A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

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Robin White

How do you fuse the best of the old media and the best of the new? A communication coalition, if you will.

Brands only exist because they help consumers make buying decisions without too much brainpower. The are useful, so they work. The brain runs on a cognitive miser system, it uses more energy per ounce than any other part of your body. It wants to be spending that energy on things like who to fall in love with…

At some stage the brain needs more help than a TV ad can help with. That’s where new media starts to come it. And that’s fine until the biggest problem of marketing – once the brain has made up its mind, it doesn’t like changing it… Learning something is much more energy expensive than practiced behaviour. Cognitive dissonance – anything that doesn’t fit in to our existing belief system is reprocessed until it does.

The famous yuppie car ad?

People reprocessed it so that 2/3 didn’t think he drove a BMW – the car targeted.

The mouse can be a game changer – by managing a flow of pages on a website, the brain might start changing its mind. We’re researching that now, says White. People have found that being attacked online reprogrammed them – but you can retaliate by engaging. Virals are almost old media now – they’re a hybrid of both.

This was spread at no cost to the advertiser, rewatched to check for cheating, and cut road deaths in London. Win.

Marketing is moving from telling people where to go, to coming along with them on the journey.

But – we’ve always been social. Robin Dunbar – the larger the group around you, the better your chance of survival, if you’re an ape.  Evolutionary speaking, Facebook is grooming. We have the evolution of mobile grooming; “scratching each other’s back” – endorphins are released, and the system responds to low level repetitive actions. Joggers are addicted to those endorphins. From brain size, you can predict an animal’s social grooming group; 150 for humans.  Villages were around 150 people, but in cities our groups shrank to 25. Technology responded, first with soap operas for virtual friends, and then mobile phones and Facebook for real ones.

What’s Mine is Yours – an amazing book. The Big New Idea: collaborative consumption. It’s going to transform our lives. The Big Society is as much about Collaborative consumption as volunteering. – aimed at 16 to 19 years old, gathering ideas, paid for by Nokia. Like between schools, business and mentors.

If you’re a creative person, and you’re not doing creative mentoring, it’s going to look pretty bad on your CV…

View his presentation

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Combined into one as it was done in one go:

  • Radiohead, Arcade Fire and OKGo are releasing the creativity into the wild and letting their fans curate it
  • Private enterprise needs to become more of a social enterprise, and thus be more sustainable
  • Sally doesn’t envy the archeologists of the future, given the amount of data we’re creating
  • Information overload is the problems – but it’s not buried. It’s there.
  • The Eden Project is going to start gathering people’s creations around the project
  • In order for curation to be strong in the future, we’re going to need a strong community around our brand, so they create material to curate.
  • The Big Society – it is doable, and it needs to be sold in as achievable.
  • Where are the quick wins? There are life hurdles to get over. What one thing could you do?
  • Gary said that the + in Creativity +Curation hasn’t been talked about…


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Wow. Interesting start. Andrew Dubber just started by saying that he was with Ed Milliband in opposing Steve Moore’s ideas on the Big Society.

He’s thrown away his presentation, and is perched on the edge of the stage, doing his talk. His viewpoint is that the media environment we are in manages the way we perceive the world. It’s important that we have iPhones in our pockets, that we use e-mail, that we’re on Twitter. That’s different from sitting reading a book on our own.

Five ages of media:

  1. Oral Age (storytellers)
  2. Scribal Age (literacy is power)
  3. Book Age
  4. Electric Age (recordings and broadcast)
  5. Digital Age (as different from Electric Age as it was from the Book Age).

So, we need to do things that are appropriate to the internet. Oh, right, he’s making the old point that early TV was pointing cameras at theatre. Yes, we know this.

His experiments around curation are figuring out about how to do medium-appropriate work online.  Music is a process not a thing – but we archive is the recordings, and nothing else. We archive an idealised version of it. He decided to put a music event called Aftershock online, by giving all the musicians involved a Flip video camera, and then “uncurating” what they recorded. It was uploaded as it, with purely descriptive tagging. It created a multiple first person narrative, and people had to find their own way through it, by choosing the videos. They created their own narrative, and, over time, they become invested in some of the characters, following them through events.

Dubber is writing a book – well, a blog, which he hopes will become a book. He’s concerned about the fact that 95% of the recorded materiel produced by the record companies is mouldering, unavailable, in their archives. The decision not to release it is purely commercial. He’d rather not curate archives – he’d like to see everything archived and tagged, because other people may find value in it later. His values are not the only standard. There’s no shortage of space online – why not?

