Social Media applied to The Big Internal Corporate Conference?

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.

3 Replies to “Social Media applied to The Big Internal Corporate Conference?”

  1. Linux.Conf.Au videoed much of the conference (and MiniConfs) and they are up on the conference programme page.

    Oh, and I am not the “Chris Samuel” on the panel of the research track as I couldn’t attend the conference this year – I’d love to know who it was though!

  2. We did this once – CEC 2002 presentations were done as webcast recordings with audio and slides synchronised, as we cancelled the conference itself owing to 9/11 paranoia.
    IMHO the added value of recording presentations is that you’ll never get into the situation where you want to see a session, and can’t because of a scheduling clash. Also, for speakers, you don’t have to have an early night owing to needing to present first thing the following morning :-).

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