Posts Tagged ‘SMWF’

Social Media World Forum Europe 2012: Notes and Catch Phrases

April 14, 2012

Two weeks ago I was a panelist at Social Media World Forum Europe.

This was a well organised conference in the somewhat unprepossessing surroundings of the 02.

Downstairs in the exhibition area one stall caught my eye: Senseware, who are developing intriguing ideas for geolocation services inside buildings.

Upstairs was the main area for delegates and presentations. My panel was called “Strategies for Developing Online Communities”. This seemed to go well and I enjoyed meeting the other pannelists.

Some of things I said were tweeted so I thought I’d just gather these together and amplify them a bit more.

1. “Free speech has its limits, even on Twitter”

Blindingly obvious, perhaps. But some people still believe that you can say anything you like on social media with no restraints and no consequences, and then cry “censorship” at any reasonable objection. But humans need laws and the law applies in cyberspace just as much as anywhere else. The more important questions are: “Whose law is it and how do they decide?”

So if you want to just vent your innermost thoughts do it in your home among people who you trust, not on a public forum like Twitter.

On a footnote, Twitter themselves are now proudly saying they’re going to law to deal with one of the curses of the internet: spam. One man’s free speech is another man’s spam. (And that’s why you need moderation…)

2. “Don’t think that just because you built it, they will come. If they don’t care they won’t come.”

Building, maintaining and growing an online community is very hard work. It took Mumsnet years to build the success they have now.

Ask yourself “why would anyone want to join this community?”. If you can’t answer that question don’t waste your time and money on trying to build one.

3. “Think before you tweet”

This is now enshrined in BBC policy on social media… 😉

The easy, “frictionless”, mechanics of tweeting make people think it’s casual and private. It’s not. If you are going to say something to an audience of 400 (I’ve got 400 followers on twitter, more people than saw me speak at the conference) think about it first.

4. “Don’t be afraid to be niche. If you’ve got scientists let them be scientists.”

Blogs and other forms of social publishing are very good for niche content. Better high quality specialist voices with something complex and chewy to say than bland, mainstream press releases that have no life or personality. The global nature of the Internet means a niche can appeal to hundreds and thousands of people.

Thanks for tweeting me. And thanks to Six Degrees for inviting me.