Last year I let my introversion get the better of me and I spent Social Media Day at home, blogging and tweeting. This year I am glad to say I ventured out to Inspire9 to join my social media brethren at the annual Melbourne unconference to mark Mashable’s global Social Media Day celebrations. Here are my thoughts and observations about the day.
This was my first unconference, and if all of them are like this was I would be happy to attend another. In the unconference format there is no pre-set agenda. Talks are decided on and driven by the attendees on the day. The topics were relevant and the conversations were lively and interesting. Discussions are a big part of the format so I came away feeling like I was really involved in the day, a stark contrast to the standard conference format which is generally a push of information and not much interaction between attendees and presenters.
At most events I go to I will run into someone at some point who I will introduce myself to and say “I know you from Twitter”. On Social Media Day it was nearly everyone in the room. It was great to meet them in person, the name behind the @handle . Those that I didn’t already follow, I quickly did, gaining a bunch of new social media mavens to tweet with. I found myself engrossed in conversation during the day, and taking a mental pause to reflect on how great it was to meet with people who have a common interest and have lively conversations to share knowledge. It was refreshing and somewhat invigorating.
Trust in social media
The theme which resonated most with me was that lack of trust that still exists with social media for organisations. I found this came up in several sessions, and in the conversations I had in the break times in three key areas.
- Employees: Organisations don’t trust employees to talk about their work and organisations in public social forums
- Tools: They don’t trust that enterprise social solutions can assist collaboration and productivity
- Cloud: Particularly in government, cloud solutions are difficult to implement because organisations have security concerns
The answers to these problems are often specific to each organisation but it is clear that three things are essential for success:
- Understanding business needs
- Senior manager support
- A community manager
The prismatic self
My favourite session was one proposed by Christoph Hewett on the prismatic self. A concept about how we are multifaceted personalities and restricting us to one profile or persona is difficult and limiting. It’s something that I have actually thought about a lot in setting up my own social media presence. I personally like to keep a separation between my professional and personal profiles. Being from a marketing bent I like to be able to tailor my messaging for the audience, and separation is the easiest way to manage it for me. I was interested to hear how other people manage their presences and some of their frustrations and challenges. In the discussion, someone pointed out that it would be nice if we didn’t have pressures that meant we felt we needed to separate professional and personal, something to think about.
A fantastic way to spend a Sunday and I look forward to next year. Social Melbourne run weekly catch-ups for the local social crowd and this event was my reminder to get to more of those events so I can continue to have great conversations with this open and friendly crowd. Thanks everyone for a fantastic especially Kellie Barnes who brought us all together.
More about Social Media Day: