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Rivers run upstream.

We’ve been known to deliver passionate speeches as to what exactly makes our profession our own. A specific set of skills, the incredible amount of work we’ve been involved with in the past or even the company we work for. Yes, you’re amazing and awe inspiring. Yet for some reason someone felt the need to write you this post, consider it a letter.

The overextension of your networked influence has finally reached some sort of breaking point (I refuse to use the ordinary “tipping point” phrasing) where you’re no longer in control of your own range. You’ve created a jurisdiction in regards to your own internet persona, because that’s what you are.

persona (per·so·na) – the aspect of someone’s character that is presented to or perceived by others

But that’s not the point of this rant.

Part of our everyday life, specially if you are in the business of communicating or even shaping strategy for brand communication, involves listening. Listening is not only key to actually understanding, through process, what’s being said or is going on around you but is a little bit more than we give it credit for.

Listening involves commitment. You are liable from the moment you wake up.

Letting go of our first activity of the day is considered important when shaping communication, as we tell clients to listen but refuse to do it ourselves. We talk and expect feedback only to do it all over again, it’s a one step process. We request feedback to ignore it only to find that the feedback received in a first instance was indeed important and significant towards our own development. Revolutions are shaped in this way, and they’re one hell of a role model to follow. Do you think anything actually got done ever by listening to the majority of the people or by actually shaping issues and subjects in question? Awful I know but take some time and think about it.

Think about the last coup you read about in The New York Times. Simple instructions that require action (See those “action required” emails in your inbox?) kill your ability to simplify and digest most of the information you’re presented with nowadays. Media as a whole has become a giant call to action, change channels, visit website, answer email or text. Be free, delete.

We’re unable to listen anymore.

We’re glutted with information and have begun directly to ignore it all. Teaching ourselves that “Mark all as read” and the imposing yet attractive burden of declaring “Inbox Bankruptcy” are tangible strategies to avoid information we’re doing exactly that, avoiding information to avoid the overwhelming feeling that, whether we want it or not we’re all human beings and we’ve outgrown our own capabilities.

Look at yourself and all that email.