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.

Dave @ BCS

 British Computer Society

I’m going to be talking to the good folk at the Central London branch of the British Computer Society this Thursday, on the topic of The Search for Shared Meaning: How Social Media Changes Everything:

Blogs, online video, photo sharing and social networking are redefining the way that people interact with each other and with organisations. Understanding the implications of this is vital for any organisation which wishes to remain relevant in a Web 2.0 world. Dave will discuss how organisations can approach these new tools, and how such an approach should relate to existing strategies and communication plans.

Weighty stuff, I hope I don’t disappoint!

It all kicks off at 6pm at the BCS HQ on Southampton Street in London.

Hope to see some DavePress regulars there – and for those that won’t be, I hope there will be a twitter back channel to keep folk at home informed on just how badly I’m doing. How about #davebcs for a tag?

ReadWriteGov

There are plenty of events you can go to to find out about the social web, and how it can help public sector organisations, but they can be rather expensive, and pretty formal too. Another issue is that they are invariably in London, or one of the other major cities. What about those people who are a bit unsure about this stuff, and who don’t feel they can justify a £450 for a conference, or who don’t want to spend two days out of the office just to attend a one day event?

ReadWriteGov is an attempt to get around this issue by organising informal, half-day long events around the country at a very affordable price. The first event is being held at Peterborough City Council, where I have been helped out by Fran Paterson in organising things. I met Fran through the Social Media Community of Practice, which shows the value of this kind of networking. It’s happening on the 29th October between 1.30 and 4.30pm and is open to anyone who is interested, though I would seriously encourage people from local government to attend, along with folk from other parts of government and the public sector. You can sign up for the event at the Eventbrite page – it’s £25 for public sector folk and £50 for others.

It’s going to be a fun afternoon – I’ve lined up pals such as Dom Campbell and Steph Gray to come and talk about the exciting stuff they are doing with Barnet Council and DIUS, respectively. In addition to these luminaries, I’ll be running a social media game style workshop, which will hopefully help attendees identify how they can use social media in their organisations.

Of course, this is just the first of what will hopefully be many such events, which could be held all over the country. So if anyone is reading who fancies hosting a ReadWriteGov event, please do drop me a line.

One last note about the Peterborough event. Because Fran is heavily involved with the British Computer Society, especially the women‘s wing of the organisation, we are holding another event in the evening, again at the City Council, for BCS members and other interested people, such as the local college, to raise awareness of the tools that are out there and how they might be used. Booking for this event, which will run between 6 and 9pm, will, I believe, be through the BCS website in due course.