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19

Jun

A day of social media in the capital

As it so happened, on Wednesday I attended two – completely unrelated – social media events. The first was Tee Morris’s Speak Geek to Me: Social Media in a Nutshell, held at Te Papa. The second was an afternoon of arm waving, head scratching and brainstorming at a Social Media BarCamp organised by Emma at Ideas Shop and hosted by the Massey University Department of Communication, Journalism and Marketing.

At first I wondered if I might be overdoing it with two in one day, but it turns out I’d quite like to do it all over again. By the end of the day, I was just getting started. It’s great to see these sorts of seminars and events being initiated and really encouraging to see the levels of interest and enthusiasm all around.

Tee put forward a powerful case for social media, and, unlike a lot of social media practitioners who are so wrapped up in their sphere that they can’t see the wood for the trees, Tee took a step back from it all, defined it and did a bit of a whistle stop tour for a varied audience of 200 or so.

If you’re having a dinnertime conversation and social media comes up (or the subject of Facebook, the “800-pound gorilla of social media,” as Tee calls it, or blogging, or Twitter, and so on), you’ll either be talking to a convert, or, perhaps more likely, someone who says “I just don’t get it.” And then the whole Emperor’s New Clothes argument ensues. I’ve had that argument many times myself, and sometimes it’s a hard argument to negotiate. That’s where someone like Tee comes in handy.

I think the three key messages I took away from Tee’s presentation were:

  1. Social media isn’t a substitute for actual physical contact; it’s a tool to enable physical contact.
  2. Do what works for you. There’s no point playing with every new toy if none of them actually works for you. Jack of all trades is often a master of none and there are only so many hours in the day, after all.
  3. Be wary of anyone who describes themselves as a social media expert, and even more sceptical of self appointed social media gurus. They’re most likely the ones who say, “I’m on 50 social networking sites,” and then proceed to bamboozle people and perpetuate the Emperor’s New Clothes stereotype.

Tee’s (or TeeMonster on Twitter) presentation will be available on YouTube shortly. I’ll post a link to it in the comments section when it’s up.

In the meantime, for a bit of light Friday relief, check out Flutter (the new Twitter) here.

As for BarCamp. A few people looked at me blankly when I said I was going. What’s a BarCamp? In summary it’s ‘… an ad hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants who are the main actors of the event.’

About 40 of us spent part of an afternoon in various sessions, and I got the feeling the interchange of ideas could have gone on for days if we’d had days to spare. In my session, I asked what makes a good corporate blog. Is there such a thing? Are we heading in the right direction? (And I still want to know, so if you have any thoughts, be sure to post a comment.)

The whole experience was quite addictive – it’s not often you have that many likeminded people gathered in a room, offering freely of themselves, without agenda, to help you out. And – hokey as it may sound – I came away with a renewed sense of purpose and determination. I couldn’t wait to get back to our web redevelopment project and our blog.  I wanted to look at ways to get better at doing this stuff, and doing it for the right reasons.

As a company, we’re only starting out, and in many ways we’re learning as we go. At the end of the day it’s a new frontier that we’re all gradually breaking into, and no one has all the answers – and, as Tee would admonish, we need to be wary of the people who say they do.

Posted by: Katy Sweetman, Marketing Director, Empired Group | 19 June 2009

Tags: BarCamp, Social Media


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