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Social Media, Cultural Change, Who We Are and Events


friendsHow is social media changing our brains? How is it changing our society? And how will this affect the way we design events and presentations?

A discussion following an Event Camp Twin Cities Pecha Kucha presentation by Lynn Randall of Randall Insights on how social media is changing society was one of the highlights of this year's Event Camps for me.  Afterward a group of us gathered to share thoughts about this fascinating topic and when our chat time was over, many of us wanted to continue it. 

So, two months later during the peer session sign up at Event Camp East Coast, I took the opportunity to submit this topic, with the help of my friend, brain researcher Andrea Sullivan of BrainStrength Systems (who had been part of the original discussion at ECTC). The title: The Relationship Between Social Media, Cultural Change, Who We Are and Events.

With thanks to Sarah Vining of the National Conference Center, who took notes, here are a few nuggets from this juicy discussion.

* We are undergoing the most massive reorganization of the brain in the past 1,000 years

* We must talk to different generations differently - we must be more pliable, approach them how they want to be approached.

* Check out the book "Generations at Work" to understand how different generations work, solve problems, etc.

* The pre-frontal cortex, which understands consquences, is not fully devleoped until humans are 24 years old.

* Digital Natives (those who grew up with the internet or Gen Y) have a strong urge to connect with their network and share information.

* People who form relationships online are often compelled to find ways to take those relationships off line.

* Event planners can make f2f networking warmer by fostering online relationships prior to events.

* Game dynamics can be used to enhance networking.

* Online networking games can place unecessary barriers between participants at f2f events.

* Younger generations don't understand older generations' need to answer the phone when it rings.

* People should exercise choice to use social media; filter.

* Information overload and ADD are side effects of too much social media.

* The brain is not designed to make us happy.

* Brain exercises can change habits.

* Abilitiy to take risk can be learned as a habit.

* Social media fosters collaboration.

* People who adopt tools of collaboration are more successful - 5 or 6 brains are better than 1.

* MeetUp! concept is VERY connected to what we do as event professionals.

* Connections fostered by social media come with new barriers such as: language, culture, time, personality.

* The Golden Rule is now turning into HR Platinum Rule: Treat people as they want to be treated," by understanding generational, gender, culture differences.

* Body language doesn't transfer to other cultures.

(Photo by philcampbell)

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I disagree that "information overload and ADD are side effect of too much social media." 
It is a sign of a lack of purpose and clarity. 
When you are not clear about why you are there and what it is doing for you, how can you expect to gain results that fit the needs of your business? 
When I hear that statement from someone when I am speaking, it tells me they are not clear about their goals and objectives.  
This does not mean they are wrong or bad , it means they have a need that has not been addressed. It means they were not aware of what was truly occurring so they could take a more intentional stance. 
What I do hear when someone says they have ADD and are overwhelmed in social media is they have not taken responsibility for stepping away and asking themselves critical thinking questions. 
What is the purpose for my participating in social media? 
What am I wanting to gain from social media? 
Have I constructed the strategy, game plan and outline needed to do social media well? 
What are my opportunities in social media? 
Do I have the knowledge and skill to put this together so that I am being effective, efficient and successful? 
Posted @ Friday, November 11, 2011 4:34 PM by Michele Price @prosperitygal
My understanding of this comment was that we need to do more and better filtering of social media. I completely agree with you and perhaps the comment should be reworded to say, "information overload and ADD are side effects of inadequate filtering of social media."
Posted @ Friday, November 11, 2011 4:53 PM by Jenise Fryatt
Hi Jenise, 
When I first signed up for hootsuite I thought my brain was going to explode. But I survived and agree with your comment that it's all about adequate filtering and choosing who to listen to. Now my morning is not the same without coffee and hoots! 
Posted @ Monday, November 14, 2011 4:08 PM by Anna Huddleston
Yeah, I appreciate Hootsuite a lot. It really has made Twitter a lot more manageable. Adequately filtering social media is an art I believe. I know a little about it, but have a long way to go before I master it. Thanks so much for the comment!
Posted @ Tuesday, November 15, 2011 3:08 PM by Jenise Fryatt
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