Social object theory – there are two things online; conversation and things people are discussing – the social objects. If you share everything, then people can curate on top of that. People can make money from making meaning.

Curation project: Curated by interesting people

Steve Moore

The Big Society – it’s an idea that started to emerge a year or so ago, from issues around the state of the economy. Other issues played into it: the aging population was one. The costs of health care, of looking after the elderly are rising all the time. Oh, and currently 80% of the decisions about the spending of public money is decided within one square mile in London. Nowhere else is that power so centralised. How can we hand that power back, asks Steve Moore?

Communities are fragmented. 3% percent of people attended a public meeting last year. Only around 25% of people volunteer in any way. 1 in 10 feel lonely, 60% isolated from any decision making.

Yes, it’s a political idea. It was part of the Conservative Party manifesto, and is part of the Coalition’s government. It’s being factored into the legislation.

Moore is involved through the Big Society Network. If we use networked technologies, if we use creative media, we can start to build the Big Society.

The government is serious about transferring power to a local level – and he means below local government level. Don’t expect contracts from central government, but make your focus on local projects on a very granular level.

Groups are the currency of the Big Society. Allowing local groups to take action in the local area is at the heart of the Big Society.

Everywhere he goes, he discovers remarkable stories of people doing remarkable things, unheralded. Tapping into that community entrepreneurship is going to be key. While Moore was preparing his talk, Ed Milliband was making a speech trashing his ideas. But Moore suggest that all the technological and social change going on means that we need to find new ways of doing things. And he thinks that over the next year we will be able to create some great new ideas.

Karren Brooks

What is more important: the inventor or the invented?

Karren Brooks is kicking off her session with questions. In every conference there must be a session that’s hard to liveblog. This is proving to be it. She’s throwing a lot of ideas at us, but I can’t find a thread in it yet. Here’s the sorts of elements she’s giving us: She’s inspired by people she works with. She’s a connector by nature, and she loves networking. If she teaches us something, we need to be able to take it away.

And now we’re staring into each other’s eye. Wow. That was an uncomfortable experience. But that’s a connection – and if you go into a meeting, you need to make a connection with someone. (That was a “presence drill” we did, apparently). If we’re present in a space and connected with the people they’re with – they’re more likely to buy whatever you’re selling. The most important thing to master is yourself, because you are the primary product you sell.

“Become an advanced being,” she says. “If you’re not present, how can you ask other people to be so?”

Where your attention goes, you money goes. Your attention is your personal currency.

That was…interesting.

Update: Just had a chat with Karren, and her colleague Barry Fairburn. We had a really interesting discussion about both public speaking, and the lack of psychological elements in people’s discussion of social media. I’m idly wondering if that session would have worked better a a “fireside chat” style session, rather than a talk.

Reporting Back

  • Sometimes we forget that learning happens all the time, and we should think of mentoring as a normal part of business life. People who become mentors don’t always know how to do that.
  • Having outside influences into a moment can be helpful, but the “doing two things at once” element that things like Twitterfalls can prevent us really being in the experience.
  • The current generation will grow up with continuos partial attention, and perhaps it’s up to us to teach them presence.
  • There’s a tension between creating stuff and just being there – enjoying a physical, chemical moment with people. (This habitual live-blogger is feeling uncomfortable right now.)
  • Sometimes you should edit experience before you shout about it.

 View Karren’s Presentation

Chris Carey of the PRS

Blimey – it’s the PRS! Traditional music industry guy talking at a conference full of internet types. This should be interesting…

Data matters because it dispels myths, Chris Carey asserts. Some data: £1.4bn on recorded music in 2009 £1.5bn is Live. PRS = £0.5bn. Advertising & sponsorship? 2%.

Remember touring at a loss to support CD sales? Record companies used to pay for it! In 2004 live revenues were less than half of recorded, now live is bigger. BUT secondary ticket sales growing faster BUT so are merchandise and sales at venues.

Recorded music ended its five year decline last year – it was flat in 2009.

Long Tail theoryChris Anderson cited Rhapsody as an example. That’s a bad example, as it’s subscription sales. It’s volume data not value data.

OK, he’s here to defend the traditional music industry to some degree. He’s trying to debunk the major online thinking around music step by step. He’s trying to suggest that creator to consumer sales are largely a myth, you need a go-between to sell to iTunes, for example. Returning to the long tail, he’s showing a graph that shows that Spotify is more hit-based that the long tail model suggests. The niche 95% generate 20% of listens (Hang on, Spotify is a subscription model – the very thing he criticised Rhapsody for being in Anderson’s example). We7 is even more hit-heavy.

