Real Time Listening in Digital Media for People Leaders

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In Paradigm Flip, I introduced three types of listening in digital media for people leaders to monitor the online conversation about their business or non-profit and it’s industry:

1. Real Time: A real-time monitor streams content as it occurs in real-time online, from a specific source.

2. Comprehensive: The comprehensive monitor captures new content, anywhere publicly available online, but runs in batches. So you might not see it for days or even weeks after the content posted.

3. Analytic: Analytic listening is similar to comprehensive, but applies a layer of analysis and rolls up the comprehensive content.

A lot of people ask how to configure these listening tools. So today, I’m going to show you an example of a free, real-time listening tool configuration.

The real-time monitor shows you content as it emerges, usually specific to one platform, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.  If you read Paradigm Flip, this is exactly how I caught the “Obama’s Dead Grandmother incident” in the beginning of the book.

The video above shows you everything you need. I also wrote out the directions below, with links to the relevant sites. If you have any questions or additional suggestions for listening online, please, add them to the comments below!

How to Listen Real Time in Digital Media

1. Create a Twitter account if you don’t already have one.

2. Create a free, Hootsuite account, linking it to your Twitter account.

  • If you only plan to monitor Twitter, also check out Tweetdeck.

3. In the Hootsuite Dashboard, click “Add a Stream”.

4. Select the twitter account and click on Search.

5. Enter the relevant search terms for your brand or organization name.

  • For assistance with search terms, click “Show Examples” or visit and click Operators or Advanced Search.
  • Click “Add Stream”

6. Repeat step 5 for each monitor you’d like to have. I recommend streams for:

  • Brand / Organization mentions
  • Industry mentions
  • Mentions of your competitors
  • Mentions of employees

7. If possible, place the Hootsuite screen of monitors on a separate screen.

Expansion Possibilities

Remember, Hootsuite is available on your mobile device too, and it synchronizes your streams. So you can take your monitor with you anywhere. Once you get the hang of Twitter monitoring, check out the options for the other major platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn…).  If you’re new to social media, make you spend a lot time listening first, before engaging.

Question: What other recommendations do you have for listening online?


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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