New light through old windows – how traditional exchange of ideas in the physical world help us with social media

If you have ever found yourself emailing a work colleague, when in reality it’s easier to actually speak to them, then perhaps you will appreciate how it’s easy to get carried away with virtual conversation through online forums and communities in the social media era.

The ease and accessibility of interacting with our fellow humans via computer can sometimes blind us to real value of face to face conversations.

It seems a life time ago that people trained for a profession, to be teachers, architects, accountants, doctors etc where formal education stopped when they left high school or college and then they went to work armed with the knowledge they received during formal education.

Now, in the digital age education never stops, we continuously learn and if we stop learning we are left behind. With the likes of Google and Wikipedia there are literally a myriad of ways to learn new things that are useful to our professional and personal lives.

There is nothing we cannot study in detail through online sources and for free. This super abundance of information however can cause its own downfall. The information deluge can be overwhelming, confusing, conflicting and in many cases difficult to grasp without finding out what’s important and further honing ideas with like minded people.

So in order to better understand the social media world we at DigitalMR have gone “old school” and experimented with a meeting format that we have found works. And expanding on our open business model ethos we would like to share it with you.

We’ve found a great way to learn and exchange ideas is through a forum of 8-10 industry peers (inspired by the Forum concept of the Young Presidents Organisation – YPO). The stress is on like minded peers who can speak openly with no conflict of interest. In our case the peers are marketing professionals from various disciplines, who all have an interest in social media marketing and research.

We have found that they can be from for profit or not-for-profit organisations, as long as no competitors and participants have bought into an “open” mind-set of sharing ideas to the table.

The discussion usually last about 90 minutes and is facilitated by a DigitalMR executive. We have conducted 4 such breakfast meetings like this in comfortable surroundings in some beautiful hotels in Warsaw and London.

Our themes have mainly been around social media with a focus on extracting insights from customers that will help companies grow. The starting point to our discussion on Social Media Research is usually private online communities, active web listening and online research on lifestyles, attitudes and behaviours. The discussion then naturally expands to social media marketing whereby tips and tricks are shared freely by the peers around the table.

We give equal air-time to all participants, although every now and then some participants have such interesting points to make – we all feel inclined to sit back, listen and take notes! It is a relaxed, informal environment where we genuinely want to share and help each other out.

Because the social media world is growing beware anyone who pretends to know it all – we are all learning, and I think this is an era of learning and sharing.

It is refreshing to (re)discover the value of traditional interaction among humans – a much underrated medium! We never thought a plain ‘ole breakfast meeting would have such a profound impact on us, there will certainly be many more round tables to come. We are expanding our subjects and themes and would also encourage participants to come up with discussion topics they want to bring to the forum. We are happy to have our views challenged and receive honest feedback from peers, and we are happy for all to share for the further benefit of all around the table.

In a world of information abundance, we need to know where to look for the nuggets - our social media round tables maybe one such place to find them. If you have knowledge gaps on social media issues and are hungry for considered debate (and breakfast!) come and join us for stimulating discussion.

If you would like to apply to some of our upcoming events please contact Sophia Papagregoriou for more details.

 

 




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