The Spectrum of Listening
Although there is a general consensus on the need for listening in public diplomacy, a clear definition of this activity and clear parameters defining how listening should be conducted and evaluated has largely been missing. In this chapter I describe the “spectrum of listening,” a framework that makes explicit public diplomacy listening approaches, ranging from the ideal type of apophatic listening to surreptitious listening activities. In between these two extremes, there are four approaches for listening in public diplomacy: active, tactical, listening in, and background/casual listening. The spectrum brings epistemological awareness in public diplomacy listening activities, in particular in relation to social media listening. I argue that the spectrum of listening can help practitioners to rethink listening as a range of methodological options and as a representational act, rather than as a mere tool shaped and driven only by technological advancements.