“I want to keep my job after this” <— bear that in mind when analysing what he says. 😉

He’s focusing very much on the big company market for music publishing. He’s quoting investment of £5m – all for one band, or split between 5?

Gossip Girl – they turned off free streaming of the TV show. They got a slight bump – but there as a tenfold increase in torrents of the show. Top Gear torrents increase in speed (in terms of how quickly they’re downloaded after broadcast) week on week during a  season. I Am Legend torrenting peaked when a leaked copy of the DVD hit the torrents – quality conscious pirates. Watchmen was the most torrented film in the first half of 2009. Did those people go to the cinema? Maybe – cinema offers shared experience that TV doesn’t.

(Interesting – the opening sessions both yesterday and today seem to be there to challenge the recieved wisdom of the web world – “free” yesterday and “pirate/paid business models” today. Intentional choice?)

Reporting Back:

Change from yesterday – the moderators are reporting back.

  • We need to look forwards to changing patterns of behaviour, not just historical data. 
  • Connection with artists through online community or piracy can lead to sales.
  • Good quality content will always find an audience and be successful.
  • Giving things away from free eventually devalues it. Free music devalues it.
  • Evidence-based thinking is good. People were interesting the data shown. 
  • Pirating behaviour is consumer behaviour. The people downloading Watchmen may be the people most likely to buy the directors box set.
  • There may be a generational issue – the younger people still don’t want to pay for music.
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Who's the end user?

(Liveblogging – prone to error, typos and inaccuracy. And possible bias in this session…)

Starting the second day of Like Minds in the Delighting Users session, and feeling slightly suspicious, because I’ve just realised that it’s essentially a Windows Phone 7-derived session. That said, the new mobile OS has been getting good reviews, so I’m going to hang on in here and see how it goes… (liveblogging this on an iPad, incidentally. :-) )

OK – potted history of Windows Mobile now, to draw out the point that the earlier versions didn’t feel like they were designed for the user – and they weren’t. They were designed for the network operators. BlackBerry – feels like its designed for the CIO rather than the user. Android is an OS designed for people to build with/on it.

Bit of a political battle going on now. The session leader is saying that Apple always puts design first and is suggesting that the glass case of the iPhone 4 is “impractical”. Sceptical/hostile reaction from most of the audience, and luckily we’re moving on.

Great line from one of the designers: “We want our clients with money to get taste and our clients with taste to get money…”.

Oded Ran is challenging us to prove that our businesses are really focused on the end users, and pointing out that differing pressures within a company can shift that focus – especially if you’re not clear on who the end user is. I think the underlying point here is that the success of the new Windows Phone 7 is derived from what was probably a tough corporate shift of direction from seeing the phone networks as the customer to the actual person who holds the phone in their hand. He’s challenging simplistic notion of who the customer is – it may not be the person who signs the cheque to you… It’s the difference between the “end user” and the “customer”.

Twitter’s been brought up – and that’s complicated the debate. It was developed almost by accident. and in the early stages the users developed it – @ replies, hashtags and retweeting were all user-created, and not initially supported by the service.

Jonathan AkwueAnd now we’re on to personas – for example, the new Windows Phone 7 is very clearly targeted at what they call a Life Maximizer – looks like primarily 18-34 university educated males… However, there’s some debate emerging. Some people are standing up for personas because they help make the user a real person, others feel they lock people into rigid thinking that can hinder the product in the long-run. “Real people are better than fake people,” says Jonathan Akwue. He revisits my Twitter comments, pointing out that Twitter went with a vision, and then listened to the users to shape the future direction of the product.

Microsoft’s personas are Anna and Miles (shades of This LIfe, there…)

So why do we care what people think? Lots of debate about wether people who are happy or unhappy talk more. Akwue suggested that people will complain to 10 people for every 1 person they evangelise to – and that feels about right to me, although others disagree. Someone suggested that there are now too many components on social networks, so their impact has been lost. I think that’s nonsense, because those complaints have an impact in aggregate. My complaints may only influence my friends, but lots of people complaining to their friends has an impact.

