Blogging & Social Media Conference

On Saturday, I was at the IrishElection & European Commission-organised Blogging & Social Media Conference.  It was a very interesting conference, as well as giving me a great opportunity to meet people whose blogs I’ve been reading for some time in person.

Zack Exley by RedMum

Zack Exley by RedMum

RedMum was on photography duty, doing the same brilliant job as always.  She’d already posted all her photos before the Conference was even over.  Tom from Digital Revolutionaries is, I believe, currently putting together a downloadable video version of the conference – he streamed live during it.

Zack Exley gave a great rundown on both the online and on the ground organisation being run by the Barack Obama campaign.  Very interesting to see how they’ve made a really significant effort to push as much of the slog work as possible out to the people on the ground.  Rather than having canvassing forms filled in on paper, then driven to a central office, then entered into computers in their thousands (which always ends up being abandoned for more urgent work), they’ve got their local volunteers entering in thirty or forty of the forms each night.

Breaking down the work into manageable sizes and relevant units to individual volunteers is giving more ownership of the campaign to people on the ground, and saving those in central areas a lot of time and effort.  They’ve also spread responsibility outwards and downwards – allocating managers for various different roles in each neighbourhood.  I found this type of thing very useful during the 2007 General Election, when giving people job titles to go with their (volunteer) duties significantly increased their buy-in to the work, and therefore their dedication and effort.

Damien Mulley & Cian O Flaherty

Damien Mulley & Cian O Flaherty by RedMum

Damian O’Broin‘s presentation was also excellent.  It was so well done that the presentation can stand on its own, but it didn’t distract from him when he was talking.  Most presentations delivered in the corporate world do – if there’s more than 12 words on your screen, people will be reading them not listening to you.  Damian got the balance between on screen content and spoken content just right.

Well done to Cian (who I hadn’t seen since his moratorium interview with Ruairi Quinn in 2007), who kept the whole thing running – both from an organisational and a participatory point.

This was a great thing for the European Commission to do too.  This was a nice ‘soft’ way of reaching out to potential opinion makers in Ireland, but there was no hard sell.  More of this sort of thing will be required if the European Union is to connect with the people.  And it certainly needs to do that.

And finally, a nod to Suzy at Maman Poulet, who got the biggest cheer of the day for what was probably the most important Irish blog post of 2008.

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