Putting social tech two clicks down

One of the recurrent bits of conversation around the social media scene is “of course, it’s not about the tools, it’s about people … how they share … changes in culture … challenges to hierarchies” often followed by “and have you seen this latest iPhone app“.
To be fair, there isn’t a total contradiction in that, because smartphones often help us converse, connect, collaborate without a lot of the desktop computer hassle. However, while there’s a strong current of feeling that we should get beyond the technology to the real benefits and values that go with social media, that’s not always to the fore. (gross generalisations, please challenge).
One of the things that’s great about Jemima Gibbons’ book Monkeys with Typewriters is that it unashamedly puts the tools two clicks down: the chapters are around Co-Creation, Passion, Learning, Openness, Listening, and Generosity; then there are interviews with a wide range of people showing how these apply in practice, and only then do we get to the tech.
I want to persue these ideas following an earlier interview, and fortunately there’s a great opportunity on Wednesday evening when Jemima is giving a seminar in London at One Alfred Place, with the Society for Organizational Learning. Details on Jemima’s MWT blog here. There is a charge – £20, or £10 if you are a member of One Alfred Place – but I’ve no doubt it will be worth it for good conversation on the non-tech aspects of social media.
SOL also looks like an interesting outfit, that ran a workshop last year on the Practical Benefits of Leading for Sustainability. That covered, among other things:

How can we build the networks of collaboration that will embody both the flexibility and robustness to sustain innovation in times of financial stress and pressures to revert to established mental and business models? How can systems thinking become integral to how all organizations work?

… which reminds me of another another piece of conversation sticking in my head, blogged briefly here: “organisations can’t have useful conversations and collaborate with people externally if people aren’t talking to each other internally”.
I will, of course, be aiming to get some video interviews on Wednesday. Wondering whether to try the new Qik streaming app since wifi is good at One Alfred Place.


  • January 18, 2010 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Sounds great David, wish I could attend! Look forward to the videos.

  • January 18, 2010 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    This is such a crucial point to make… These days everyone wants a network; everybody knows how networks work in the real world but they imagine there is some kind of magic that applies to technology that makes the network magically appear.

    Networks are a lot of work; for me the ideas of generosity are key. If networks are based on reciprocity, what gifts do you have to give away?

    Trying to persuade organisations that they are sitting on a pile of great content that other people would like to see in good, accessible formats, is half the struggle – especially in the arts.

  • January 18, 2010 - 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Sangeet – really looking forward to the conference Young People ina Digital World http://is.gd/68MYF
    William – thanks – and interesting if the arts world provides great opportunities but maybe also particular barriers. Because of copyright and associated issues? I think we need some sort of mixed economy, part sharing/gift, part financial or other reward, within a network.
    We’ll be trying to evolve something on those line at http://socialbysocial.net by running paid-for projects in an open style. More there soon.

  • January 18, 2010 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Yes David – there are legal barriers to putting some material online in the arts, but as the Tate has discovered, there’s a lot of valuable secondary material which is less problematic. For me in the arts it’s more about encouraging a culture change to see your audience as participants rather than as passive ticket buyers – which goes with some of your ideas of co-creation. That though is more problematic, as arts institutions do need to maintain their “institution-ness” at the same time as being more open.

  • January 18, 2010 - 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Great post David – and thanks for mentioning the seminar.

    Just to add that I’ve some spare £10 tickets if any of your contacts would like one.

    Look forward to chatting on Wednesday!

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