Inspiration to get "social media" things Done

Back at the end of February I was struggling to complete a post about Social Media Week London, and I put a plea out to Twitter for some motivation (or to be shamed in to finishing it).  @iamcreative aka Helen Harrop used her art as an incentive and promised me one of her doodle’s if I published that day. I did, and the Doodle dooley arrived and appropriately it was about something called the Do Lectures, which had somehow passed me by completely.  On investigation I discovered what initially looked like a kind of TED with a Welsh accent.

A little more investigation showed that this was a gathering of speakers and people who can make change happen, sponsored in 2008 by Cardigan Bay clothing company howies out of their Earth Tax – they pledge to give 1% of their turnover or 10% of pre-tax profits (whichever is greater) to grass-root environmental and social projects.   2009 and 2010 have been funded by Wales.  Attendees camp at fforest farm and the lectures have run in 2008,  2009 and 2010.  The schedule for September 2011 just happens to be published today at 17:00.  Their website tells me they were started from a conversation between David and Clare Hieatt over the dining table one night. They wanted to know what to Do about the things they cared about. Out of that came the idea that the Doers of the world can inspire the rest of us to go Do something. So a set of talks for Doers was born where a handful of speakers get together in one place to inspire you to go Do something about  things you care about.  Speakers are by invitation only and the line up looks pretty special.  My disappointment at having missed out was immediately lightened by the fact that many of the talks from the last 2 years were videoed and are available for anyone.  Go through the back catalogue – there are some great sessions there.

As a taster, here’s Euan Semple speaking at the 2010 event about “Real Work” and my favourite topic of social media in business, along with how corporates get spooked by that word “social”.  Euan talked about Cluetrain and how we now live in a world of:

“Globally distributed near instant person to person communications”

I like to pick out these 4 of the Cluetrain 95 theses to amplify that:

  1. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were
    simply not possible in the era of mass media.
  2. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
  3. In both internetworked
    markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each
    other in a powerful new way.
  4. These networked conversations
    are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge
    exchange to emerge.

Euan talked about his friend John caught up in the 7/7 bombs and how his photographs subsequently got picked up by the major news media around the world. He explained how a lot of management is about tidying things up and making things look organized, when that can actually kill the signal.  He  likened most corporate IT systems to Milton Keynes – efficient on the face of it, highly designed, with a grid structure and roundabouts, but so easy to get lost there.  We shouldn’t be afraid of messiness – just look at the way towns and villages have evolved sensibly over time without too much heavy handed planning.   He worried that :

“social media has turned in to a big thing you have to do”

He talked about social media projects in terms of Trojan Mice, little, inexpensive, unobtrusive things that  can grow, and ROi where you keep the I for investment really small and nobody will give you a s#@! about the R. He worried that people focus on the technology and ignore the cultural.  He summed up with a couple of great quotes:

“It’s difficulty to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it” – Upton Sinclair


“In a knowledge economy there is no such thing as conscripts, there are only volunteers.  The trouble is we have trained our managers to manage conscripts”  –  Peter Drucker

It’s well worth watching, and hopefully it will inspire you to do something to get more social media tools implemented inside your organisation.   Then go back and check out the rest of the talks for ideas and inspiration, or think about attending this year’s event.

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Founder & CXO of Agile Elephant, a digital transformation consultancy and solutions provider. Head of D2C, a consulting firm which provides business and social media consulting and Cloud based solutions for content, collaboration, web publishing, online accounting and ERP. Was director EuroCloud UK, chaired techUK's Software as a Service Group, now Chair of Cloud Industry Forum.