Category Archives: Events

Ryan Shea and Melanie Shapiro at CogX18

The future of social media: web 3.0, wearables and chatbots

It’s nearly ten years ago that I met Tim O’Reilly in New York to talk about Web 2.0 and how it was going to change the world.

So it felt a little like deja vu last week hearing Ryan Shea (above, left) and Melanie Shapiro (right) on stage at CognitionX, championing Web 3.0.

Like its centralised, super-social predecessor, Web 3.0 is going to change everything. But Web 3.0 is decentralised – and we’ll not be sharing our data with anyone (unless we want to).

Web 3.0 will give us self sovereign identity  – a core identity that represents us as individuals and is all bundled up with our own data, which we’ll have complete control over. As opposed to government or corporate issued identities (which are what we have now).

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Sofia the Robot at Cognition X

Robots, the universe and everything – CogX has it all

“I hope that one day you won’t take my job” says the journalist.

“I might reconsider” says Sophia the Robot.

Sophia’s comment is slightly threatening, but she follows it up with a super-sweet smile, and everyone laughs. [Watch the video]

That’s the thing about robots these days. They’re awkward, off-kilter, likely to come out with non-sequiturs, unpredictable in a cutesy way – but ultimately programmed to please and make us laugh.

Sophia the Robot is firmly in uncanny valley territory. Her skin is made of a flesh-like, nanotech material. She has cameras for eyes and a microprocessor for a brain. Her advanced AI (artificial intelligence) software enables her to have human-like conversations.

“Are you a person or a robot?” she asks the journalist. It seems like genuine curiosity.

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Seyi Akiwowo

5 things I learned at Women Leading in AI 2018

There were so many amazing ideas and themes at the Women Leading in AI conference yesterday, it’s hard to know where to start.

The overarching theme – and one that was centre stage – is that we’re now in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (which has come hot on the heels of the Third). So while we may feel we’re only just getting to grips with the impact of digital, it’s time to start wrapping our heads around AI (artificial intelligence) and automation – and fast.

In social media alone, automation and bots are now commonplace. From chatbot games to automated customer service, organisations are finding that an upfront investment in machine learning software can pay dividends in the long run.

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Techmums TV on Facebook Live

This week on #techmums TV: using LinkedIn to get a job

Yesterday was one of the most fun working days I’ve had in a while: I got to spend the morning with a group of brilliant, funny and talented women, putting together a live TV show at Facebook HQ. Thanks so much Sue Black and Isabel Chapman of #techmums for having me :)

The topic was “how to find work online”. I was on there to talk about using LinkedIn, understanding your digital footprint and building a personal brand. My fellow guest was the amazing Charlotte Pearce who runs a marketing company called Inkpact which sends handwritten notes at scale. Inkpact employs around 400 “scribes”, many of whom are mums working from home.

In the photo you can see me (second left), sharing a giggle with Sue (far left), Charlotte (second right) and Isabel (far right). One of the main aims of the show is to talk about technology in a way that is positive and accessible.

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Thinking Digital livestream

Thinking Digital 17: it’s all about live video

Last week I was up North for Thinking Digital’s tenth birthday. This was the tenth year that Thinking Digital has been held in Newcastle, although the actual conference is well into its teens. There have been Thinking Digital spin-offs in Manchester and London. I’ve lost count of how many TDCs I’ve been to. Each one has been amazing.

The big news for me this time was live video. From Christian Payne’s fantastic video 101 workshop to Dan Biddle’s talk to the whole event being streamed on Facebook Live and host venue The Sage tweeting with Periscope, live was the flavour of the day.

I used to work in live TV: it’s exciting, anything can happen, and you don’t have to edit. Now that immediacy is available across social media. Yes – YouTube and Snapchat have been around for years but it’s only really with the global roll-out of Facebook Live last year (and accompanying hard sell) that live video has been pushed into the mainstream.

Here are five things I learned about live video at TDC17: Continue reading

Ready for #NYKConf

5 things I learnt at NYK Europe

You never know what to expect from a brand-organised conference. A little bit of hard sell, a whole lot of soft sell, maybe some interesting speakers, possibly nice people, undoubtedly decent catering and an ok sort of venue. That’s pretty much the best case scenario.

