Speaking at the UCB International ‘Online Media’ Forum

Last week I was fortunate enough to be asked to present to a group of broadcasters at the UCB International On-line Media Forum. My topic was Digital Content, Communities and Conversations – specifically, I looked at the strategies and technology choices available to a new entrant into this space.

Some very good discussion came out of the session and, despite a few interruptions due to the arrival and departure of the Prime Minister, we covered off my initial slide pack and then delved deep into what these guys wanted to know about. The session actually went 90 minutes overtime as the attendees started investigating the options now available to them and postulating on what issues they may run into going forward.
This was a pro-bono presentation for me as I believe in the work the group does (and the initial approach was made to me via a family friend). Nonetheless, I got a lot of value out of the session through exposure to thinking that was markedly different to that I’d previously encountered when discussing this subject. Mostly this was because of the completely clean slate approach they were taking to creating and engaging with communities online.
One issue which received a lot of focus was how, given the need to maintain some absolute truths, a community can steer itself while remaining consistent with what was believed to be the ‘right’ message. While on the surface this may go against the freedom of communities, there is a place for such control when discussing some subjects – especially those of a belief-based nature. My feeling is that, while initially a fair amount of control may be exerted on the conversations in the communities these people create, over time this control will be passed to the group who will self moderate, or take more ‘edgy’ discussion to another corner of the web.
This is something which I believe will play out as the group starts experimenting in the space and I trust that the recommendations I was able to make will be considered and acted upon, rather than blindly rushing into the whole Web 2.0 trend without understanding what the issue is they are trying to address. I’ve seen a whole lot of companies that the ‘Ready, Shoot, Aim’ approach to the long term detriment of their ability to integrate with the 2.0 space.

Guys, I wish you all the best as you venture into the new frontier for your business – share the love


3 responses to “Speaking at the UCB International ‘Online Media’ Forum”

  1. audaciousgloop Avatar

    Great presentation, Rob! Loved the “shut up and listen” part.

    I also found the discussion around control interesting. It’s a tricky one for any belief-based organisation, because for one, it’s a parachurch ministry, representing a lot of diversity within the fundamental orthodox Christian beliefs.

    I wonder though, is controlling a conversation about beliefs any worse (or better) than trying to control a conversation about, say, dishwashing liquid. Or global warming.

    I guess my take (still pretty fuzzy, and prone to change as I learn more) is that the more you open the conversation, the more reach and influence you’ll have. People have an inherent distrust of anyone who tries to control the conversation for whatever reason.

  2. andryl Avatar

    The presentations at RBG/UCB were a great conduit for thought. One of the key threads that came through all the presentations was the value of ‘conversation’.

    The challenge for an organisation with a strong belief system is to ask ‘are we playing the part of a moderator (or facilitator), or are we simply the host of a virtual conference centre where someone else’s conversation is taking place?

    The great thing about input from Rob’s session and the team from http://www.jump.tv (Simon and Marie Young) was the consistent message.

    You guys ROCK!