Thursday night’s Beers & Innovation saw the bar being raised on discussion of user-generated content among a UK-only audience and clearly being taken to a new level.
And I say this not out of gratitude to the speakers Richard Sambrook and Paul Youlten for their thoughtful contributions and nimble responsiveness – which I have in spades – but with respect to the level of insight and challenging thoughts coming from the assembled crowd.
Digital marketing agencies were notable by their absence – with the admirable exception of much-garlanded and recently aquired Glue London.
While a fair few agencies are beavering away secretly (as is their time-honored approach) in this area, it still makes me wonder – don’t agencies want to be part of real, networked debate or publicly discuss Web 2.0? Are they somehow immune from – or above - so benefitting? Okay, the question is rhetorical.
At one point amid the fast-flowing discussion – like a kind of reality check – someone pointed out that we in the room were “the converted minority”.
What about everyone else in the UK digital media and technology industries who are still stuck in their ways and not plugging into the debates that actually describe, acknowledge and engage with the innovations and opportunities happening across the spectrum of user generated content – from citizen media through to untested or hybrid business models?
Such businesses and organisations are the pioneers that are making a difference in this transitionary period for business models and newsmaking that we have now unquestionably entered.
And this is where the UK-US cultural chasm is really writ large… So must that difference be set in stone forever?
The message emanating from the crowd (still heterogeneous in backgrounds) was: don’t let the b******s grind you down, as we (all) love to say – some secretly, some with a t-shirt!
Thanks again to everyone for coming. A full report on the event will be available soon on the NMK website.
[NB. We were planning to podcast the event but our podcaster-in-crime couldn’t make it at the last minute. If anyone else fancies recording an audio file of Beers & Innovation 3 on 27th April – drop me a line in the comments or here where I'm listed under Editor]