I shouldn't need reminding that things move quickly in social media. Two weeks ago we discussed the results of the EuroBlog 2007 survey in Ghent, which showed how rapidly new techniques have moved into daily practice for many in PR. Yesterday, the University of Sunderland hosted Delivering the New PR 2.0 in Newcastle, our sixth such event, but with all new content.
I expected a significant change in attitudes and awareness from our first conference, held in Sunderland back in the distant days of November 2005, but was struck by the movement since London just four months ago. In London, Neville Hobson spoke a lot about Second Life, and I had the feeling that some delegates were, well, sceptical, and were struggling to see the relevance of virtual worlds to PR practice.
But everyone I spoke to in Newcastle was taking Neville's excellent presentation quite seriously. Now I have got no farther than registering with SL, and the fact that I haven't yet taken the plunge illustrates my own caution, but Neville has forced me to keep thinking, and it is becoming clear that something significant is happening.
As ever, DtNPR stalwarts Tom Murphy and Stuart Bruce were engaging, informative and thought-provoking, and I learnt much from their contributions. We asked newcomer to our team Simon Rogers, of Market Sentinel, to end proceedings by showing how all the creative and adventurous ideas of the day could be justified by return on investment. After horrifying us by admitting he used to be an accountant, Simon gave some valuable insights into ways of evaluating social media. More on this later.
As delegates start to think through what they heard I suggest quite a few will be reviewing notes on my University of Sunderland colleague Chris Rushton's presentation on the legal implications of using social media in PR. My own comments on Jackie Danicki's tube incident showed a considerable lack of understanding among bloggers about key concepts in defamation. Chris took this a lot further, highlighting important issues surrounding whether or not to moderate comments and the impact of making available 'old' news releases which may become legally contentious. Again, more on this later.
So thanks to everyone who came to Newcastle, to the speakers, to the ever-reliable Don't Panic for making it happen. We will be together again in London in June, so watch this space for details.
Finally, we were all asked which blogs we ourselves visited to keep up to speed. I was happy to say I relied on Tom, Neville and Stuart, but also another member of the DtNPR team, new mum Elizabeth Albrycht, to UoS graduate Stephen Davies, and for media updates, Martin Stabe.