I love Hack Days. I love them because of the anticipation, the spontaneity, the community and the creativity. They generate energy – if for a short time – around the issues they are organised to expose, and for a brief moment overcome the inertia that most people come to dread within large organisations – like Government. I say ‘expose’ because in my experience of Hack Days often people come to ‘show off’ their skills, ‘show’ the organisations or sectors whom they are targeting ‘how to do things better’, and ‘show’ each other what they are capable of. None of which is bad. But all of which worries me slightly.
I’ve been thinking about struggles faced by marketing and comms teams and brands. Having attended quite a few unconferences, read many blogs and watched with great interest large brands struggle with social media I can acknowledge one simple truth: Campaigns are not the same as social media. But wait… that’s not big news! I just think it should be acknowledged that many traditional marketing and comms teams are used to developing time-limited campaigns around awareness, retention or acquisition-oriented activities. There is a thought that enough of these run over time will establish momentum in the creation of relationships between consumers of products or content and the brand.
Today I attended the FutureGov meets Measurement Camp session held at Edelman in Victoria. It was a mix of some of the usual (and always pleasant to see) faces and a lot of faces I didn’t recognise – always a bonus! And Edelman provided a pleasant space and plenty of tea and coffee to keep us going. The first 2/3 of the afternoon was a mix of talks given by Dominic Campbell of FutureGov, Will McInnis of Nixon McInnes, Steph Gray of BIS and Ingrid Koelher of IDeA. There were also the obligatory sponsorship presentations by Lithium showing off their Social CRM suite and Brandwatch who gave an interesting intro to their Council Monitor beta. Certainly I could see the nodding heads of interest from several Local Authorities who were present.
I’ve obviously waited a couple of weeks to write this. I suppose I didn’t want it to feel like a recap of the event by writing it within a day or so, or something that followed on the heels of a torrent of blog posts over the following week – some of which I’ve read, and some I haven’t. I enjoy going to the Government barcamps. They give me a chance to see friends I worked with in Government, put a face – and voice – to twitter folks I follow and have the odd disagreement over blog posts we’ve all written. As I wandered around attending sessions and talking to people – and before the day had even ended – I found myself wondering the same thing I did at last years Unconference (and the many other Government unconferences and events I’ve attended since) – what happens next?