Yesterday, I decided to attend the conference on ‘Networked Nation’ at Microsoft and Channel 4 and by the end of the day I had experienced information overload.
Asked at the end of the day what I had found the most powerful, it was that I could be unique and didn’t need to be part of the face book culture to have online presence so I was able to breathe a sign of relief.
Also, and this is just me but I couldn’t believe out of the 10 or 12 men presenting during the course of the day that only one person had polished shoes ~ sorry but it’s something I look at, I am a women after all and whereas it didn’t detract me from the topics I was surprised.
Anyway, many of you will ask what was the conference about ‘Networked Nation’ well in a nut shell it was about the invention vs. innovation of the internet and its future.
So, the day kicked off at Microsoft’s office in Victoria and first up from was Martha Lane Fox being interviewed by David Rowan who I am a fan of having heard him speak at one of the ‘thought of the day’ events.
Martha was talking about the Race Online 2012 project which she is a champion for and I have to say I was really impressed with the way it was working with deprived and disadvantaged people across the UK to give them a voice.
Then it moved onto Mark Locke who is Head of Cross Platform at Channel 4 and his short talk was on ‘Attention’ and how to engage and communicate with me the viewer where virtual or online. I was especially interested in two area of his presentation which was ‘cult’ where we as viewers totally engage with a programme such as Lost for instance. Then the second area was ‘factual’ and the use of campaigns and missions to communicate and engage us through tasters.
This is something that I felt everyone should benefit of and taking it into context of my business obviously the words aren’t quite right by ‘cult’ would be replaced by ‘testimonials’ of past customers who spread the word and then ‘factual’ is how you communicate with the customer in my case a couple and how you portray your professionalism and experience.
I am afraid the next speaker Niall Murphy of Evrythng went over my head as when he started talking about platforms, routes and micro dust and sensor dust I was totally lost, sorry but too technical for me as a non technical.
We then had a panel of experts on ‘How to create a Networked Nation’ chaired by Derek Wyatt who was very interesting. The panel consisted of Justine Roberts of Mumsnet a person I have huge admiration for. Then their was Jolanta Lasota of Treehouse a charity for autism which is something close to my heart and what I took away which is so important is that the charity is created by people for people who need to have a voice and this is so true. Just because someone is autistic it doesn’t mean they aren’t human so with the internet they can communicate and share their experiences by having a voice. Alex Balfour was from London 2012 and what I took away was a comment ‘no engagement personally online doesn’t mean you don’t have a presence’. Lastly, Ashley Highfield of Microsoft was highlighting some of the benefits and projects that they are working on for us the consumer such as Britain Works. To summarize that panel I would say that to create a networked nation will be a question of integration.
It was then time for lunch and then the Walking Bus to which we were all intrigued to know as we had been told it involved no hand holding! I envisaged a crocodile like scenario similar to when I was at boarding school walking in two’s with a representative wearing a yellow reflector jacket marching us to Channel 4 and holding traffic. It wasn’t quite that but not far off as we all ambled along Victoria Street listening to police sirens as they moved onto Whitehall to control the Student Marches or maybe it was going to Westminster Crown Court for the hearing of Wiki Leaks something that was also talked about extensively.
Then it was the next panel chaired by Stefan Stern of Edelman on ‘Digital Innovation – what’s new now?’ Well this was certainly the most varied / heated of the day as Nico Macdonald and Ben Hammersley clearerly had different views. Nico Macdonald of Big Potatoes was comparing innovation vs. invention and an example that I could relate to was the Boris Bike and Word Press. Richard Slaney of Philharmonia Orchestra was very interesting as he had to educate the members of the orchestra to let go of their copy write issues and through digital media open up their passion to a wider audience and the example was Rewrite which looked very interesting and certainly something I would look at again as I am a believer that music plays an important park in all our lives. Prof Lucy Hooberman and Ben Hammersley talked about maturation and even distribution of innovation and technology and I couldn’t agree more as I am not a fan of Face book or Twitter and that the power of networking for me is face to face but appreciate you need an online presence.
Highlight of the day was David McCandless ‘Information is beautiful’ and it certainly is true, if you use color and images you will engage with a person. I am very much a visual person and when you have a case of information overload then more people should consider making the connections with information and telling a story with elegance using visuals making the data more informative and fun. David said ‘data is oil’ and how true that color is beauty to the eye. I don’t believe that in the New Year I am going to open a copy of a tabloid newspaper and see a journalist’s column covering budget cuts made as visuals/animation but why not, words are not always easily digested it would be innovative.
So, we then had a panel on ‘Does the internet have a future?’ which of course is yes and this was chaired by Ben Cohen a business correspondent for Channel 4 News. What I certainly gathered is that we all have a choice with our involvement in social media and that we need to be selective and savvy. The person who I found most inspiring was Jag Singh of Messagespace, who stated that cognativity is key to activity and that he believes and I agree that the internet will adapt to the consumers needs which is important. I also agreed with a comment by Mary Ann Sieghart which her daughter used was ‘TMI’ too much information which is out in cyber space which relates to us personally so you need to self regulate.
The conference then came to the close with Ed Vaizey the Minister of Culture, Communications and Creative Industries interviewed by David Abraham the Chief Executive of Channel 4. Ed’s presentation was good very politically correct.
I met some amazing people yesterday from all walks of the broadcasting world and bearing in mind I am not in the media/communication world I was made to feel very welcome.
The team at Editorial Intelligence who put together these thought inspiring events are brilliant and for anyone interested in politics or really the power of the voice I think should check out the website www.editorialintelligence.com and you will also be able to see for yourselves a pod cast of the event.