The Technology Strategy Board is consulting widely about the Connected Digital Economy Catapult – “to address the challenges of maximising the economic value of the growing digital economy to UK businesses”.
This is an area of great interest to my colleagues and me at the Centre for Creative Collaboration and we have been involved in previous discussions (in the days of the ‘Technology Innovation Centres’).
On Friday last, I went to the Information Day held by the TSB as part of the process. Here’s some thinking in the form of an audioboo, based on the Storify summary I produced. My previous post has a liveblog made during the meeting which combines notes and collected tweets from the CDEC hashtag.
I was on my way back to Piccadilly Station in Manchester last Wednesday evening when I heard one of @Documentally’s classic Audio boos – saw this:
And clicked on it and heard the Boo. And this is the Boo:
So I thought, wouldn’t be good to tell @Documentally that I was in Manchester and I was sorry I’d missed him. So I made this:
And then, of course, this being Digital Britain and all, I couldn’t upload it. At least not until I got home. Wifi on the train wouldn’t let me upload it and the 3G connection wouldn’t play ball either.
So we had this conversation on Twitter:
Using Audioboo as a discursive medium
And then I had another idea. What if a group of us decided to use Audioboo to discuss a theme or topic, have a debate or argue about something. We could tag them and listen to them, creating an archive of the discussion. Next steps? Find a few people to test it out?
I made a few notes in realtime of the #media140 gathering on 8 October. Ande says he brought together the UK press and media in May to talk about the impact of Twitter on the media and to raise money for Mencap. He seems to have hit on a big theme and is surprised by how it’s taken off.
“It’s grown organically and it’s bigger than I ever thought it would be”
“We’ve got a globe that rotates and this thing drops in![cheers]”
Looking at about 10,000 uniques in 37 days. Ande is going through the Media140 team and talking about the way he’s working with the team and how the blog is working.
Ande says we want to bring together people from across different industries to look at the impact of the social web especially realtime media – and Twitter is very important.
Ande is talking about how rapidly the idea has developed and it’s spread internationally – to Bangalore and Sidney; not what he expected he started it up in May.
Mark Rock from Audioboo gets a mention. Stuart from Sun – a generally good egg (www.sun.com/startups).
Audioboo – Mark Rock
Sees Audioboo as a re-invention of radio news designed for a world enabled by Twitter. It’s about trust. Audioboo is a tool to promote trust and authenticity.
“We’re not going to allow editing – it’s not about that”
Immediately after the Nesta event, I made an Audioboo. Here it is. It’s an account of a well-chaired, well paced meeting. But ‘more of the same’ really from the panel. A bit of a worry when the Government sees the creative industries as a way out of the current economic difficulties and as a source of new growth.
For some time, I’ve been thinking about how to use Audioboo in a non-broadcast sort of way. Think about it. It’s like radio but with an audience of one or not many. Most of us use Audioboo in ‘broadcast mode’ meaning that we are making a piece of what used to be callled ‘sound radio’. We make it, they listen to it [eof]. But it doesn’t need to be like that.
The Audioboo site recognises this in that once you’ve listened to a Boo; you are encouraged to comment in text. But you could BooBack (hah) which is what I did with Rory. Here is his Audioboo:
And here is mine in response:
Now, it’s not a conversation yet – but it could be. Rory tweeted this:
The following day, I made another Audioboo
Which is relevant. But there it stops. A conversation that never developed. But it could. It still might. ‘Think on Lad” as my Yorkshire Grandma used to say.
A real collaborative project.
We started something yesterday.
Feeling about it – a very odd feeling seeing how the work came back where somebody, I don’t know who or where, has worked on it adding ideas and their own thinking. If the work had changed dramatically, then we might have had a problem. As it was, it had changed a fair bit from our original idea but it hadn’t gone a long way; not much time. If there had been a bifurcation and they’d gone off in a totally different direction. If we’d got it back and thought “That’s absolutely not what we were thinking.” then there might have been the potential for conflict. They couldn’t know our pattern of thinking and we had no communication with them; all they got from us were a few slides.
