Archive for November, 2008

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Amplified 08 – 200 social media people in one place

November 28, 2008

Writing this on the 22:05 stopping train from London to Manchester estimated time of arrival 1:23am I have the opportunity to mull over how the day went. The Amplified08 (#amp08 for Twitterists) contrasts sharply with the ongoing Broadcast Media Festival in Manchester. From the opening debate on Wednesday at BMF I got the feeling that ‘Old Media’ by that I mean mass media, is either in denial about or just doesn’t understand the concept of social media. The Canutesque approach to restraining new forms of sharing and social interaction by restrictive licensing practises and control of the space in which people congregate seems desperate and punitive. It also highlighted that the overriding objective of ‘Old Media’ is maximising profit and monitizing opportunity, it is for me a joyless place and one that is being challenged by many of the people who were present at #amp08.

Held at NESTA headquarters, London, Amplified08 (The Network of Networks) is an attempt to bring many of the people who inhabit the social media space together to create innovative new ways of working and more prosaically contribute to the public good.¬† The feeling I got at The Broadcast Media Festival was how are we going to control this at #amp08 it was ‘isn’t this great look you can do this and this and this’.

Most of the sessions where spontaneous and ranged from social media in business to how it can be used to engage and educate young people. This spontaneity was refreshing in one way but frustrating in another. It reminded me of a university freshers fair with lots to dip into but too much to take in.

I attended sessions on whether the size of a network matters and how do you make one inclusive yet functional, how social media can help educate young people and the future of online video, each of these topics you could spend a day or longer on, so what did I get from it?

1) @lloydavies spoke about network theory and the forces that act on them. How power is distributed through a network and how decisions are made, the anxiety with in them and whether they become risk averse, the richness of connections and ability for communication in a non-heirachical structure, the speed of flow of information and how this enables a network to fulfil the desires of it’s members and the diversity of agents (If we are all the same person then what a boring and ineffective place it would be). My personal take was that for any network to survive you need to empower people to make informed decisions through information and advocacy and even though all networks tend toward a hierarchical structure this structure should not be seen as static.

2) The session on young people and how social networks can help in education was delivered by @digitalmaverick who unfortunately had to leave early. I always find it interesting when a group of well meaning individuals try and second guess young people who are, in many cases, more aware of the social space they inhabit. Reference was made to Dave Eggers TED presentation about his 826 Valencia project in New York, where professionals donate their time to deprived youngsters, horsesmouth.org? where people can give anonymous advice and the idea of mediated identities.

3) The future of online video is? Well noone knows what the future is. @freecloud explained how the market was broken down and how user generated video generated only accounted for 2% of revenue for networks. It was suggested that the UGV model wasn’t based on people earning revenue but through wanting to share with others. This is something that a lot of people don’t understand.

All the above sessions seemed like taster sessions and whether the debate continues we’ll have to see. If it does it will appear on Twitter by searching for the #amp08 tag or here¬†http://amplified.pbwiki.com

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