Social Media Exchange materials now online

As I mentioned in my previous post, in a few hours (must…sleep…) I’ll be running a couple of sessions at the Social Media Exchange.

I’ve now finished my slides, and have put them up on slideshare. Rather than make your life easy, though, I’m forcing you over to my posts on the Social Media Exchange site to get at them:

Would be good to have people’s thought on these in the comments over there!

The search for shared meaning

…was the title of the talk I was asked to give at the Central London Branch of the British Computer Society last Thursday. Here are my minimalist* slides:

The search for shared meaning

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: bcs)

What was great to see was the Twitter back channel in operation, with some great conversations going on in the audience. If I had thought about it, I should have incorporated this more into the session. Anyway, at least everyone can still see what was being said at the time.

I’m not sure if I ever got to the bottom of what the shared meaning might be that the social web helps to bring about, if any at all.

It was really useful taking the time to think about this though. I am starting to develop the notion that perhaps web technology actually allows us to pursue very niche, individual interests, what with the ability to filter and drill down into vast amounts of relevant information using freely available and simple to use tools.

But at the same time, the web allows us to easily find others who share these interests, however niche they might be. So as well as promoting individual interests, there is also the ability to do something with others about it. It’s kinda where The Long Tail meets Here Comes Everybody, I guess.

* minimalist because I’m crap at PowerPoint rather than any design decisions.

Social media & local government

Have come across some interesting bits and pieces recently on the topic of how local government should be using the social web to better communicate and collaborate – exactly the sort of thing we are trying to promote on the Community of Practice.

First up is a presentation by Simon Wakeman, who is Head of Marketing and PR at Medway Council in Kent. Simon’s slides include some interesting research results, plus some details of how Medway have used podcasts to reach out to younger people:

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Second is some slides from Dominic Campbell, who was lucky enough to be appointed Social Media Manager at Barnet Council recently. Dominic discusses how web 2.0 can help Barnet implement their Communications and Engagement Strategy.

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Another tip from Dominic led me to Barnet’s YouTube page (yes! They have one!) which feature some great clips of Charles Leadbeater – he of We-Think fame – talking to the Council about the future shape of local government and local governance in the UK.

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There are some great initiatives going on out there in local government where forward-thinking folk are making the most of web technology to bring councils closer to the people they serve. As with the eDemocracy debate though – is this stuff too fragmented? How can we bring everyone together?

Creative Connectivity Slides

I spoke last week at Creative Connectivity, a conference being organised by the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Support Centre, which is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee – on the subject of the risks and opportunities presented by Web 2.0 and social media for e-learning providers.

I was surprised by some of the discussions – college staff are really paranoid about things going wrong, perhaps justifiably, I don’t know. But issues were raised that I just hadn’t occurred to me before. Take online adverts, for example, which I have for a long time accepted as a necessary evil for getting access to great free web tools. But what if a college lecturer advises a student to use a certain website, which happens to have adverts for (say) online dating? Apparently, the college could end up getting a kicking from parents.

As with all discussions about risk, though, the key questions are “So what?” and “What’s the worst that could happen?”. Certainly when it comes to issues around personal data, the latter is most pertinent. I mean, what information is likely to be left on a social network by a student that an identity thief could really make use of? And what use would a 16 year old’s identity be, anyway?

Still, I think there is an opportunity here for someone to put together a closed, safe, ad-free social network for schools and colleges.

Here are the slides that I presented, in case they are of use.

If you would like me to come and have a chat at your organisation or event about any element of social media and web 2.0 tools – whether to communicate, collaborate or educate, do get in touch.