We’ve actually come up with quite a good idea. But the issue emerges – how do we continue it? What mechanisms do we have for sustaining that type of collaborative work. I’m hoping that other people around the world will be thinking about how we implement.
Here is one version of our reworked material (others here):
Really good discussion with interesting ‘play’ between arty publishing people on the platform and ‘geek-ridden’ audience.
A lot of the geekier people want to use lots of wizzy social media tools. Speakers suggested it might be a good idea to sit round a table and talk to people before haring off doing systems development. One thing I do agree with is the need and importance of chemistry – between the people – in making collaboration work. Session a bit on the ‘rose tinted’ glasses side of things.
A fabulous event in Liverpool that still has me thinking about the issues and means that I have to blog about it. This event really does try to ‘boundary cross’ – between the arts and technology, social media, music, geeks, non-geeks (not many!) and businesses (could be more). Overall a great event and I learnt a lot.
Here is some stuff on the opening and on the importance of narrative. The importance of stories keeps coming up in events. Especially events that have someting to do with social media. We neglect stories at our peril!
Last week’s elections and the political fallout have placed in context, for me, the event I went to at the Frontline Club on 28 May about how the Internet might play a part in the next election. The participants were:
Matthew Macgregor of Blue State Digital (the company that worked for the Obama campaign
I made contemporaneous notes and also some Audioboo content which is available here. A bit of background to the event here:
Everyone in ‘Broadcast Mode’ needs to ‘get with the program’
Iain Dale (pictured left) believes that the internet will impact individual MPs (mostly through revealing things they don’t want revealed I suspect) but that the overall ‘systemic’ effect of the internet will be small.
He agrees that the next General Election will be the first where mobile phones and social media will really begin to play a part and where bloggers will cause changes in the news cycle:
“We get more hits every day than all the 3 main parties put together”
He said referring to the traffic generated by his blog and by Guido Fawkes’.
The problem is the main parties are in ‘Broadcast Mode’ and that given British politics is driven by ‘controlling the message’ the level of interactivity of social media is a challenge. As Matthew Macgregor said “The internet is a tactic not a strategy” and that it lowers the barriers to communication (especially inbound to the Party) but how real is the commitment to ‘openness and transparency’. The reaction of the media to policy discussions driven by social media will, Matthew believes, be instructive; will the shutters come down once the media starts talking about ‘splits’.
“There’s nothing to click on other than ‘Unsubscribe'” – Matthew Macgregor
Alex Smith believes that “The Internet will play a crucial role in the next election” – he mentions viral video and the possibility of debate being shaped by the internet. He argues that the internet has “already effectively removed one of the Prime Minister’s closest political aides” and that the next election will to some extent be driven by stories that will “break on the web”. Alex believes that Paul and Iain have a huge impact on the media cycle and thinks that this will be an important factor. All the panelists agreed that the Internet strategies of the main parties were poor at best.
Boulton’s shock hashtag confession
At one point when talking about social media and the internet Adam Boulton said he didn’t know what a hashtag was (and I don’t think he was joking!) and references to the internet seemed to feel like references to some kind of monolithic bloc. Alex picked up the point that realtime interaction driven by things like Twitter might be important. Adam seemed to think that a Sky news team would always be faster on the ground.
The next Boo starts with the voices of Alex Smith (interesting references to Alan Johnson) and then Iain Dale. I round off with a few thoughts.
The next Boo has ‘reportage’ – skip it if you feel you have enough of a flavour from the text above.
Reflections and implications
The format worked well with a fairly formal panel session followed by various panelists joining tables and moving between courses. The informal part of the event was really good – we had Iain Dale and Alex Smith and the comments and discussion were very engaging.
The event would have been improved by a more discursive (and less ‘Question Time’) approach by the chair. Also, having a chair who seemed quite cheerful to admit that he didn’t ‘get’ the internet seems odd – but then presumably Adam ‘Hashtag’ Boulton was a draw for the ‘punters’ (especially the non-geeks)! All in all though a minor criticism.
There were two main things I took away to think about:
The importance of internet aggregation in realtime and increasing symmetry of communication,
The potential for independent candidates to harness the power of the internet to disintermediate the major parties.