NYK Europe, the new social media intelligence conference from Brandwatch delivered on all those fronts. And probably more. It was nice to spend time with lots of other people deeply interested in social media analytics and consumer marketing insights (yes, leaving the rest of you FREE to party on without us)!

Here are five things I learned:

1. The key to meaningful innovation is empathy – Clara Gaggero and her magician husband Adrian Westaway designed the only phone manual ever to be put on display at MOMA. After observing elderly people struggling to un-box and set up new mobile phones, they made two hard-bound books which the sim card and phone could be placed into, creating a fun, interactive process with packaging, gadget and instruction all blended into one. Such a cool, simple idea.

2. Some nice lines to use about working with influencers: “Influence is contextual. It’s not absolute. It’s not a commodity. Influence is an eye-dropper: diffusion not infection. It’s all about planting a seed”. Thanks Dr Paul Siegel! Influencer marketing is still so misunderstood – good to be reminded it’s all about relationship-building (a la old school PR) not sledge hammers.

3. “Social for good” is something we can all be working towards: it’s all about using social data to solve read world problems. Yes, thanks Edward Crook (research manager, Brandwatch) – let’s have some more of that!

4. A 25 year old man can be a global figurehead for challenging gender stereotypes. Liam Hackett has been working with Brandwatch to research misogynistic language online and see how it impacts on men as well as women. Their first report was published in January. More collaborative work is coming. Liam’s agency worked with Lynx on a new tone of voice – as revealed in the aftershave’s latest campaign, Find Your Magic.

5. Mark Zuckerberg may have come to the party late, but he really knows what he’s doing with virtual reality. I hadn’t seen this latest video but its clear that the marriage between Oculus’ technology and Facebook’s 1 billion strong marketplace is frighteningly powerful. Meanwhile, if Twitter doesn’t innovate fast, we could all be deleting our accounts. Just two stories I heard on NYK’s savvy audience grapevine.

Thanks for having me, Brandwatch! Look forward to the next one.

Bruce Daisley from Twitter at TDCLDN

Eight things I learnt at Thinking Digital London

Something very significant happened to the digital industry this week. Not just the controversial passing of a new Investigatory Powers Bill, nor the fact that Channel 4 almost lost the right to screen Black Mirror, nor even The Pope deciding to reach millennials on Instagram.

No. This was the week Thinking Digital – the North East’s phenomenally well-loved art-meets-geekery conference – finally came to London. And it was quite an entrance.

A fabulous venue (the very chic Ham Yard Hotel in Soho), sublime organisation and – as ever – an exceptionally brilliant line-up of speakers (including Twitter’s Bruce Daisely, above).
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Helen Brocklebank in conversation with David Aaronovitch

Reaching out from silos – but remaining firmly in our bubble

It’s the most fantastic luxury to be able to spend a day (or two days even) walking around chatting to like-minded people and listening to feisty speakers talk about politics, economics, culture and the state of the world in general.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs places self-actualisation at the top. And it’s true: only when all other basic needs are met, are you able to indulge, retrospectively and introspectively, in thinking about what being “you” might really entail.

So, there’ve been some brilliant speakers so far at Names Not Numbers, taking place in London for the first time this week, delivered under the broad theme of “The True Human”.
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Meaning 2015 audience

Is your social purpose more than skin deep?

There’s a lot of it about.

In January, Edelman’s Trust Barometre said the UK was at an all time low in terms of public trust for charities, NGOs, business and media. The PR giant recommended companies demonstrate clear personal and societal benefits, and behave with integrity, in order to build trust.

In February, the PRCA ran a packed-out event, Should Brand PR Have A Higher Purpose?, where the likes of Coca-cola and McDonalds argued that social purpose was core to their business strategies. (There’s a good write-up on Gorkana by the panel chair, Ruth Allchurch.)

In June, I went to the launch of Reclaiming Agency - a report on the future of advertising. The report concluded that advertising creatives should start using their collective nous to address sustainability, inequality, poverty and other big social issues facing the world.

Not to be outdone, in September, marketing and media industry bible The Drum relaunched with a brand new strapline: How Marketing Can Change The World.

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