Receptive minds make for great conversations

EuroBlog 2007
One of the neatest things about speaking at conferences on topics you’re passionate about is connecting with like-minded people. And one of the best things is meeting those who are yet to be wholly convinced but are willing to engage in discussion. That means you have to work quite hard to present some persuasive arguments for your point of view.

I encountered many in both groups at the EuroBlog 2007 conference in Gent, Belgium, during dinner on Thursday evening, making for a stimulating experience.

The hottest topic of the many discussed at my dinner table was Twitter. The discussion reflected much of what everyone is talking about – what is it about this texting/chatting/stream-of-consciousness service that is both compelling and confounding? Plenty of opinion abounded. Martin Oetting has a good commentary (in German).

During breakfast on Friday morning, I had the great pleasure of discussing social media and PR with Lucija Medved of the Pristop PR agency in Ljubljiana, Slovenia, and her colleague from Renderspace (sorry, I’m terrible at remembering names and it’s not on the business card). We did a quick video recording which I’m sure will appear somewhere as a videocast. Thanks, guys, it was a pleasure talking with you.

At the start of the two-day conference on Friday morning, I gave my keynote presentation that addressed the broad topic of “Communication Management in Virtual Worlds: The Next Challenge.” Second Life featured largely in this presentation, where I focused on this virtual world from the business standpoint and hoped to get everyone to think about this conclusion:

If this really is the start of something big, those companies that explore the technology now may be in a better position later, much like the first companies to grasp the importance of the web in the early 1990s.

“The transition is coming, and you may not have as much time as you had with the web to adjust to its impact.” – Sandy Kearney, Director of the Virtual Worlds program, IBM.

This was originally planned to be the closing keynote presentation of the first day, and I’m grateful to organizers Anne-Marie Cotton and Serge Cornelus that a schedule change was possible so that I could still participate even if I had to depart immediately after the presentation to get to London and so miss all the other sessions.

Some of the participants have already posted their commentaries. Cindy De Smet, for instance. And Philippe Borremans who I bumped into as I was shooting out the door. Others no doubt will write their thoughts about this event in the coming days.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Philippe Borremans

    Let’s take some more time to chat when we see each other again in London at the Social Media Forum… Lot’s of good feedback about your presentation Neville… I had to answer a lot of questions afterwards on IBM’s involvement in SL ;-) Posted a little interview with the researchers of the Euroblog survey on my blog. Check it out.

  2. neville

    Definitely, Philippe. Glad you got all those questions and not me :)

    I’m going to talk a bit about the EuroBlog survey in today’s FIR. And look forward to seeing you in London on Wed.

  3. CerpinTaxt

    Neville it was a pleasure having dinner and breakfast with you also. Gotta get my own business card soon.. :) Loved your keynote also.

    I will let you know when I’ll put the interview up – as soon as I can. And I’ll make sure to check out Twitter and Second Life in the next days. So see you there.. :)

  4. Martin Oetting

    Neville, thanks for this post. A very helpful thought, indeed, and I totally agree: when it’s about advancing with your own thinking, how good are the people who share the same thoughts and enthusiasms? They’re good in times of crisis to give you a warm fuzzy, but they often don’t add much when it’s about moving forward. The same goes for those who oppose you, and are not willing to move. “It’s like talking to the refrigerator – light goes on, light goes off, but nobody home” (to quote Utah Philips). But to get someone who disagrees and then to have a constructive argument – that’s the coolest! Looking forward to the next time we get the chance to argue things! :-)

  5. PR-Fundsachen » Blog Archive » Euroblog 2007 in Ghent - Scouts on the Path to the Uncertain

    […] – I have to improve my english presentation skills – Ghent is a lovely city. Have a look at it in Thomas´ and my flickr gallery! – Virtual Worlds are not only a Geek-World anymore: They are becoming a serious field of new PR (thanks to Neville Hobson for a great presentation). – It´s not the platform – it comes and goes. It´s the idea of a new way of communication that counts! – Communication, information, PR and entertainment more and more merge into one. – The value of Word-to-Mouth communication will increase massively. Thanks to Martin Oetting for a (very fast but) great survey on this topic. There is also a nice aggregation (in German) on the presentations of the first day on his weblog. – In addition to that, I met a whole lot of interesting people from different European countries with lots of different professions in the media sector. You do not get the chance very often to sit at a table with seven like-minded people from five or six countries. In fact, this was the first time I felt European in first and German only in second place. […]

  6. Daniel Koempel

    I absolutely agree on your thoughts to the conference. I also enjoyed it very much to be able to discuss new media issues with like-minded people from all over Europe. I also really liked your presentation. Without hyping platforms like SL you kinda dragged virtual worlds out of the geek corner. After reading Otherland by Tad Williams, I am quite sure, that underestimating this is a total misconception of what opportunities future will open for our ways of communication.

  7. neville

    Thanks, guys, appreciate your comments.

    Daniel, dragging it all out of the geek corner is the only way to help everyone see their own potential, so to speak. IMHO.

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