I attended the inaugural meeting of Digital Surrey last night. By way of explanation:
digitalsurrey is a community for like-minded people wanting to stay up-to-date with the ever changing digital landscape, and: meet-up, network, learn, share.
This event has evolved from the original Farnham tweetup and Twestival. It was held at the new Surrey Sports Park which is exceptionally plush! Definitely going to have to visit in a sporting mode. I have refereed at the ‘old’ part of the site which is being retired as part of the new development.
Arriving fashionably late, I missed some of the introductions but did get to see the entirety of Benjamin Ellis giving a speech on the myths of measurement in social media. Benjamin is clearly a confident speaker and has a lot of knowledge and experience to impart in this arena. Although there were three key points referenced in the introduction to this speech, the lines were blurred and the presentation did go on too long. Really, the absolute maximum should be fifteen minutes and I think ten would be better to allow maximum use of networking (Plus reducing the time would allow a greater variety of speakers to get involved in a single meeting).
The most interesting elements touched on were the psychology-oriented ones (parts of the brain involved in decision making, for example) and this tack would have held my attention more. After all, many people talk about the benefits of social media and ROI but I am fascinated by the studies that are going on as to why social media in its various forms is effective. “Humans are sociable” is repeated often but is exceptionally wishy-washy and I suspect Benjamin has the background to really flesh this one out.
It was also curious to see some questions on the floor with the usual maxim of, “Who cares what someone had for breakfast?” with regard to status updates. This is typically over-used attack #1 on the likes of Twitter but it was surprising to see it at an event like this.
It was great to chat to a variety of people after the event to see what they are up to. Of particular interest was how that the most well received presentations given on social media at conferences are STILL the ones along the lines of, “This is what a blog is, here is how you write a post…” – never ever under-estimate just how many people still don’t know about this stuff!
As hinted at above, I feel this event would really benefit from a stronger focus on the networking side and setting a real time limit on the presentations. Force them to be short, sharp and exciting! I’m not convinced the lecture hall format is the best. Let’s get it somewhere more informal and, dare I say it, intimate.
Let’s end on a really positive note though. The organisation courtesy of Abigail and co was excellent and the cake that was provided was absolutely delicious!
Thanks to James Firth for the use of his excellent photos.