Last week, I told you about an easy way to alienate your customers (feel free to change the word customer to “reader”, “viewer”, “disciple”, or whatever fits). At the time, I promised to reach out to Arianna Huffington and Sarah O’Leary and ask for comment on the decision one of them had made to pontificate in public but disallow comments.

Ms. Huffington, either because she’s Arianna Huffington or because she’s more important than Sarah O’Leary, didn’t reply. Ms. O’Leary did, and her terse response plus the Huffington Post’s allowing stream-of-conciousness on their web site as indicated here suggests that she was the one who decided that you should hear what she has to say but then sit by, mute. (Note the links to Ms. O’Leary’s piece on the left and my Tweet on the right, about a third of the way down the page)

As Sarah O’Leary says to me here, we’re all entitled to our opinions, and if hers is that a communications expert ought to interact that way, then I’ll not contradict her, and I wish her the same luck she wished me.

But as I believe Dr. Martin Luther King would have said had he lived to see the world we occupy in 2010, communications is a two-way street, and we all need to take everyone else’s opinion seriously.

As you try to enact business change in this era of social networking, please keep Dr. King’s ideas of tolerance and openness in your mind, your heart, and your plans.

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