It has been a great two days at the New Communications Forum 2007 and I would highly recommend that anyone interested in this stuff consider attending next year. I have had a chance to have great conversations with 500 other great communication, PR and marketing professionals. It was great to see that the Social Media interest has gone mainstream.
I also had a chance to catch up with many bloggers, too many to name. But last night I had dinner with David Parmet, Josh Hallett, Joe Thornley, Todd Defren, Shel Israel and local Michael Sommermeyer.
And a special thanks to Susan Getgood, who let me share her room.
I guess it was Katie Payne that made the observation that it was amazing that we were holding a conference about Social Media, which is about transparency and authenticity, in Las Vegas, which is the granddady of “controlling the consumer experience.” It was an interesting point, but it was a beautiful setting to listen, learn and relax. You can check out some of the pictures on the New Communications Forum Flickr group.
Shel Holtz wrapped up the conference with a free-for-all question and answer session. An interesting statistics from the book Citizen Marketers, which said that only 1 percent of people who participate in any given form of online social networks generate content, and another 10 percent contribute to the content, meaning 85 percent of people are passive consumers of information.
Shel also said that 2007 will be the year of the widget, where branded content can be served to any website, such as embed codes in YouTube, etc. I think he is really onto something with this since I can think of many ways to use this to extend the reach and shelf life of content.
The concerns were still the same, where will we find the time to manage all of this, how will we convince management, how will we weigh the costs and benefits of social media and how do we deal with the loss of control of the message.
However, one of the best pieces of advice came from Adam Zand from Topaz Partners, who urged the crowd to take a moment to put down the technology and talk to people. For me, this conference was a chance to do just that!