So, unless some miracle happens, I’ll be blogging this day offline and posting it tonight when I get back at Suw’s. There seems to be no wifi provided for conference attendees unless you are willing to shell out £25 for a daily pass. (Actually, it seems there were a certain number of passes available.)
I would honestly have expected an event titled “Blogging 4 Business” to be “blog-aware” enough to realise that providing free wifi to connected people will encourage blogging of the event. Granted, most of the people I see in the room are taking paper notes (not that there is anything wrong with that) — this doesn’t seem to be an audience of bloggers. But wouldn’t it be an intelligent move to encourage the blogging public to “do their thing” at such an event?
I missed most of the first keynote and panel, spending time in the lobby chatting with Lee and Livio of Headshift (my kind hosts today), and Adam.
Panel 1 incomplete and possibly inaccurate notes (they’re more snippets than a real account of what was said, partly because I don’t understand everything — audio and accents)
How do you respond to crisis online? (cf. Kryptonite)
Ged Carroll: In the 90s, faulty lock was broadcast on consumer TV. Mistake: didn’t tell the blogs that they were monitoring what was being said in that space, and that they were working on a solution (they were in fact acknowledging the problem, but hadn’t communicated that state of things to the public).
Moderator (Paul Munford?): how do you prevent something like that from being so predominently visible (search etc.)?
Darren Strange: owns his name. Same if you type “Microsoft Office”, his blog comes up pretty quickly too. Blogs attract links, good for search engine ranking.
Question: brands need ambassadors, OK, but where’s the ongoing material to blog about Budweiser?
Tamara Littleton: brand involvement in the site keeps things alive and happening. Reward ambassadors with merchandise.
steph-note: on my way to London, I was reading the Cluetrain Manifesto (yeah, I’m a bit late on that train) and was particularly inspired by the part about how most of traditional marketing is trying to get people to hear a “message” for which there is actually no “audience” (nobody really wants to hear it), and so ends up coming up with ways to shove it into people’s faces and make them listen. This idea is kind of trotting in the back of my mind these days, and it’s colouring what I’m getting out of this event too.
Question: transparency is a big thing… “creating ambassadors” (*steph-note: one “creates” ambassadors?!)… where is the space for disclosure?
Tamara Littleton: it’s about creating an environment, not saying “if you do this you’ll get that reward”. Rewards could be access to information about the product. Invite people to take part in something.
Ged Carroll: two types of rewards: merchandise etc, and also reputation-ego. Doesn’t have to be tangible.
Darren Strange: trying to have non-techie people try new releases of Vista, etc. Installed everything on a laptop, shipped it to the people’s house, and gave it to them. “Take the laptop, use it, blog if you want to, write good or bad things, or send it back to us, or give it to charity, or keep it, we don’t really care.” Huge debate about this. Professional journalists will be used to this kind of “approach”, but bloggers are kind of amateurs at this, they don’t know how to react. Disclosure: just state when you received something. steph-note: and if you’re uncomfortable, say it too!
Panel: Lee Bryant, Adam Tinworth, David ??, Olivier Creiche
steph-note: got wifi, will publish
Lee presenting first. Headshift have quite a bunch of nice products in the social software department. “It aint what you do it’s the way that you do it, and that’s what gets results.” (Bananarama)
Concrete business use cases.
Olivier talking now. “To blog or not to blog?” Simple answer: blog. Serious Eats. Citrix: a lot of knowledge disappeared when people left the company — a lot of knowledge out there that is only waiting to be gathered out of people’s e-mail boxes. Used Movable Type for that.
Another case study: AEP, also wanted to prevent e-mails from being the central repository of company knowledge (e-mails are not shared spaces!) Start small, experimental. Need to find the right people to start with. Another one: Arcelor/Mittal merger. Decided to communicate publicly about the lot of stuff. Video channel. Wanted to be very open about what they were doing and how, and answer questions. Good results, good press coverage.
David: allowing lawyers to share their knowledge and expertise, not just in their offices. Blogs, RSS, wikis allows time-critical sharing of information. steph-note: like I’ll be publishing this as soon as the panel is over… Catch things on the fly and make them available over a very short period of time.
Adam: starting to roll out business blogs just to allow communication. Bringing about profound change. steph-note: very bad account of what Adam said, sorry — audio issues. Other problems: educational issues. Best to not force people to use this or that tool, but open up. Share. Get people inside the teams to show their collegues what they’re using.
Question (moderator): a lot of evangelising going on in terms of blogs. Do blogs/wikis etc deliver on the promise of breaking down barriers, etc, when it comes to internal communication.
Lee: not a simple black/white situation. It comes down to people. Big problem: people bear a high cost to interact with communication systems and get no feedback. But with social tools (lightweight), we get immediate feedback. Integration with existing corporate systems.
Question: is social media the end of communications as we know it.
Lee: every generation of technology sees itself as a ground-breaker. But they’re all layered on top of each other. We have technology that delivers on the initial promise of the web (equal publication, sharing, etc) (steph-note: yay! I keep saying that!)
steph-note: more northern English please 😉
David: now, using the web to create communities of practice, getting lawyers to communicate with people unthought of before.
Question: how do you deal with outdated material.
Lee: with mature social software implementations, any piece of information gathers its own context. So what is relevant to this time tends to come to the surface, so out-dated material sinks down. More about information surfacing when it’s time than getting out-dated stuff out of the way.
David: social tools make it very easy to keep your content up-to-date (which was a big problem with static sites).