Attended first BCS SW event tonight. James Barisic (Photolegal) – the man of LikeMinds ‘Kilt’ fame (see previous post) – was talking about Social Media, Community Building and the Law.
Interesting talk and venue. I’ve never set foot in The Bridge Inn, Topsham before but it had a nice ‘homely’ atmosphere with lively company and excellent ale. Had to limit myself to a half-pint – but pleasant all the same, albeit a bit nippy in the Malt House bar.
I’m not sure we covered the legal side in any great depth here – but James is clearly a serious advocate of Social Media. A quick poll in the room declared Twitter and Facebook the winners in ‘best loved’ category of the social networking stakes. Personally I don’t really have a favourite – but I’m conscious that I don’t use Twitter properly – as I don’t connect via mobile technology. No kilt this time – but the sheep are likely to be as memorable. Apparently there are a lot of sheep flying about on Facebook. Obviously I don’t know the right sort of people (or perhaps I do?) because I’ve never experienced this phenomenon. Anyway I think I can safely say that James doesn’t like sheep chucking. He went on to show us further pictures of sheep and a random fox (although I think a wolf would have been more ironic). Sorry James – more crowd sourcing to do.
Personally I don’t care what folk do with sheep (in the privacy of their own homes of course). In fact I think that’s the real beauty of Social Media – people can pretty much do anything (as long as it’s legal). So if they want ‘nonsense’ that’s fine. If they want to do ‘real work’ and make meaningful connections that’s fine too. Something for everyone I say.
And so back to business – the message coming out of this session I think, is that SMs are now recognised as a very powerful tool for organisations. Companies are starting to take this whole Web2.0 thing seriously.
But am I going to be hit by subtle (or not so subtle) advertising from Coca-cola in ‘MySpace’? Hmmm … not sure I’m happy about that sort of invasion. And how do I know these guys are the bona fide purveyors of ‘the real thing’? It’ll be interesting to see how this develops – and how the world of hard-and-fast commerce mixes with ‘community spirt’ of social networking.
For anyone who has read Clay Shirky’s ‘Here Comes Everybody’ – you can see how people can quickly get results through Social Networks. But could this new found power also be dangerous in the wrong hands? Baring pressure on organisations – beating them into submission – mob rule? Or… community engagement and democracy in action?
No doubt – good things can and will be done. Lets hope so for all our sakes.