Darren Barefoot’s keynote, The Many-Armed Starfish: Today and Tomorrow in Social Media
at the Web Content 2008 conference was very good and informative. I loved his hint of a Canadian accent.
I should say a little about myself so you know my perspective: I’m a marketing communications consultant and an unabashed “late adopter.” I live firmly in the Web 1.0 world.
I have two websites, a blog which I post to once a month if I’m lucky, a LinkedIn account with a few connections and I run a number of listserves, but that’s as far as I go.
No text messaging. No Skype. No Facebook or Myspace. No. NO. NO.
You’ve got to convince me. I resist technology. So, it was good to hear Darren’s skepticism about some breaking edge technologies, such as Brightkite
, which allows you to broadcast where you are via GPS. But, he recognized that “the things we find creepy today are commonplace tomorrow.” He said several times in the presentation that he wasn’t sure of this or that but the geeks are excited so that’s a sign that’s probably on the horizon for all of us. “The geeks are the filters.”
Those geeks, the earlier adopters, may have found his presentation basic, but even in arenas in which I have a lot of experience, I often find the basic presentations a good reinforcement, insightful, and I usually get an ah huh or two. This was a good presentation and I would think most people would have at least gotten one ah huh.
Darren discourages companies from starting their own social niche networks because you have to drag users from where ever they already are. Facebook and MySpace are good because they have the numbers, but passionate people are on niche networks for dog, cat or hamster lovers or whatever.
He pointed out that “the web has moved beyond the browser. It’s busting out of the browser.” So, for example, there’s a game “The Lost Ring” promoting the Beijing Olympic games which is both on the web and in the real world.
He ended with lessons. “Relinquish control
” was the first, but he said that relinquish was the wrong word because we never had control in the first place. He mentioned a friend who, when he introduces himself, just links to the Google search of his name: “I am what you say I am.” This is the truth that everyone believes.
He showed us the website, Brandtags.net
, which lets users say what words certain brands make them think of. He had the page for Kodak out and one word that a lot of people had listed was “Dead.”
Sorry this isn’t as real time as I’d like. With all the early adopters here, the wireless network is overloaded, and I can’t get online. Yes, it's a little ironic for a Web2.0 conference...looks like we’re still on the journey.