July 18, 2008

Think Global, Act Local

I'm currently reading Groundswell, which as well as laying out a sensible approach towards social media decision-making, has lots of great international case studies of what mainly well-known brands are doing. It's giving me lots of great insights.

But, perhaps as a European working in a second language outside my own country, I'm always more intrigued by examples from 'my own backyard.' So I was pleased to be invited along yesterday to Weblounge in Nuremberg, Germany, to meet more of those in my area who are interested in, active in, or even better willing to share their experiences in doing social media. This view was shared widely as the cool venue at b2 was a packed house. Attracting so much interest was a great result for the organisers, Publicis Corporate Publishing and NIK, the association for the IT and communications sector in Nuremberg.

The theme was corporate blogging, and with an audience of very mixed experience levels, German blogger Robert Basic kicked off getting everyone acting out a minute in the life of the internet, a sort of 'chinese whispers' demonstration of how uncontrollable the blogosphere is. 10 out of 10 for interactivity and chaos factor, Robert, and 3 out of 10 for chosing me to represent the face of German mainstream media, Bild. Publicis director, Olaf Wolff then picked up the topic with an overview of some of the trends and challenges. Frozen goods firm Frosta, or rather its director, Felix Ahlers, then gave some really interesting insights on how it is using its respected corporate blog as a central part of its ongoing marketing and communications to promote the value of natural ingredients, and to compete as a relatively small German player in an extremely competitive market.

So while you may feel you need to jump on a plane to San Fransisco to find out the latest in social media (and I do wish I were at BlogHer at the moment!), often there's value to be got nearer to home. As is often the case, the biggest advantage of these types of events is having the chance to talk to other people about what they are doing (or trying to do), and to learn from each other. So I am hoping that future Weblounges will be more interactive, and less powerpoint presentation (a view shared by the back-channel on Twitter, and in chatting to other attendees).

As I write this, my London friends are enjoying a much more informal chance to meet up and discuss issues at the Tuttle Club (wouldn't mind being there either!), and it would be great to see this sort of format in my back yard too (if it doesn't already exist!)

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