Last week Ruby Assembly had the pleasure of attending an amazing conference titled ‘Making a Small World Smaller’, hosted and organised by the State Library of Victoria (and catered by the ever-yummy Mr Tulk!).

The State Library has recently been holding a number of quality conferences at The Wheeler Centre, with speakers ranging from John Safran through to Paul Kelly. The conference which intrigued Ruby Assembly to attend was entirely focussed on social media and how it is a)best implemented and b)managed historically as an icon of our current civilization. It was A FANTASTIC day. Often seminars on social media strategy are industry focussed (ie real estate, brokerage services etc) and because of this can be myopic in vision.

Having a library look at social media in a holistic fashion was a breath of fresh air. In this blog I provide an overview of the day’s feature speakers, and I touch on the key salient points I hope to adopt on behalf of my clients.

The day started with the conference being opened by the new Melbourne representative Adam Bandt. It was his very first public engagement, and he was quickly off to Canberra to hear the result of the independents’ decision (it was a tense day politically!) Adam saw that his successful Greens campaign was mostly attributed to the ‘grassroots’ viral campaign that supported him online via Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. He loved that locals started to order ‘KeepCups’ (reuseable coffee cups that fit most coffee machines) with tags on them that said ‘I’m one of those cafe latte sipping lefties’. This initiative, among many others, was marketed using social media channels.

We then heard from Paul Callaghan (freelance writer and game developer) who spoke about the role of play in helping innovate in design. Paul spoke about games and how they encourage players (who now have the median age of 29) to adopt new identities and play with the philosophical attributes of others. He said that games which reward entrepreneurial skills (of which you could easily consider Facebook one) help groups to collaborate in new ways. It was so refreshing to hear games spoken about in an intelligent fashion, with a real focus on the way they encourage creativity and innovation.

Next up was a panel session featuring Peter Williams CEO of Deloitte Digital, Dr Mark Elliot Director of Collabforge and James Sanders of The Hive.

Peter was a beautiful bloke from a big corporation (Deloitte) who was really inspiring in his story. He began using a blog after the Black Saturday Bushfires, where he had a family connection to Flowerdale which was effectively decimated by the fires. He was inspired to do something when he saw that the state government wasn’t doing anything for the Flowerdale community to provide real, immediate help. Peter wanted to inform the wider community about Flowerdale and its process of rebuilding – so he created the Flowerdale – Survivor Spirit blog. This has helped in getting philanthropists to assist rebuilding, and also been a working forum for the community itself to discuss its new projects (and concerns). This blog won a Groundswell award for its assistance.

Mark Elliot of Collabforge worked on developing a community consultation program in a Wiki format for the City of Melbourne called Future Melbourne. In short, it was a plan for the city that anyone could edit. Literally. This created great community interaction, with very little misuse of the system. I hadn’t heard of this kind of wiki based planning format, and I found Mark to be very inspirational.His philosophy around the use of social media to assist corporates is ‘People/Process/Tools’. ie – don’t create something if it actually won’t fill a need to the people you are creating the tool for. So don’t just get a Facebook and Twitter up and do nothing with it!

Lastly came James Sanders who works in collaboration with Deloitte Digital. He has used social media to create The Hive, which is a networking blog and events group for innovative professionals. They use a range of media from Facebook, Twitter and Mailchimp to Podcasts as well, to spread the content of the speakers on their networking evenings that bit further. For The Hive, the high level of interaction the social media affords its members makes it dynamic, immediate and effective.

Ruby hope you’ve enjoyed this blog – and we trust that it confirms further in your mind the importance of interactive in an honest, open and exciting way with your clients. We’re here to help 🙂