Experiencing the FT’s #FTDLW12

I’m spending the day today at the Financial Times headquarters in London, taking part in an employee-focused learning experience that, until I arrived here early this morning, I hadn’t appreciated the full scale of what they’re endeavouring to achieve.

The FT’s Digital Learning Week 2012 is a three-day event for employees, comprising presentations, panel discussions, workshops and online learning sessions designed, the FT says, to inform, educate and encourage dialogue around digital and social media topics and trends.

I’m leading one of those workshops, about blogging – the first time I’ve led such a session on this topic for about four years – once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Much has changed in so short a time! (The session is entitled “Is There Any Point in Blogging in the Age of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram?”; the deck I used is on Slideshare and is embedded below.)

What’s especially interesting about what the FT is doing this week is that it is a global event, enabling employees across every discipline – journalists, editors, business people, communicators, finance, etc – in multiple FT locations around the world to get access to a great deal of insight from a wide range of people from inside and outside the company.

In addition to London, #FTDLW12 – that’s the Twitter hashtag – is also taking place in FT offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo. It’s the first event of its type the FT has run.

FT CEO John Ridding said: “[…] This Digital Learning Week is a part of a larger effort to invest in the FT’s greatest asset, our talented and experienced staff, with a variety of training opportunities. We encourage an ongoing dialogue to ensure we stay flexible, curious and continue to succeed in this rapidly changing market.”

From what I’ve observed today, from both my workshop this morning and one on mobile I sat in later, there clearly is a strong desire from FT people to take advantage of a unique learning opportunity to gain insight – much of it undoubtedly actionable – from the menu of choice offered over the three days.

As always, if you take part in an event as a presenter, you always learn from it, sometimes in ways you don’t expect. So the learning flows in many directions; that’s certainly been my experience today.

And regarding my workshop which asks the question is there any point in blogging today? I think it’s easy to answer! Which reminds me, I must make one little tweak to my deck for my next session at 3pm…

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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. Terrific event! | NevilleHobson.eu

    […] Experiencing the FT’s #FTDLW12 I’m spending the day today at the Financial Times headquarters in London, taking part in an employee-focused learning experience that, until I arrived here early this morning, I hadn’t appreciated the… […]

  2. RichardStacy

    I often get asked “should we blog?” to which I say that is the same as a carpenter asking “should I hammer”. (See analogy number 7 in this post http://richardstacy.com/2010/08/18/using-analogies-to-explain-social-media-its-a-bit-like/)

    It is a silly question to which there is no sensible answer. A blog is simply a tool that can be used in many different ways and also (like a hammer) can never do a job in its own right. The concept of “blogging” as discrete activity is something that I though died a long time ago – in much the same way as hammering doesn’t exist as a sensible way of defining the activity of a carpenter – even if carpenters obviously still use hammers (hence why I am not surprised you haven’t been asked to give this session for four years).

    What is perhaps a little surprising is that the FT is still asking the question. It is only when you break from the obsession of trying to define social media as a series of tools (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc) that you can begin the process of working out what it is you want to use the tools to achieve.

    • Neville Hobson

      I get asked this question as well, Richard, which I believe is a legitimate one, far from silly as you say you see it. And there is a sensible answer: “It depends.”

      If you assume that the asker of the question would like to share his or her thinking on a topic, it depends on what that person wants to achieve, and how he or she want to engage with others. So the question largely becomes one of communication, not about blogging in the sense of a platform or some other tool that you would use to communicate. Indeed, that’s the very clear point I make in replying to such a question, which is what I did in the workshop I ran at the FT yesteday (and which is quite clear in the deck I used).

      My experience tells me that people welcome that kind of response, which helps them see what they need to think about – and it’s not the tool or the channel. I get similar questions about contemporary social communication including using Twitter and Facebook. All good questions, worthy of considered responses.

      But I guess our mileages vary ;)

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