I like it. Hits the nail on the head in terms of the point of social media - its about communication, conversation and engagement, not just about creating another branded space.
I’m really interested in digital communities. Interning at Qype, I am finding out a lot about how people interact online. I am fascinated by the ways in which people communicate over the net - and how it differs to real life. What is great about Qype is the fact that you can see the places where these two worlds coincide or overlap. Afterall, digital is essentially about enhancing your offline life - that is what Qype does so well.
Yesterday my iPhone 4 got stolen from right under my nose when I was having supper al fresco in Kingly Court.
I think the amount that I am mourning right now is a testament to how much I live and breathe digital. I don’t want to be melodramatic, but it really does feel like I have lost a part of myself - so much of how I interact with the world and connect with the people I know and love was enabled by that phone.
No longer can I call, text, tweet, blog, chat, upload, check-in, download, stream or sync.
I keep on comparing it in my mind to the daemons in the Northern Lights trilogy - that phone was a part of my being that was hardly ever more than a metre away from me. Now that it is gone, I can’t help but feeling a great big fat sense of loss.
It is scary, really, how dependant we can become on technology - a part of me is thinking perhaps this is a good excuse to take a step back and remind myself that I can live without a smartphone, but the rest of me just can’t wait to get my hands on a replacement!
On Thursday I went to go see David Brookes talk at the wonderful establishment that is the RSA.
He argued that our society has inherited a view of ourselves that we are divided selves, with reason on one side and passion on the other. And yet, the conclusion of his extensive research is that isn’t the way we should be thinking.
His mains points were:
1) In contrast to the wild, passionate unconscious that Freud imagined, Brookes believes the unconscious is intelligent and organised.
2) Emotions are not separate from reason, emotions are the foundation of reason. They tell you what to value, for example.
3) We are not autonomous creatures - we are deeply interpenetrated.
As such, the rational philosophers of Europe could be said to be wrong - the key to life lies not in rational thinking but in social empathy and emotional intelligence. Indeed, Brookes gave the example that if we were to write down the difficult decisions we make in life, explaining what we decided and why and then burying the paper for six months, when we re-read the explanations, the reasoning for the decision is actually probably irrelevant.
Of course, the fact that we are social animals may not be that surprising. However, what is significant about Brookes is that he is focusing this research-based philosophy on political policy and also a way of looking at the world. It is easy to agree that we make emotionally-motivated decisions but it is also very easy to forget this.
By remembering the fact that we are all human and have similar hopes, dreams, wants and needs, we can be more attuned to effective decision-making.
I think emotional intelligence is so important - this can be drawn into marketing as well. It doesn’t matter if you have a great product - if you cannot connect it somehow to a human emotion, it has limited value. By remembering that we are social animals therefore we can be successful in life and in business.
Last week the lovely Shesays ladies held their annual Scamp event at Lbi. This year, the theme was ‘mashup’ and they certainly ran with it! The day covered a range of speakers talking about everything from digital art to urban food production.
Anjali Ramachandran was first up and argued that whatever you do - KEEP IT SIMPLE. You should be able to explain your idea in 30 seconds or less.
She presented the Hollergram from MadebyMany as a great example of how ideas which bridge the gap between the digital and analog world can be very successful. The hollergram essentially makes the iPad analog by allowing users to create short statements which they can hold up at meetings, conferences or even festivals to quickly broadcast what they want to say to a big group.
I love this idea, as for me this is what digital is all about - it is here to enhance or interaction in real life and if this can be done in a playful way, so much the better.
Anjali cautioned that you need to understand WHY people will use the service you want to provide - you can’t just do something because it looks good!
Tom Uglow from Google (rather unsurprisingly!) was a big hit. He gave us the low-down on how Google has developed in the last few years and months and explained how the acquisition of YouTube has affected what they are doing. They’re using YouTube as a way to connect people around the world, doing things like YouTube Symphony which enabled musicians from loads of different countries to audition for an orchestra by submitting videos of themselves on the site.
The YouTube Symphony project is a great example of how social media can actively encourage interaction and participation. Tom said that millions of people watched a live classical performance through YouTube and yet, the audience wasn’t that into classical music and the orchestra wasn’t even that amazing! So why did they watch? Because it was packaged well.
This project also revealed that in regards to any idea, there are different layers of audiences who want to engage in different ways. Some users will want to actively participate, whilst others are actively interested in that interaction but do not want to take part in it themselves. Once we understand this, we can package an idea in order to ensure that these different levels of audience participation are available to users.
Our key speaker was Nicola Mendelsohn who, shockingly, is the first female president in the IPA’s 90 year history. She argued that ‘our world is no longer linear or predictable’ and that in fact, ‘the only thing we can prepare for is unpredictability’.
With that in mind, she argued that it was important to ensure that the future generations had the best help in starting their careers in adland. She announced various collaborations the IPA is working on, including ones with Google, Facebook and the BBC. I’m somewhat sceptical. Anything that is trying to help out us grads is great, but their approach appears somewhat institutional - their event with Facebook about social media training for example is only available to IPA members. I wonder how many recent graduates are IP members?!
Rant over, the whole day was great - as usual - and left my brain buzzing with fabulous, fantastical images and ideas.