Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thoughts From a Recent Conference on Leadership and Technology (DigitalNow)

Last week I returned from the DigitalNow conference. It is a gathering of nonprofit professionals who have an interest in exploring the way technology can affect strategy. This was my eighth year attending the conference and each time I come away with insights that help me do my job more effectively as well as save my company money. Here are a few of this year's take-aways:

Clay Shirkey, Author of Here Comes Everybody, spoke about group action and how social media facilitates group action, not only online but in person. Some quotes are, "The old way was to gather together in a group and then share. The new way is to share and then people will gather."

"How do we use these tools? These things don't get socially interesting until they get technologically boring." Think email and cell phones.

Regarding social media tools such as facebook or Twitter, "In high freedom environments these are more for fun. In low freedom environments these become potential tools."

The example he used was in a Middle Eastern country where people are often mistreated when arrested. Statistically, people are less likely to be tortured if the police know that someone else knows that the person is in police custody. The people are using Twitter to text when they have been arrested so that their friends can contact the police station to inquire of their arrest.

It is very cool to me that this tool that, in the US has often been seen as the bastion of inanity, is serving a valuable purpose.

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