Audible, Social Media, and Critical Exchange

None of us knows how to engage with our critics.

June 4, 2014

I like the people at Audible.com.

In the limited times that I’ve spoken to Audible folks I’ve found them to be fellow audiobook geeks.  Professionals dedicated to spreading the good word of the spoken book.  Amen.

And I’m always happy when whoever runs Audible’s Twitter feed @audible_com tweets out something that I’ve written about audiobooks.  They have 158K followers.   We audiobook converts are an insanely passionate bunch.

I was not really surprised when Audible declined to tweet about my post 3 Downsides of Audible's Audiobook Monopoly.

My goal was of course to start a conversation with Audible and its customers.  That Audible would understand that its most loyal customers are those that demand the most.  That we ask the most critical questions, and expect the most, out of those companies and institutions that we care most about.

Audible may be especially unlikely to engage in an honest and critical conversation on social media given that it is owned by Amazon.  Amazon says nothing to nobody.  

The last thing I’d want is some bright social media person at Audible to  get fired because he or she tweeted something critical, asking for the larger community to respond and debate the points being made.

Nor is Audible alone is declining to enter into critical conversations.

How does your college, university, or company deal with opinions that you don’t like?

I highly doubt that your college, university, or company will tweet an article, op-ed, or blog post that is critical of your operations?

My intuition is that we may have some ways to go in figuring out how to engage with social media.

In my case with Audible, the critiques that I offered came clearly from a place of affection and identification. 

I have 428 audiobooks in my Audible library.

If you search “Audible” on Inside Higher Ed you will see that I’ve written about Audible 73 times in the last 5 years.  

I think that you should go to Audible this moment and become a Platinum subscriber.  At $9.56 a book there is no better audiobook deal on the planet.

So here is my modest proposal:  Those communications professionals that control the social media channels, the Twitter and Facebook feeds and the websites and the blogs, should be willing to utilize these platforms for constructive engagement with your best critics.

Don’t shy away from difficult discussions.  

Be confident in your product or service, but approach what your college, university, or company does with a growth mindset.  

Your social media critic might just have some good ideas.  

There might be people in your college, university, or company who may agree with the critiques - and may be interested in making changes.  Sometimes an outside critic can spur action.

Is your college, university, or company practicing this idea already?

How can we get more comfortable with dialogue and debate on social media?


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