Workshop #1 – Increasing Social Capital

The world has gone primal again.

And rather than turning our backs on technological advances such as social media, we should be embracing it.

This was the key thing to come out of the first NEF workshop for the Class of 2014. It was hosted by Adele from a company called EscapeTheCity – someone who has a wealth of experience in forging her own career, in part advising companies about their social media strategy.

After returning to London the previous evening from Lee Valley YHA, the group of NEFers were reunited in East Poultry Avenue. During Wednesday and Thursday, we all got to know each other through a series of discussions, tasks and exercises.

I, for one, am already extremely impressed with the general sense of positivity and openness throughout the cohort. I can honestly say that I’ve never been a part of such a group before, and it’ll be incredibly interesting to see what we are capable of.

Now, below are the three key takeaways I took from what Adele said:

  1. Businesses need to be human again
  2. Tribes intuitively form around ideas. Those tribes need a ‘king’
  3. Storytellers should focus on Why, rather than What or How

To explain a little further, this video by Gary Vaynerchuk tells how social media can allow companies to connect with consumers immediately, and how this could become the norm for marketing in the future. Seth Godin has published much on how/ why people natural revert to their tribal instincts, and how with the right leadership/ direction will happily devote their time to something even if there is no direct monetary gain to it.

And there was also the way in which these messages should be constructed. Consumers (read: each one of us) have particularly high filters when it comes to advertising. For something to be truly effective, it requires us to be so taken by a product, that we go out of our way to share it with other people. This is how virality happens – the holy grail for businesses right now.

So with social media removing many barriers to how we interact not just between ourselves, but also with the brands around us, it can fair to say that it is transforming the way society operates. It feeds into the bigger movement of being able to take greater control of our lives; no longer having to live according to establishments created when the world couldn’t handle such complexity.

The parting advice from Adele was to start a blog, if nothing else, to just get in the practice of writing quickly and effectively. As with many things like this, the key is to form a habit and keep momentum. Any advice on how to do this would be gladly received.

That’s all for now – thank you for reading

P.S. My ‘personal’ notes on the workshop cover a lot more detail, and include links/ references that were brought up. If anyone would like a copy, just let me know, and I’ll send you an e-mail.