Last Thursday was Digital Surrey night.
I don’t know how it has happened, but this was the first time I have actually attended the event. Well, I tell a lie, I do know how it has happened. The blame lies solely at the feet of a little three year old that needs a Dad to help in the evenings but kindly allowed me out for a night last week.
Although I haven’t been before, I remember speaking about the event and dropping some raffle prizes off at the house of the lovely founder Abigail Harrison ahead of the first ever event, and have been in touch with her from time to time when appropriate. In fact she really impressed me with her obvious passion when opening the evening and closing the session. I have also supported the event here on this PR blog and on Twitter with more than a few shout-outs. I would go as far as saying that I think what they do is something to be proud of and very admirable.
This month’s session was sponsored by Dell (who were all too sick to attend – classic) and described as the following:
These days, everyone knows what Twitter is and how to use Facebook. When it comes to social media in business, the conversation has moved on from the ‘what?’ to the ‘how?’ where measurable goals and effective outcomes are the only reasons to invest your time and energy in social media – or are they?
Is there no room any more for experimentation, for emotional engagement online, for simply joining the conversation without an ROI in front of your mind?
Such questions and more will be on the table for discussion at the next Digital Surrey in September. Join communicator, blogger and podcaster Neville Hobson and fellow panelists Jonathan Hill, Paul Marden and Sheila Parry for a lively look at social business in the contemporary landscape.
Neville is someone whose blog I have followed for some time and I have admired his work for a good few years now without ever actually meeting in the flesh so I was keen to attend. So with all the love for Digital Surrey above why does it feel like there is a BUT coming?
I almost hate myself for writing this, BUT it did unfortunately feel a bit like preaching to the converted.
The event is called Digital Surrey so explaining why Coca-Cola has so many likes and why it was OK to say I like a cup of tea on Twitter from time to time, did feel a bit like me going to a Manchester United convention and running a talk on why I think George Best was a footballing genius. I fear that this was due to the questions posed by the audience rather than Neville’s role as a host but a quick look on Twitter did show that I wasn’t alone in feeling that the tone wasn’t quite right.
I also felt that a trick was missed by not looking at some of the other major tools available. There was a chap on the panel who produced videos but didn’t talk about YouTube until then session was winding up. LinkedIn was dismissed as irrelevant (which I disagree with) and no one talked about blogging in the slightest. For someone who has a deep love of blogging and has built many friendships and connections via this platform I thought it was odd that it wasn’t discussed in a talk about engagement and conversations. Maybe it was a time thing.
I did hear a first at the event which tickled me though.
Someone in the audience asked a question and introduced themselves mentioning their Klout score. I can’t remember who it was, apart from the fact that he worked for the BBC, but chuckled as he introduced himself: “Hi my name is XX and I work for the BBC and have a Klout score of 51”. Now, it was done tongue in cheek but it did make me smile and again highlighted how these influence tools are increasing in profile. I can unfortunately see a day in the near future when people will actually quote their Klout score alongside their name in a serious fashion at events such as this, in the same way that I often hear “thinking outside of the box” or” blue sky thinking” said by peoplewithout even the slightest hint of a smirk as they do so.
Love them or hate them people are increasingly looking at them. In fact, Neville actually showed a job advert from a company in the US that would only accept applications from people with a Klout score of over 45. This will be coming to these shores sooner than you think but that is probably another post at a later date.
I don’t mean to sound grumpy or put a downer on the event as I have to take my hat off to Abigail and her team. Firstly, I couldn’t believe the amount of people who turned up and secondly, the quality of the audience was also first class. The whole evening was extremely well run and organised and the friendly environment did encourage people to have a chat afterwards (which can often feel horribly forced at these type of events). I just felt that it wasn’t the best topic for me although I am sure it was perfect for others.
Will I be going next month? Absolutely. Not every talk can be enlightening in the same way that not every concert or football match is a classic. If you only went to FA Cup finals or headline gigs for massive bands you will never appreciate how good they are. The same can be said for events.
I always go hoping it will be inspirational and will capture my imagination but if it doesn’t I then look for the potential, organisation and enjoyment factor. If I take this approach to my first Digital Surrey then I am certain I will be a fixture at many more over the coming months.
So please pop the 18 October in your diary, check the site for further details and come over and say Hi next time.