I’m at a social media roundtable at the offices of LABEL in Geneva. Representatives from The Global Fund, The US Mission to the UN, Red Cross and Nestle are here, as well as a sprinkling of us “consultants”.

There was genuine excitement this morning as everyone helped launch and build an online campaign in real time. Unfortunately I got here a little late (flown in from Gatwick), and by the time I got in the entire round table was hard at work: blogging, tweeting and messaging about Born HIV Free, the new campaign from The Global Fund. Three people had even gone out into the streets of Geneva and made this film using a Flip camera and editing software.

It was great to talk about some of the ideas behind Monkeys with Typewriters with such a knowledgeable, engaged group. Michael Parmly from the US Mission suggested I read the book about the 1960s educational experiment, Summerhill. That’s definitely the most random recommendation I’ve had after a talk so far (but the book looks fab).

Now we’re listening to author and journalist Angela Connor talk about building online communities. She bemoaned the fact that people keep on churning out the same old examples (eg: Best Buy’s Blue Shirt Nation). As it happened, I’d used that in my talk so I had to defend it! There are so few real success stories out there, so few examples of best practice, that we have to use the ones there are.

Angela said we should be using more examples from small, local businesses, because they really “get” social media. Actually, that’s so true (and something I kind of alluded to in my presentation also – it’s so much easier when you’re small, to be fair). Small is beautiful.

There was an article on small businesses using sm in The Economist a while back – watch this space – I’ll dig it out.

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