Magazine article Marketing

Andrew Walmsley on Digital: I Missed the Connection

Magazine article Marketing

Andrew Walmsley on Digital: I Missed the Connection

Article excerpt

Those who blog and tweet about events are driving the agenda, not distancing themselves from it.

When the Mrs and I had our first child, I did what most men do when faced with a huge and unpredictable life change. I went shopping for technology.

The video camera I came home with was going to bear witness to all my children's seminal moments - first steps, first day at school, birthdays and Christmases. Initial signs were good - I have hours of footage of my son's first birthday - but usage tailed off rapidly, and the camera has spent the past three years in a kitchen cupboard.

What I discovered was that the act of filming an occasion dissociated me from it. I wasn't at the party, but watching through the monitor, thinking about how the video would look and ensuring I captured the important bits.

Afterwards, I couldn't remember what happened. I had missed out on genuinely participating in these events, and going back to watch the videos felt unsatisfyingly second-hand. So I stopped filming. Lots of psycho-babble gets written about 'living in the moment', but I know I have a lot more fun when I don't have to worry about how it might look later.

If you've been on stage at a conference in the past year, you'll probably have noticed the front row furiously typing on laptops, blogging about the conference as it happens.

It's now common for speeches to be reported online before the speaker leaves the platform, and Twitter has accelerated this trend, as members of the audience relay summaries in 140-character tweets to their followers.

When I first encountered this phenomenon, I couldn't see the point. How could these people participate in the session and really consider and reflect on the issues discussed? Wasn't blogging just a way of distancing the writer from the event - and besides, when was the last time anything of genuinely time-sensitive nature was announced at a conference?

Perhaps I was missing the point, though. The immediacy of blogs has put pressure on the mainstream media to raise their game. Bloggers are compelled constantly to update, and professional publications have responded by relaxing editorial, sometimes allowing journalists to post directly to the web, and encouraging them to file frequently from events rather than be solely deadline-driven.

Awareness of this coverage makes speakers raise their game, as they are conscious that their views are likely to be reported and Google will ensure the remarks are available in perpetuity. …

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