The $1bn question: what makes us happy? Answers being flip-charted… Answers very revealing about the group, because they’re all about personal success and achievement and material things. Very little about family, friends and the one person who suggested connection with nature got mocked. Hidden shallows in here. :) Ah, the social fight back has started. One person has just pointed out that it isn’t owning a laptop that makes her happy, it’s what she can do with it, particularly connecting with others…

In the flowOoh, we’ve moved onto flow and timelessness. What is flow? The moment you’re balance perfectly between challenge and skill. Stress is when external forces impact on you negatively, particularly at work. We’re not designed to spend long periods of time in a sedentary environment with people we wouldn’t naturally choose to socialise with.

Three concepts that Ran is steering us towards:

Autonomy – crucial concept. Loss of autonomy = loss of happiness.
Competence – the feeling that your are effective. (I suspect a lot of websites and tech fall down on this – they don’t make their users feel competent)
Relatedness – feeling understood and appreciated

And we’re on to a demo of how the phone matches these concepts. Attention in the room wavering…

I will admit that Windows Phone 7 does look very impressive (and very un-Microsoft, in fact) but I’m not going to add to the vast numbers of reviews of the product here. Lunch time…

View Oded’s Presentation

Tiffany St JamesTiffany St James is hammering us with stats – the vast amount of data created every two days, the number of people online, the even larger number of people using mobiles.

What’s the most common reason for using the internet? News, followed by researching products, followed by keeping up with friends (I better the latter will be higher in future surveys – that list parallels the rise of different forms of web content pretty precisely. ).

Pervasive trends:

  • Personal
  • Social
  • Local
  • Commercial
  • Enterprise
  • Mobile

(Source: James Cashmore, Google)

55% of office space is empty says Microsoft (be interested to see if agrees…) So they’re working on creating hybrid spaces, because the barrier between home and work is blurring.

Is social networking good for you? Maybe. Plenty of research shows that maintaining relationships is good for you – but does diminished physical contact reduce your health? Is the behaviour that social networking promotes actually changing our brains? (Learning an instrument changes your brain…)

Interesting survey of people’s attitudes to spending time disconnected in the room. The majority would be uncomfortable with completely disconnecting for a week – I’ve rather enjoyed it in the past. A holiday from the internet is great sometimes. But then, there are people in this room who feel uncomfortable with being offline for a day…!

(This presentation is something of a buffet of facts, figures and research, so sorry if this post seems disjointed)

We receive news differently – stories break via Twitter – and we get entertainment streamed to us over the internet.

Is technology enabling democracy or hindering it? The #cnnfail hashtag during the Iranian elections was one form of democratic protest. The fake BP PR twitter account gets more followers than the official. Trafigura, of course. And she’s cut off, because her time is up.

View Tiffany’s Presentation

Benjamin Ellis talking at Like Minds

The 70s. Big Hair. Big Ties. Bell Bottoms. And Benjamin Ellis‘s first computer. He’s been part of the online culture since his childhood – and now he has four children as his own experiment group. And he’s been spending a lot of time thinking about how the access to information the internet has granted us may be shaping our thought-processes and decision making.

When we’re immersed in a technology, we don’t really think about it. Ellis broke his mobile phone, and the week that it took him to sort out a replacement taught him how much he’d come to depend on it. When we’re immersed in technology, we don’t think about it. He can’t get his kids to imagine what a world without search engines is like. They have no concept of how we found things out before The Google.

“I’m living in a world of barely planned behaviour,” says Ellis. Once we were in a world of five year business plans and long terms decisions – and now we’re in a world of lots and lots of micro-decisions. Look at Swarms on FourSquare – lots of micro-decisions leading to a badge of many – but influenced by each others’  behaviours. These micro-decisions are group consensus-based.

The amount of knowledge available to us has exploded – a few hundred years ago it was almost feasible to gather all human knowledge together in one place. Two types of knowledge – explicit is the stuff we learn at school, and write blog posts about. Tacit is the sort that is more important to business, like “is this person a good prospect?” We think we know more than we do, because we’ve got so good at documenting explicit information. Curation of information in business is crucial. But how does the curation process turn knowledge, which we have in abundance, into knowledge, which is, uh, not?

Context takes knowledge and makes it into wisdom. We’re obsessed with knowledge we can manage and store, but it’s not the most valuable kind. Narrative is what allows us to process information – it allows us to take knowledge and transform it into wisdom. Knowledge, suggests Ellis, is being aware that a fall from five feet will kill his MacBook, but wisdom is knowing that leaving your rucksack unzipped on the tube with the MacBook in it will lead to disaster. And that anecdote is the narrative that transfers knowledge to wisdom.

View Benjamin’s Presentation

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