EuroBlog has come and gone. And it is the gone that I am thinking about... Three packed days, old friends and new faces, some fascinating presentations and many stimulating conversations. As expected, almost every element of the Brussels Symposium highlighted sharp contrasts between the perspectives and objectives of the participants; naturally, there was a split between practitioners and academics, but also clear distinctions in culture, notably but not only between USA and Europe and a sometimes barely supressed tension between those who thought they understood social media and those they thought don't.
Personally, there were times I felt my position was in the centre of the debate, a fertile ground where several conceptions overlap; that along with a handful of other people, I grasped the implications of social media for public rerlations and could therefore accommodate the aspirations of theory whilst being alive to the realities of practice.
Then, maybe five minutes later, I was feeling terribly lonely and confused; am I the only person who thinks like I do? How can I disagree to a more or less significant extent with almost everyone here (not least some of my closest colleagues)?
In the event, I spent quite a lot of the Symposium is the 'lonely and disorientated' frame.
Being there, I was convinced that the important thing was to make sure EuroBlog isn't 'gone'.
Practically, that means setting up a EuroBlog wiki (please help!). But it is more about trying to collate, assimilate and order the information and ideas in a way that helps participants, real and virtual, to do something constructive with the blizzard of ideas Brussels generated.
For some, including Neville Hobson, the real action was on Twitter. For others, the true worth of the Symposium would only be measured by academic papers that might take months, even years, to emerge. Lack of timeliness, combined with a dearth of diverse and meaningful case studies, were valid criticisms of the academic approach.
But I also fear that the debate that moves this quickly has only limited value. The most effective contributors will be those who assimilate ideas in relatively focused areas and go on to produce widely accessible outputs.
I wonder how any of them there will be....?