I was invited by some Poke London folk to go along to an event promoting the Webby awards this evening. The highlight was a series of talks, each bounded by restrictions inspired by the Webby’s five-word acceptance speech limits:
The organisers managed to get along a number of great speakers:
This isn’t a complete capture of everything that was said, but of notes I’ve made notes of the presentations of things that I found interesting, provocative or thoughtful.
Matt Hanson presented the idea behind aswarmofangels. The key concept that I found of interest was the captured in the phrase ‘Creator led, member powered’ which encapsulates the balance that the community involved in the project has involvement without losing project momentum
Francis Irving of charity Mysociety highlighted a number of tips on audience engagement and involvement that he learned whilst trying to turn public opinions into action.
- Always make the users first action on a site easy
- Sometimes a site can be too transparent (for some stakeholders). A site that allowed voters easily see MPs voting records managed to upset a number of MPs who claimed that their voting record was incorrect. A re-check of the data showed the MPs were in error
- An audience member will get involved in both online and real-world activity if they know that other people (not necessarily even people they know) will get involved too
David-Michel Davies of The Webbys provided an amusing history of online video. The highlight of this presentation was what David termed ‘The Cat Problem’: when you search on YouTube you get hundreds of thousands of videos featuring cats, however only one may be relevant to the searcher. It has become harder because of easy publishing to find ‘media that is meaningful and relevant to me’. Which ironically sounds like the same problem that the likes Bradley Horowitz and other social search advocates have been trying to solve.
Miles Beckett of LonelyGirl15/Kate Modern discussed the divergence between offline and online identity. Beckett thought that the social contract which makes civilisation work effectively is undermined by transcient identities like those existing on Facebook or discussion forums. Beckett thought that there would be an eventual rejoining of online and offline identities to build a trust-based ‘civilised’ web rather than the current ‘Wild West’ situation.
Malthe Sigurdsson of Skype came up with a presentation which would have probably given their corporate communications team a heart attack.
Talking about the societial importance of communications through the medium of cheerleader photographs. Communications, itsself has changes from real-world one-on-one sychronious high bandwidth conversations conversations to synchronous communications that require little effort to create or consume and allow easier social interaction using the ‘lost email or IM or SMS’ as a pretext to soften social rejection.
UPDATE: hello and welcome to all the people reading this post from Skype in Estonia, there are more pictures here.