MediaCampLondon was a very organised unconference (and I mean that in a good way), kudos to Chris Hambly, Social Media Mafia, and the rest of the team that enabled it to happen. A big thank you to SAE for providing a great venue. It was a little disconcerting for me, as over twenty years ago I planned to study at SAE to be an audio engineer. Then I discovered the Internet and the on-line world and the rest, as they say, is history (mine at least).
There were familiar faces (see the photostream: mediacamplondon), but also some that I previously only knew as twitter icons and profile pictures on blogs. It is good to get to connect face to face – apologies to those I didn’t get to talk to in-depth. Jenny B, Whatleydude, Steve Lamb/actionlamb, deCabbit and a number of others ran some great web sessions.
My main interest in social media are as a means of connecting businesses with their customers, and connecting people within businesses, and there were some great sessions that pushed thinking there further.
I remain convinced that social media is the perfect tool to preserve company culture and communications in businesses that are increasingly dominated by remote or mobile employees, dispersed across large geographies. There is still much to learn, but it is clear that blogs, even internal ones, improve communication, efficiency and business in general.
‘Traditional’ office workplace designs include ‘huddle’ areas and social spaces. The virtual workspace and information infrastructure should as well. However, there are good and bad ways of rolling out social media. To quote one of my rare moments of lucidity “social media is something that you do with people, rather than too people” (thank you loudmouthman for capturing that). It needs to me a means to an end, because it is a very empty end in itself.
Jenny Bee’s thoughts on large organizations using video content spawned lots of discussion and set me thinking about the challenge of video again. Some of the discussion was along the lines of can brands be broadcasters (see “is broadcasting something to shout about?”), and also in some very different directions. Video format social media as a marketing tool still presents a number of challenges:
- You need quality content. That doesn’t necessarily just mean quality in terms of the filming (although that is important), but in terms of the information contained in the video. That means covering visual as well as audio aspects.
- Video production is time consuming. Unless you are an ace Qik’er and able to get everything done in the first take (as Documentally has a knack for), filming and editing is a 1:5 to 1:30 ratio (a few hours to produce a 6 minute video).
- A lot of what looks good but “quick and cheap” is actually expensive, agency produced footage. Don’t be fooled.
Judith ‘deCabbit’ Lewis shared her experiences with online reputation management, and those that follow her blog will be unsuprised to hear that chocolate came in to it as well. Businesses need to keep their eyes open these days. What are people writing about them. What are their competitors up to? What is going on in their industry. The good news is that it is easier to do than ever before. The bad news is that it takes time, and very few businesses are doing it.