SOCON12, KSU, 02/04/2012

Patrick and Andrew

It was that time of year again where social media gurus and geeks met up at Kennesaw State University’s SOCON event – the annual un-conference – on all things related to social media and journalism (and beyond).  Organized by KSU’s Center for Sustainable Journalism (@csjournalism) sponsors included Sweetwater Brewery, Appcelerator, Avax Consulting, Social Butterfly, and more.  Law2sm was a proud sponsor this year.  For a full list of sponsors and an agenda check out their website

The day began with two keynotes covering mobile maturity and transmedia storytelling.  Jeff Haynie, of Appcelerator (, gave an enlightening presentation on mobile maturity.  His basic premise was that “mobile will change humanity.”  Some stats and facts he shared with the audience included:

  • Individuals spend 86 minutes a day on mobile devices vs. 74 minutes a day on the web
  • Drop off rate after first application interaction: 90% (so how do you engage and retain?)
  • Revenues and forecast of revenues for mobile applications: $12.3B 2010; $21.1B 2011, $30.2B 2012; and $$37.5B 2013)
  • Technology is augmenting our life through new types of interaction mechanisms: touch (ipad), motion (Kinnect); and voice (Siri)
  • Phases of maturity: exploration (inform); acceleration (engage) and innovation (transact)
  • Mobile relationship lifecycle: reach, engagement, loyalty, monetization
  • If the CEO doesn’t get it, give him an iPad to use for the weekend.

The second keynote was Steve Rubel, Executive VP of Global Strategy and Insights at Edelman ( .  Steve outlined 5 rules to keep in mind as you transgress the online media environment:

  1. Curate to dominate
  2. Data mine and timing of tweets, posts, and blogs
  3. Keep stories alive
  4. Roll in the deep with spreadable and drillable media (content)
  5. Corel thy superstars.

I was able to attend two of the breakout sessions (more than 20 were offered).  The first one was entitled “The War on Stupid.”  The title interested me because it reminded me of an article in the Atlantic Magazine put out a few years ago “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”  ( The presenters were Andrew Davies, Lead Creative Juicer at Paragon ( , and Patrick Rodgers, Journalist.  They began with a warning “At any point of the day we are in danger of being stupid.”

  • They listed 3 factors that cause this affliction: human biological limitations, extremely large information buffet with little nutritional value, and institutional distrust of media, academia, and government.  In short this leads to the fact that in today’s digital world “we have more information than we have the ability to make sense of.”
  • So what can we do?  Find translators that will transform sense-making content into creative visual data that everyone can understand and grasp quickly, accurately and affordably.
  • We need to go beyond infographics to motion-graphics with a story
  • Visual storytelling with images, animation and sound design (see
  • What good is your data if no one understands it? So make information accessible via the visual.
  • Check out and follow them on Twitter @thewaronstupid for more.

After a delicious lunch at the KSU cafeteria, I attended “Social Media for Advocacy: Using Next Generation Tools to Spread Awareness and Influence Policy” presented by Hafez Adel, Director of Marketing at ReTargeter.  ( This was one of the best presentations I have been to in a long time.  He was organized, the information was clear and valuable and his style was flawless.  If you have a chance to hear him at an event, do it.

Hafez laid out various examples throughout history (starting with the Protestant Reformation, which he calls the “birth of social media” to the Occupy Movement) to show what social media lessons there are for all who use social media to advocate for a cause.

  • Protestant Revolution – Make your story relevant, use portable media be accessible, and make it compelling (paper flyers)
  • Iranian Revolution (1979) – Duplicable content, appropriate medium, good distribution network (cassettes)
  • Green Revolution/Iran Election (2009) – symbols and slogans are powerful, decentralized news gathering, rapid information sharing
  • Arab Spring (2010) – the power of story, calls to action, social media as public sphere
  • Occupy Wall Street (2011) – the impact of intimacy, citizen journalism, ad-hoc communities

Uses of Social Media for Advocacy:

  • Citizen journalism/decentralized news
  • Community building/discussion forums
  • Organization/mobilization
  • Collective actions
  • Fundraising

There were many presentations I did not attend but heard they were also valuable.  If you were at SOCON share your insights form the presentations with us. See you next year at SOCON13!



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