Social Tools for Business Use, conference notes (day 2)

First, an overall summary of the conference:

There were good bits:

  • speakers (Euan, Ian, Suw and Kevin stood out, but there were lots of other really good presenters too). I learned a lot. My fingers and brain were both engaged for just about the whole thing.
  • lunch was tasty
  • comfortable and intimate venue (despite not having enough power sockets)

And there were bits that could have been better:

  • Free wireless, rather than making speakers and attendees who wanted to stay connect pay the BT OpenZone tax, would have been nice. It’s a Web 2.0 conference. Where’s the wifi? Where’s the backchannel?
  • It wasn’t FOWA. I felt I’d missed out by not hopping between the two (as Suw and Kevin did)
  • Unicom need to learn the lessons of the conference and get involved with the web. Why did it fall to me to post it to Upcoming? I do hope the photos the chairman was taking will be tagged on Flickr soon.

And, for your delight, live(ish)blogged notes from day 2’s speakers

  • Suw Charman
  • Ruth Ward
  • Kevin Anderson
  • Justin Patten
  • Nick Hill

all follow the bump…

Suw Charman – Fostering adoption

I rather rudely walked in 10 minutes after Suw started. I should have taken an earlier train – though in my defense, if we’d been friends on Twitter at the start of the day she’d have known my train was running late and I was on my way. Suw used no slides (which I think will be this years equivalent to using Keynote) and rightly got great feedback for having a deep insight into not just the technology but the psychology and social implications behind the adoption of Web 2.0. F’rinstance, of the very few notes I took was from a bit in which Suw compared different online social venues by thinking about their ownership, and the affect that has on the tone.

  • blogs – ownership
  • wikis – shared ownership
  • forums – no ownership. Can be less likely to be civil

It was really nice to chat with both Suw and Kevin (look down) afterwards.

Ruth Ward – social software in a hard world

Ruth is head of Knowledge Systems and Development at Allen and Overy law firm. She’s enthusiastic about internal use but not into external blogging. I’m not sure why and I didn’t get a chance to talk to her afterwards. Some snippets:

  • A&O’s blogging system based on MT
  • A&O lawyers heavy users of Outlook and Blackberries
  • their system has email alerts (consolidated daily alerts)
  • traffic spike after alerts go out at 2pm
  • also has ability to send immediate alerts for urgent
  • Blogging system uses a mixture of categories (editor-defined) and themes (social-led tagging)
  • Use Hummingbird document management system, and blog posts can link to that
  • Wikis system which is used for PM, questionnaires, training sessions, everything
  • who uses? legal depts, … everyone
  • sought outside assistance (from Headshift)
  • easy to show value, as long as you know what the objectives are

Kevin Anderson – Social Software (get closer to your customers and better information sharing for your staff)

Blogs editor at Guardian unlimited. Digital journalism evangelist, and engaged to Suw.

  • Blog growth – (still) doubling every 6 months
  • blogs are starting to challenge MSM for reach and authority.
  • boingboing $1M/y. techcrunch turning over $60k/m
  • journalists blogging but not knowing why. “It’s just publishing”
  • Clip from Daily Show: “using blogs to give a voice to the already voiced”
  • Quote from Lost Remote: institutionalise the blog culture. Open up. Involve.
  • Quote from Scoble: blogging keeps me close to my customers
  • Times and Guardian both use typepad. Guardian started in 2001
  • participatory sites increasing. non-participatory ones level or dropping off
  • curiosity is more important than mastery
  • 150 English blogs in Iraq, 400 Arabic
  • Citizen Journalism? Not everyone is doing it to be a journalist. Safety comes first.
  • Power of niche blogs – general media tends to try general blogging, and misses that power.
  • New model here. It’s a mistake to try to fit old business models with new economic realities

Justin Patten (Human Law) – The impact of blogging on law and business

First question to the audience: Have any of you read The World is Flat? 6 hands, with 2 or 3 saying “I tried and gave up”. Justin noticed my hand was up and asked me what I thought of it. As you may know, I also gave up. It’s a good book, it’s just too long. Turns out Justin was involved in the changing of the book cover. “Applied Friedman’s principles against himself” apparently. I don’t know. I didn’t get to the bit in the book where he picked his own book cover.

Justin examined the Open Source movement, and how it was relevant to blogging. A detailed look at the risks and benefits of being involved in Web 2.0. Copyright, defamation, employment law, disclaimers, … A heavy emphasis here on what “Google says about you”, i.e. high ranking pages with negative content.

Nick Hill (BT) – Combining wikis and semantic web

Semantic web. Overview of RDF, Owl, the vision and power of the semantic web. Ontologies. Relationships. context and reliability. Dilbert: “Ironically, the best way [to disguise the fact you are a moron] is to become an expert in something called ‘knowledge management’.”

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