Last week, Jed White from itechne hosted Pubcamp, Sydney – the Web 2.0 media day – bringing the publishing/media world face-to-face with the increasingly vocal and empowered social media/web 2.0 crowd. This week, it was followed up with a Melbourne event.
Broken into a short format presentation style (similar to the approach we took at Interesting South), a variety of speakers provided their take on the current role and the future of media. There was a panel discussion and a debate — all followed by unconference sessions which allowed participants to actively investigate some of the topics raised during the presentations.
In Sydney the room seemed to divide into two camps. One one side were the new media folks, furiously commenting and conversing via the Twitter “backchannel” — and on the other the “traditional media” folks who appeared largely unaware of the un-unconference being carried on through Twitter. There seemed to be no middle ground between the two sides — each holding firm to the belief in their own relevance.
It was, however, during the panel discussion where the Twitter conversation spilled over from the back channel onto the conference room floor. The panel appeared to be populated by people who had spent most of their careers in the publishing industry with no “new media” representative. Stephen Collins summed up the collective Twitter response along the lines of “you don’t know what you are talking about”. From that point onwards, there was no going back — with the conversation becoming stuck around the relative merits of “professional” vs “citizen” journalism.
It wasn’t, however, until I sat in on Matt Moore’s unconference session on value networks that I began to see a way forward. It is not that there is no overlap between the two camps, it is just that there is no shared vocabulary for us to discuss shared areas of interest. And rather than spending our energies debating the relative merits of our own cases, I feel it would be far more productive identifying opportunities where each group could collaborate or experiment together. This, of course, means new ways of identifying and measuring value — it means new approaches to community and to business.
And while there may well be a long way to go before we see such opportunities come to pass, perhaps Pubcamp is the first, tentative step forward. Next time, I hope to see greater web 2.0/social media representation; getting down and dirty with the business model discussion; less plugs for new services/offerings; discussion on the role of communities; involvement from digital strategists/agencies.
For more detailed coverage of the Sydney event, see Renai LeMay (for the AFR), Craig Wilson and Nic Hodges (let me know if I have missed your coverage). Melbourne has been covered by Ben Barren, Michael Specht, Stephen Mayne.