It didn’t start well, there was a problem with the trains in the Netherlands this morning and when I arrived at the conference right on 9am (OK, 5 minutes past) they hadn’t started and were re-working the schedule as some speakers were a bit stuck in the transport chaos.

Where’s the “like” button?

I’d been looking forward to this – most social media conferences have only a tiny amount of content that  focuses on corporate communications (rather than marketing). So a day of it seemed a great idea. Sadly I’m disappointed. Why? Three reasons.

(1) The schedule was fully packed, too packed – 11 presentations or panel discussions in one day. I could feel my concentration waning by about the third presentation, by the afternoon my brain was fried. The pace was over the top, and at one point we were more than an hour and a half behind schedule.

(2) There was no apparent structure. To be fair the urgent need to shuffle presenters due to the transport issue may have exacerbated this but we jumped from mobile/apps to internal culture, from rumours to guidelines. I think the day could have benefited from a tough look at the structure of the day, and to edit the number of presentations. There are plenty of models out there that could have been used to “hang” the content on.

(3) I feel bizarrely irritated by being given the standard paper evaluation form at the end of the day. I did fill it in, but almost everyone in the room was tweeting the whole day – the conference organisers have an accurate record of sentiment during the day, if they choose to read it.

OK, that out of the way. The good stuff.

Three highlights for me;

(1) The presentations of the Social Media News Rooms, this is something we’ll have to look into this year so it was great to see some different examples; a variety of approaches, designs, features. Hugely useful.

(2) Cecilia Scolaro’s presentation of TNT’s social media guidelines. She explained the company, the problem, the approach very well, and has produced something deceptively simple – and published it under a creative commons licence.

(3) The App building, in one day TKGB built an App, using content partially pulled from the audience. This is another challenge for us to address and it’s cool to see that it can be done easily. The app will be online tomorrow (hopefully!) so I’ll add the link then.

For me the most valuable content was from other companies, and the whole day was a little unbalanced with a lot of consultants or social media expert companies getting a lot of air time. Perhaps that’s a function of the ‘newness’ of the territory, but I hope that future conferences can redress this balance.

Would I go again? I don’t know. I’d look harder at the speakers and the content before I signed up I think, it’s so rare to have a focus on communications that I’m sure I’ll be tempted.

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