Embrace Disruption!


We had the fortune of attending the Embrace Disruption! Media Micro Conference at SOCAP09 last week. The conference focused on how the media landscape is changing and the impact that social media in particular is having. The event was opened by Adam Werbach, CEO of Saatchi and Saatchi S and author of the new book Strategy for Sustainability. He talked about the emerging liability for businesses that social media is creating.

SOCAP09One example Adam showed was a video made of the world’s largest egg-laying hatchery Hy-Line International in Spencer, Iowa. As a result of this video and the website it is showcased on MercyforAnimals.org, people around the globe are getting the truth about the inhumane treatment of animals in our food chain.

Panel #1: Social Media That Moves People
This panel focussed on the importance of an online presence moving people to action offline. A very moving story on this panel was by Loren Poole from Invisible Children. What started out as a trip to Africa to make a short documentary turned into an unexpected movement. “Invisible Children: Rough Cut”, a film that exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda‚Äôs night commuters and child soldiers was created. A non-profit also evolved out of the project to help people get involved in making a difference in Uganda. This project is a great example of the use of video to tell a story and an online effort to get people involved in taking action offline.

Other speakers on the panel included great organizations that are using social media tools to advance their offline initiateves: Kjerstin Erickson from FORGE (a nonprofit organization that works with displaced communities in Africa), Elana Rosen from One Economy (global nonprofit organization that delivers the power of technology and information to low-income people) and Brent Schulkin from Carrot Mob (a method of activism that leverages consumer power to make the most socially-responsible business practices).

Social media strategy tips:

  • have the right story to tell
  • consider making a video that has no language barriers
  • make sure your video has some conflict in it but keep it fun!
  • have an offline activity attached to the online
  • social media can be manipulative: tell your story as accurately as possible
  • do something for others, don’t just talk about yourself
  • media is used to inform, educate and persuade

Tips for small businesses:

  • how does your story tell?
  • is video appropriate?
  • where are your constituents, customers hanging out? Are they on Facebook or Myspace?
  • experiment: try one thing and if it doesn’t work try something else
  • focus on where you have the most impact
  • build partnerships: deepen their willingness to pass on info about your company
  • video: hire a professional if you can or look into Youth Media Production

Video Tips:

  • leave an ask, drive people to action
  • try live streaming
  • drive to a point
  • brand what you want and vision it

Panel #2: Radical Reportage and Democratizing Information
The second panel of the of the day was moderated by Laura Flanders from Grit.tv. On the panel were Kim Spencer from LinkTV, Nick Aster from Triple Pundit, and Jurianne Kamp from Ode Magazine. The main discussion of this panel was if advertising should continue to drive media. If media isn’t paid for by advertising who will pay for it? Are people ready and willing to pay for content? The panelists all agreed there should be more transparency about where money is coming from for ALL media. There was discussion about the fact that new investment needs to be made in media and that media needs to be at the center of change.

Panel #3: The Community and Cause Marketing Opportunity for Media
The last panel was moderated by Ellen Schneider (Active Voice). Panelists included Jonathon Greenblatt (Our Good Works) and Christopher Gebhardt (Participant Media). The panel talked about the direction that Web 2.0 is going. Some would call it Web 3.0 which is the integration of online with offline. Participant Media, which was founded by E-bay founder Jeff Skoll, talked about their latest movies The Cove and Food Inc. The discussion led to how do you take the moment of stimulus (ex movie theatre) to create action. For the movie The Cove, which exposes the truth about the international dolphin capture trade, there is an action at the end of the film where viewers can send a text message to #44144 to show their support. This action is similar to signing a petition. The panelists gave some great tips…..

Tips for Media Producers

  • give your audience an invitation to communicate and participate
  • connect both online and offline
  • social media is accelerating change
  • build social action campaigns around films
  • find partnerships with Corporate brands
  • achieve scale with your value proposition
  • make sure you’re talking about a common vision
  • embed short code into everything

Embrace Disruption! was a great conversation of the direction that media is headed and the role that social media is playing in creating change. The core message was to drive action offline from online activities. The organizations that are embracing this use of media are seeing amazing results and are inspiring people to take action. We look forward to seeing this micro conference continue to grow and to hear the ongoing success stories of the role social media is playing in changing the media landscape.

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