Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Using + Social Media = Fail

I was at #Online09 (Online Publishing) at Olympia in London, to do a keynote in the Social Media Marketing theatre today.

I'm delighted to say (and perhaps its a sign of the times) that the room was packed - standing room only. They even stayed until the end :-)

I was kicking around what happens when you deconstruct the social media thang, into its social + media parts (I have blogged about this previously).

But I started from the perspective that the future is not digital.

When Gutenberg invented movable type (circa 1450) a new era was ushered in. Within 50 years there were 20 million books on the planet (to share among 450m people - I know there were 450m people at the time because I asked my friends on Twitter).

That's 20m in 50 years from a standing start (as described by Stephen Fry in his BBC show on Gutenberg). And that standing start included zero mass production techniques or technologies. Quite staggering.

And I wondered what the big prediction would have been in 1500 among the soothest sayers of the day. What next? More books?

Not likely is it.

Yet we keep banging on about a digital future.

1450 is also regarded as the beginning of the great age of exploration. The future was the renaissance, new forms of organisation (capitalism replacing feudalism) the destruction of the power of the old order (the Reformation across Europe). That's the effect of more books - it is what people did together with this new 'book' technology.

And right now, the future is not about new and better digital tools, or their prolifieration - it is about what we do together with them - the new self-organising future that dawns.

And that, and what businesses and organisations can do to benefit from all this, is what my keynote was about this morning.

Here's the slides - and, as always, your thoughts are welcome.

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The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?