Classical ideal feedback model. The feedback is negative if B < 0.Image via Wikipedia

We’ve all heard the high pitched squeal that results from feedback from speakers. And I’m pretty sure most of you would agree that it’s annoying. It’s not something you want to hear.

Feedback occurs when a microphone picks up it’s own sound from the speaker. The sound gets trapped in a loop (microphone picks it up from the speaker, amplifies it and sends it to the speaker, where it gets sent back to the microphone, etc), which causes that annoying whine that we all know (and most hate).

The thing is, with the power of Web 2.0, it’s very easy to get trapped in our own ‘feedback loop’. The web allows you to amplify your voice. With blogs, podcasting, Twitter and all the other Web 2.0 tools, you can speak and be heard.

But social media is a conversation. It’s not a one way broadcast. Yes, the tools help to amplify what you have to say, but if you’re just trying to build yourself up, it’s not going to work. You’ll just get annoying.

Companies which blog and only plug their products aren’t going to get much value from social media. Companies which blog and listen to what their customers say back will.

Same for individuals. You’re more likely to gain from social media if you’re listening to what others say, and feeding off each other, inspiring each other. If you’re just amplifying yourself over and over, you won’t gain value, and you won’t be adding value either. You’ll just be making noise.

How do you keep yourself from getting trap in a ‘feedback loop’?