So I got into a debate with a bunch of my colleagues about an idea I had – that an internal conference we hold every year would be greatly improved if some, perhaps the majority of the presentations were pre-recorded and posted to a corporate-internal YouTube-alike media server. The conference could still go ahead, be a booze, party and networking festival with Birds-Of-Feather sessions and whatnot, but at least the presentation content would be prefabricated, pre-edited and of higher value than spontaneous slideware presentations by unrehearsed geeks with funny accents like mine.
I’m pretty confident about this idea being a good thing, if it’s done right; yeah there are some potential downsides – extra effort from the staff, investment of time upfront, nervous beancounters not wanting staff to attend what might possibly be seen as a small Sun/Geek documentary cinema festival… So, yeah, the idea needs some refinement; it’s not perfect, and a lot would hang upon the mood and artfulness of the organisers, which would not be guaranteed due to different depths of “getting it”.
A marvelous spin on it was suggested by Cynthia Cauley, who thought my idea dreadful but instead suggested cloning the TED style of conference – something smaller than the existing conference, where presenters are rigorously and thoroughly rehearsed, filmed and the video posted later. She’s a big fan of the TED talks and so am I, so I’m sympathetic. Perhaps somewhere amongst those ideas exists a sweet spot.
The advantages of applying vlogging and advanced forms of social media to internal corporate communications would be still be enormous: prettymuch everything said during the conference would be captured (the presentations on pre-recorded video, Q&A sessions captured as MP3) – plus the talks could be re-used globally, presentations can be edited up front, played and replayed by people whose first language is not English in cases where the speaker is not clear; if you miss one talk “live” you can watch it again later, etc… there would be heaps of technical and organisational and cost benefit…
I’ve said a lot of this before, and I think it’s correct.
However there are always going to be a few nay-sayers – for instance it was suggested that employees would much prefer to read something with the immediacy of a security-related e-mail from Jonathan, rather than watch a security video by Alec Muffett – my response to which is “well, fuck, yes; he’s the CEO and talks about critical business stuff whilst I am merely a world-class subject-matter-expert burbling about various technical arcana; what did you expect, that I have more groupies than the ponytailed-one has investors?”
So it was with great joy this evening that I had the following conversation on IM:
- valerie bubb: hey, is your Defense in Depth castle siege still online?
- alec muffett: yep – http://alecmuffett.blip.tv/ – item #2
- valerie bubb: kewl! mind if I use or reference it for a preso I’m giving tomorrow to 13-18 year old girls? I just love that video.
- alec muffett: go ahead. what’s the presentation? girl scouts?
- valerie bubb: “Security” – I’m going to talk about social engineering, phishing, physical security, myspace & Liberty.
thought your little video would be about right for their short attention span.
- valerie bubb: not girl scouts, just girls interested in technology who are in middle/high school.
- alec muffett: cool. check it for profanity but i think it’s safe
- valerie bubb: I’ll double check; and if it’s just ‘bollocks” they won’t know what that means. 🙂
You see, guys, I did that video in October 2002, and it’s still being used; that plus the fact that Jonathan may get invited to talk to schools too, but he has to travel in order to get there…
“Scalability”. Verb sap.