Listen, Explore, Learn.


Dear 2015,

You were good to me. You gave me many laughs and many memories. You challenged me, and sometimes I didn’t like you very much. You made me do things I wasn’t comfortable doing. You took people from me and gave me others. You introduced me to firsts and hopefully some lasts. Most of all, you made me grow. And let’s be real, if 2016 is going to live up to the hype of 2015, some things need to change. So let’s just get right to it. This year, my resolution is to Listen, Explore, & Learn.


It’s sometimes difficult, especially for children, to grasp the difference between the words “listen” and “hear.” The difference lies in the intention. Hearing is unintentional, while listening has an active purpose. Take a metric such as social shares. To me, that’s more social media hearing than social media listening. What does 500 shares mean without knowing what was said about you? I want to spend 2016 as a better listener, and I want to accomplish this goal by getting to know our people. My Listening Resolution is to conduct audience research, both quantitative and qualitative. I want to gather data from focus groups to better understand how and why students, alumni, and anyone else interacts with our content. I want to uncover what we’re doing wrong and what we’re doing right. Listen more, hear less.


Social media is a journey. There’s unforeseen twists and turns and bumps in the road. And if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that you’ve just got to hold on tight. But you know that well-traveled road that everyone takes? It’s smooth. It’s comfortable. And the view is nice. More often than I should, I take that road. I go down that route because the data says to. I take that photo because I know it always gets “likes,” but what else is out there that I’m missing? I resolve to explore more. To discover new things and new places and new people in Fort Collins. To tell the stories of these people, places, and things. To trail blaze. Do not be complacent.


In 2016, I need to hit the gym. The brain gym. I want to put on, like, 15lbs of pure knowledge.

Here’s what’s on my 2016 reading list so far:

  • Contagious by Jonah Berger.
    • This book is all about why things catch on. Pretty convenient for an industry that thrives on crafting shareable content, right? In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission.
  • Everybody Writes by Ann Handley.
    • This book argues that writing matters more, not less, in our world of LOLs and #TBTs. Our words are our currency.
  • Clear Out the Static in Your Attic by Rebecca Bridge & Isla McKetta.
    • “Your mind is like your attic — it’s already filled with everything you need to write your story or poem — a lifetime’s worth of material. We’re here to help you take your memories along with the wealth of words that are already part of your life and assemble them into stories, poems, and essays.
  • Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose by Nicole Fenton & Kate Kiefer Lee.
    • Topics include the following: finding your voice and adapting your tone for the situation; and building trust and fostering relationships with readers.

Seek out knowledge.


P.S. – Lookin’ good, 2016.