Social media: Keeping things local and global

Earlier this week, I chaired the latest instalment in the LEWIS digital dinner series held at the Great John Street Hotel in Manchester. The forum allows us to explore ideas and views from business local business leaders and influencers on how social media affects them. The discussions tend to be a mix of personal opinion, professional curiosity and stimulating thought. And this discussion was no different. One of the hot topics of debate was how social media really does allow the local element of a community feel local. As observed by one attendee, social media can really help a community retain its essence particularly in an age where news and the flow of information is global.

In a week where the antics of the BNP and Question Time dominated the headlines and thoughts of the nation, I believe social media affords the chance for everyone to have a say and have their say counted irrespective of where they live or from what background they are from.


Cutting through the ‘vapour ware’ of social media

Social-media-tagsLast Wednesday saw LEWIS London host its second digital dinner – a session where we invite a mixture of clients, journalists, bloggers and PR people to share their thoughts and views on all things digital.

The dinner was particularly exquisite and the discussion offered plenty of food for thought. Fitting that as the Telegraph ran a piece on London being the social media capital of the world, the group discussion took on a different approach to the usual conversations that come with talking about social media such as “Will Twitter replace email?” and “What’s the best social network to sign up to?”

It appears that as a consequence of the avalanche of slides, tweets, LinkedIn groups, blogs etc about social media, there is a growing concern that much of what is said amounts to ‘vapour ware’ (the corporate way of saying hot air).

The last eighteen months have seen such an explosion in what people hear about social media, it is easy to forget that its adoption is still relatively low in the vast majority of businesses out there. By and large companies are still unsure about how social media will actually help them over and above just having 1,000 followers on Twitter or a Facebook fanpage. While there are currently hundreds of PR firms offering to help companies talk the social media talk, judging by the discussion many are fed up of hearing the talk and now want to start walking the walk.

(This post also appears on the LEWIS 360 blog)

Social media isn’t about the tech

Last week I had the privilege of chairing a discussion on what social media means to businesses with my Bristol-based colleages.fridge-twitter

Now usually such discussions tend to focus on Twitter and Facebook – and we did discuss both in earnest. However, this time conversation turned into more of a philosophical, and at times ethical, dimension on how people communicate. (Well aside from the fridge twitter talk. Thanks to Marc Cooper of the Bristol Evening Post for remembering this bit).

Although there was some sceptism on what the future holds for the likes of Twitter, a point we all agreed on was that irrespective of the technology, people will always be interested in knowing what others are up to and people will always want to tell others what they’re up to. In my opinion, this is why a Twitter-esq service will always be around even if the technology that facilitates it changes.