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Years ago, I had a job working the front desk at my local YMCA and it afforded me the opportunity to truly understand just how important it is to appreciate cultural diversity in the world around us. Over the 10+ years working there, I interacted with a host of different ethnicities, races, and cultures, all with their own unique perspectives, ideas, and opinions. Living in a country founded on the principles of multiculturalism, I often felt privileged that at a young age I had the opportunity to view life through a cultural prism, respecting ideals and beliefs that may have been contrary to my own but helped to mold the way I related to others.
Last week after sharing a blog post through Google + a friend of mine made a comment that she always knew what blog posts and related content I read faithfully because I kept sharing it from the same sources. At first I dismissed the notion that I had slipped into content consumption tunnel vision mode and then I stepped back and looked at my Google + and Twitter stream and realized she was right – I had become somewhat of a broken record, casting a rather myopic cloud over what I read and shared and who I followed.
As we all know, there is a mind blowing amount of content related to social media and public relations encircling us and with a limited amount of hours in a day, many find themselves desperately trying to keep up with the deluge of advice, opinions, observations, and lessons to be learned.
Each new day brings innumerable blog posts, articles, podcasts, white papers, webinars, tweet chats, etc. that swirl around our heads vying for our attention and consumption. In the information age when it often seems that everyone and everything is competing for our attention, we make conscious choices on what we read, share and engage with to help propel our professional development and add value for our clients and company.
In a profession where we are often tasked with constructing communication policies where it is essential to show empathy for customer concerns and respect different points of view, how wide of a net are you casting in your own content consumption? Are you more likely to read a post from a familiar source or stray off the map and dive into the unknown?
If you are like me, each day you may have a content consumption routine that takes you to all the familiar and popular sites for news and industry analysis (e.g. – Mashable, PR Week, PR Daily, Spin Sucks, Ad Age, PR News – just to name a few). You may also occasionally consume less high profile but still familiar blog posts or news feeds for tidbits of information and insight that the major players may not be covering.
But how often do you consciously explore and seek out new perspectives (especially ones that you may not necessarily agree with) from those who don’t write for the top sites to help build that well rounded mindset that will aid your ability to be a more effective communicator to the diverse community around you?
Diverse content consumption builds character and helps us to be more sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others – key communication traits that often subconsciously steer our methodologies and make us more effective at what we do.
How are you injecting diversity into your daily content consumption? Share some strategies and experiences with us.