#DigitalSurrey: Social Media, the BBC and Me

I spoke at the Digital Surrey event in Farnham on Thursday 23 June 2011.

I talked about social media, my beef with the people who claim to know best how to use it and those who confuse process with message. And how if you want to get your message across the best you can do is to adopt a lightness of touch, encourage and support others, make them feel OK about the possibility of failing and generally make sure you communicate passion in everything you put out via the medium.

I overran by ten minutes. Shameful.

Far from being the potentially stressful experience I feared it might, my first ever stint at public speaking went like a breeze. And I really appreciated the warm reception too. Lovely. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

There was – perhaps – an ulterior motive. The past few months have seen me – I have no problem in revealing – seen me battle with the image I perceive I’m currently lumbered with. Is that bloke Jacob technical or editorial? How do we label him? What is he?

I’ve spent the week rehearsing what I wanted to say. Exploring how I’ve used social media to ruthlessly and shamelessly self-promote myself in the organisation I love working for. And in the process of doing that I’ve reminded myself of the various ways I’ve managed to do what many thought years ago was impossible. You’ll never go from technical to editorial. Once a webmaster always a webmaster.

Tonight’s presentation was also a personal goal. Proving to myself so I could legitimately prove to others I knew my stuff.

Newsflash. The transformation has occurred. I’ve spent over an hour banging on about it.

So on that basis, everyone’s a winner. People at Digital Surrey enjoyed it. And I believed what I was saying. Lummy. That’s a nice feeling.

“So what’s next?” asked one member of the audience tonight when I finally came to a close.

“Er,” I spluttered, “well I’m hoping to interview for a proper editorial job soon.” Pausing before adding, “I bet I won’t get it.”

Possibly foolish to say out loud, for sure. Idiotic to actually blog about it. Even so. If you’re going to remain true to your message, then it’s important to be authentic.

But what really hit me like a freight train was a lovely lady who came up to talk to me after the presentation had ended.

“You’re asymmetric. That’s what you are. Asymmetric.”

I beamed at the mysteriousness of what sounded like a compliment. “And you’re probably working for the wrong crowd.”

It wasn’t malicious. It was a compliment. But bloody hell, I hope to God she’s not right.

Thanks to @abigailh and the lovely people at thebluedoor (especially Grace for her sterling assistance getting the wine in) for an adorable evening.

The videos included in this presentation were as follows:

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