Information overload is a very big problem. There are so many social conversations happening so fast that you can't keep track of them in your mind or on a piece of paper. You need to start organizing and creating silos of information you think have some value. This is one of the hardest parts of listening, deciding how to organize the information.
Searches engines have changed the way we find information. It was very difficult to access information before the Internet was invented. We now live in a real-time world of continually updated information, which we have access to at almost at any point during our day. We come into contact with so many Internet marketing messages and there are hundreds of ways to find what we're trying to answer, that businesses have to be listening and contributing.
Conversations now take place in a virtual, always on, environment. Recommendations that used to be said word-of-mouth are now talked about on blogs or twitter. Complaints, that if heard, were filed through a returns or customer service department. Communication has changed and us, as a society tune out most of the other messages through some form of technology. You know what I mean, think about what's in your living room or in your car.
It's all about listening. We're now transforming how we (marketers) gather information about the consumer and how we monitor them through the entire buying cycle. The end goal of our efforts is making sure they become brand/company advocates (the ultimate form of marketing). They must need, love, desire your product. It takes a great product to achieve success, but if you don’t have outstanding customer service, you created a bad product.