In what has become something of a trend after my UN meeting last month, another friend invited me to meet with a world leader to discuss Social Media. (That actually sounds more formal than the dinner last night actually was.)
My US friend Tom Watson of Changing our World and On Philanthropy invited Pamela and I to join a group of friends to meet MP Tom Watson, Cabinet Office Minister from the UK.
MP Watson’s office recently released a report on the Power of Information, documented here in his blog.
Yes, his blog, the archives of which go back to 2003.
Five years ago, I set up political blog. At the time, it was seen as a radical act…People couldn’t believe that I had opened myself up to such scrutiny and occasional daily abuse.But the blog broke down the walls between legislators and electors in a way that interested me. So I persevered.
He’s also got a LastFM badge. This is a real blogger. A gentleman at dinner asked him what he looked at first as far as websites and email, and he started quoting LifeHacker and GTD and how he manages his information flow. This already is different from almost any American Politican I’ve met at any level. He also was impressed I had gone to ITP, since he’s a fan of Clay Shirky.
It is clear that Tom is passionate about helping people get a handle on their information. From the aforementioned blog link:
Today I am going to offer two arguments that I think compliment the Prime Minister’s recent announcement on public service reform.
Firstly, that freeing up data will allow us to unlock the talent British entrepreneurs. And secondly, engaging people – using the simple tools that bring them together – will allow the talents of all our people to be applied to the provision of public services.
Free up data – liberate talent and catalyse creativity. Engage – bring people together using simple tools and you empower.
The dinner was held under Chatham House Rules, which allows the participants to use the information they gathered, but not to attribute the identity or affiliation of the speakers. So, I can’t really go into depth on the discussions. However, it is clear to me that MP Tom Watson will be helping to open up the UK Government in a way that may prove quite beneficial to the citizens of the UK and be a model for us here in ‘the colonies.’
Tom will be in SF for the Web 2.0 Expo, and I’m hoping to get him together with a few of my friends who will be there. If you’re interesed, please get in touch with me.
I can’t believe this is back. After all this discussion you would think that Blockbuster must have SOMEONE watching the blogosphere who might have alerted someone not to use David in an ad. But No, HE’S BAACCKKK!
BTW, this appeared on my Facebook News Stream.
I spoke yesterday on a panel at the Eastern Technology Council at Penn State Great Valley.
My host and the panel moderator was Thomas Kozzolikno of Liquid Hub, and the panelists include Anthony Gold of Unisys, Liza Potts of Electronic Ink, Matt Baldwin of BEA, Sean Vandermark of Microsoft, and Derrich Beauchamp of Vignette.
You can read more via my blog at Confabb: Social Media – News Hub
This morning, Jeff Pulver does a great job at summarizing what many of us in Social Media have been seeing for the last few years (Jeff included) – that the biggest attraction on the net is the Other People and the ability to Have A Conversation with them.
Back in the day, Content was king, but in the world of social media communications, “the conversation” has taken the throne. Sure, content still matters, as does context, but for those of you who are looking to where the next mega trend on the Internet will be, I am placing my bets on something I am referring to as: The Conversation.
Jeff also notes: “By embracing social media, a business can shift from being a monolithic
company name or a branded product and transform themselves to a person,
an individual who advocates and evangelizes.” Exactly. This is part of what I do with companies all the time. By helping people learn to blog, to join Social Networks, or to help develop strategic plans on how to join the conversation, we are enabling companies to have a face – the face of the actual people who work there.
One PR agency asked me how they could write better blog posts for their clients. I told them to teach the client to blog instead. It is rare that someone can post for a company better than an employee who cares about the company’s mission, is seeped in their culture and is passionate about the company’s direction. That was me, back when I worked for Microsoft, and that passion coming through goes a lot farther than any amount of free copies of Windows.
As I start to receive feedback about my Podcast, which isn’t a business venture but is purely a personal and creative effort (see this post about A Chat and A Song) it is the feedback, the conversation that keeps my effort going. In the same way, when a company starts a group on Facebook to hear what people have to say about their product, or to gather their fans together, they’re gaining from the conversation.
In a sense, none of this is new. The ClueTrain Manifesto reminded us that conversations are what markets were always about. We just needed to find a balance. The old era of blasting messages is coming to a slow, lingering end. It’s time to learn how to have conversations. If you want to know more, talk with me, or with one of my many friends in the Social Media arena. I have a whole network of them.