Since companies have discovered the power of online communications, they're more and more in favour of "having a discussion" with their audience. But what does that really mean?
To most, it seems, it means they talk at their audience and use the web as an additional marketing channel. They push polished messages, promote their brands and occasionally write a comment. They don't ask, they don't listen, they don't engage with their audience.
That's not a discussion - it's a speech. A shiny broadcast with all the right messages but no impact.
Online discussions aren't much different than those offline. Take the time to listen. Make the effort to hear. But most of all, show that you care.