We Media Conference: In “Us” We Trust

The 2005 We Media conference was a gorgeous blur, a non-stop serenade from modern media pioneers, practitioners and a few procrastinators about the coming Collaboration Age. It was a day not just to drink the Kool-Aid but also to soak in it.

Many others have summarized, theorized, blogged, podcasted, used mental telepathy and that language only twins understand to share their We Media experiences. God bless them, it will take me weeks to digest it all. For now I just have a few comments and observations:

  • Watts Whacker, who looks a bit wacko but is really quite wise, had this to say about “branding” today (I’m paraphrasing): “A brand is a promise, but there are two things you can’t promise: Trust and Authenticity. That’s something the audience gives back to you.” Watts is right and I hope the corporate communicators in the room were listening.
  • Finally, a whole day of talking about the brave new Web world without the word “blog” being repeated more often than President Bush says Sept. 11th. This was a high-level group that understood the current transformation beyond any one technology or trend.

It’s true that conversation and collaboration are key to our evolution as communicators. But while the move toward News 2.0 is enabled by technology, people power it – and by people I mean any person who wishes to participate. In other words, blogs are not changing communication, we are.

The best illustration of this “we are all the media” mindset came from a BBC News executive. He compared today’s reporters to soccer players on the field (or “pitch” in proper Queen’s English), and the crowd in the stands as all of us.

“We don’t own the news anymore,” he said, later adding, “The crowd has invaded the pitch.”

It has indeed — and now, everyone has the opportunity to play.

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