As a free event, the Online Marketing Conference from emda seemed worth attending – after all, I couldn’t lose, right?
Wrong. I could lose – I could lose a whole morning of my life listening to people waxing lyrical about the power of engagement and the importance of conversation. And that’s precisely what happened.
It’s a common problem within social media that those who can, do; those who spend their time giving talks on social media, more likely than not, can’t. That’s not to say there was nothing of value to be had from the event – it’s always useful to ensure you’re in line with common understanding of the best practice for social media and there were elements to what people were saying that held some value. It’s just that, overall, it was much of the same old schpiel delivered time and time again by supposed experts in the field who probably haven’t worked in the field for years.
Take keynote speaker Graham Jones as an example. As an internet psychologist, I’d expected a lot from his talk on the future of digital marketing and thought he’d give some great insight into the way we think and how it affects the way we behave but his hardly revolutionary explanation of social media as a dinner party has been done – heck, even I’ve done it! Yes, social media is about being social; yes, it’s about conversation; yes, we need to engage with our audience – tell me something new already!
It’s a shame too that self proclaimed “trail blazer” Andrew Grill was able to preach about what he does but a little less able to shed light on the new ways businesses can use social media and his talk, littered with self promotional URLs and self congratulating examples, failed to make the impact it should have done. Whether it even addressed the title of ‘When Social Meets Mobile’ is questionable – a real shame as that could have been interesting.
To be fair, there were some good elements to the day. Notable was DK from Media Snackers whose slurring Welsh accent and relaxed delivery style were charming whilst his content was interesting, if a little samey. Most interesting was Ian Lockwood who, as always, delivered up to date insight and excellent review of the impact of search updates which would be useful to even the most seasoned SEO exec. Worth attending for his talk alone.
So, not wanting to be one of those whingey types who has no idea how the target of their whinging could be improved, I guess I should explain how I would have benefited more from the event. Here goes…
I think the main problem lies in the lack of differentiation between a meet for social media practitioners and one which aims to teach beginners to handle their online reputation on a lower level. The intended audience seemed too wide in this case – attracting people like me who already use social media in business and, at the same time, small businesses who don’t even have a Twitter account.
Another issue, for me, lies in the choice of speakers. Though providing some relatively entertaining content (it passed the time anyway), the speakers were mainly introduced as Speakers – as in, their job is speaking. Wouldn’t it be better if their job was social media? Or online marketing? Is it too crazy an idea that the so-called ‘experts’ would all be making a living working in the fields they talked about?
So, was it just me? Did anyone else attend the event and leave with that less-than-satisfied feeling? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.