when they desire.

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