Day two’s morning session with DK of media snackers and Lyn Gardner of the Guardian was quick to pick up on themes from day one – technology is only a tool, the individual is key and we are indeed at a time of great change – revolution even.
Social Media is cheaper, quicker and sexier eulogised DK. (Dave Moutrey of Cornerhouse mentioned how in the last three years they had halved their Gallery marketing budget and increased audiences by (I think) 40%). In an echo (for me) of Geo Quest’s crabman [see previous blog posts] philosophy he urged conference goers to look sideways at whats out there, to think creatively, to play with all the buttons – to introduce a social media Tuesday within organisations (play as a learning strategy).
Both speakers had three key words – DK’s was Riff – play – steal. (you can see all his slides here ). Lyn Gardner’s were lively, reciprocal and outward looking.
The shift in the last year has been from looking at whats out there to asking the question why do we engage? Or as Lyn Gardener put it – what is it you can do with the technology.
Its about what you can do with the platforms rather than what what the platforms can do for you. Rather than something you DO – its something you ARE. Your not just looking at out puts (messages you put out there) but outcomes – as a result of those outputs. Gardener feared for those organisations who embraced technology too much – and those who didn’t engage at all. That phrase again – technology is only a tool…it wont make a bad theatre piece – good.
She likened the situation to the invention in the 19th century of the trap door. As creatives the industry is exploring whats possible- making mistakes (she sited the RSC Romeo and Juliet twitter project that 4iP’s Claire McArdle had talked about the day before – its obviously a Guardian theme – here is Charlotte Higgins on the same topic . But one things for sure – its no good waiting for things to settle down – for us to come to the end of this revolution – we’re now in a state of constant newness, change is not going to stop and the future is already happening. Not all of it is good though….
How to suceed? Well DK’s mantra was be engaging, be playful – its not about telling – its about a conversation! An echo of Hannah Nicklin’s Theatre in the First Person which Gardner referred to as Theatre of Engagement.
And its the individual that is key. Brands are faceless, they can’t tweet – humans can (an echo of Sir Ken as the conference appears to have christened him thoughts around the human beings singular power of imagination – see previous blog). Its less about a campaign, more about a commitment. And yes there is a lot of noise out there but you’ll be heard if your being playful, engaging and personal.
Yesterday Hannah Nicklin had talked about entering the Age of the Mash Up. DK gave us an illustration. He read a book – Rework by 37 signals ¬– note taking throughout in his moleskin (which he was inordinately proud of!). He then posted those notes as a cheat sheet on his personal web site (www.gnatgnat.com). Later the author of the book actually retweeted his cheat sheet and later still someone else reworked the cheat sheet adding colour. In all its been downloaded nearly 3,000 times.
He urged us to look at how others are using social media – not just from the arts sector but from further afield. See the slides for some great examples from FORD, IKEA and the intriguingly titled VITAMIN WATER. But throughout – its not about telling – its about sharing – about having a conversation – about being playful with the tools at our disposal. Let the constraints which are coming liberate the imagination.
And quality Gardner said will build over time – as communities mature, as we begin to understand what the buttons do, as our play creates meaning.