Thoughts on GSM

My thoughts on the first Got Social Media Conference:

Erica O’Grady and Kelsey Rutger put on an excellent conference yesterday at the Houston Technology Center. Got Social Media was an advanced introduction to social media today. Many thoughtful presentations. Here’s a few insightful remarks I took away from the conference:

  • “Markets As Conversation” – yes, something I’ve always advocated, and is a sub-text of the “Austrian School” approach to economics. Sorely lacking, though, in mainstream economics.
  • “Customers like having a voice”. Echos of above
  • non-profits online (in social media space) are spending a lot of time saying “thank you”. This is a nice lesson that I think the non-profits I work with will love to emphasize.
  • “Women are motivated by respect, being listened to” – Laura Mayes. Yes, there are gender differences in markets, and marketing. I’ve often stated that shopping is the ultimate expression of capitalism, and women are, stereotypically, the ultimate shoppers … so, by extension, women are the ultimate capitalists! Recognizing this, I think we will see, in the long run, a “softening” of markets and businesses – there will be more listening, more give-and-take … and hopefully less exploitation, fraud, and con games in the marketplace. But, that takes me to:
  • … I won’t name names, but one speaker spoke unapologetically about how he exploits social media to maximum game. He knows he’s pushing the envelope, and he plays clever tricks with others (“social engineering”), to get them to link and drive up links, references and attentions to him or the product/company he is promoting. So, are we looking at a new era of con-men? It’s certainly easier to create false impressions online (“On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog”), and fake companies like to exploit that. Like, how hard or easy is it for you to expand your company to multiple cities around the globe? Why, these days it’s as simple as expanding your typography: just add  “New York”, “Chicago”, “Calgary”, “Bombay”, “San Francisco”, “London”, and “Paris” on your website’s front page! Who needs real presence, when you can just create the image of presence?!But, hopefully, that kind of false impression, along with astro-turfing and other tricks, will be rooted out quickly as we rely more upon the Internet and social media to live our lives.

All-in-all, an excellent conference with lots of food for thought. Oh, Erica, areas of improvement: sound and lighting. Both of these require advance preparation, but not much. Scout out the place a day in advance, and spend 30 minutes to an hour checking these two issues. If you can’t trust the facility’s sound systems, a portable Fender PA system can be had cheaply (we can loan you one too, for local occasions). As for lighting – just scout out in advance where speakers will likely stand, and make sure some bright lighting is downcast on those spots – downcasting spotlights will minimize interference with video projections.


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I'm the founder of Agoric Source, co-organizer of the Houston Python Meetup, director of technology at Newspaper Subscription Services, LP, technology advisor to InstaFuel, active board member of the Houston Area Model United Nations, and occasional volunteer to the Red Cross (during hurricanes or other local emergencies). I'm first and foremost still a software hacker, but with my economics background and business experience, I serve well as a project or program manager, technical visionary, etc.