Friday, March 09, 2007

New Communications Forum

Listening to Shel Holtz wrap up the "New Communications Forum" event in Las Vegas. By all accounts the Society for New Communications Research has put on a great show -- numerous attendees have said to me that it is the most useful and interesting conference that they have attended in years.

A few attendees, however, have said to me "gee, not much new here." An observation -- there are two kinds of attendees at this conference: a group of people eager to learn about social media and a group of people who are already engaged in inventing social media. For the first group, this was a great conference and exactly what conferences should be about -- getting enthusiastic experts in front of eager learners. But the conference didn't do as well at serving people who are already engaged and who want to take ideas and debates deeper by interacting with their peers.

This last point does not detract in any way in my mind from the value of the conference and the high quality speakers, sessions, and organization of the event. But rather, it is an observation that as an industry we still are struggling with how to create the right kind of event for experts to cooperatively advance knowledge and initiatives in their industries.

FooCamp, BarCamp, and Social Media club are good experiments, but here is a challenge to conference organizers -- can a single show serve both audiences? I would argue that it HAS to in order to work -- because you need the experts in order to have interesting content for the learners. But the experts then have to derive value from their participation.


Sandra D. Fransen said...


I could be sitting a few tables away from you! :) I completely agree with your summary...I fall into camp#2, not much new here. However, I have met some really interesting people, and hope to continue having conversations on how to take it to the next level. It has also shown me that I'm too critical of my company...I'm always pushing for more (and still will)...but realize, we're doing pretty well. Would love to chat. I'm in a black turtleneck with long brown hair. --Sandra

Josh said...

I am one of those folks that might say "nothing new here" but instead I do two things:

1. I share what I know and have learned.
2. I pay attention to the questions and reactions of the audience who are learning...that is a learning experience for me.