The internet was supposed to allow media outlets not only to display the talent of their writers -- but to capture the intelligence of the audience. Remember that rhetoric? We've abandoned it; the most that publishers can claim is that their comments are not quite as bad as the competition's. Trolls and spammers are not the problem. They can be dealt with by brute-force moderation. The real tragedy: the triumph of mediocrity. People with time on their hands drown out more valuable contributors. We've all designed discussion systems with the most avid commenters in mind. We've given them stars and moderating powers and allowed them to develop cliques and a sense of ownership that shades into entitlement. They are not the only readers. They are not even the smartest of our readers. If we're truly to capture the intelligence of the audience, we need to design for the most intelligent of the audience.
Everyone is talking about how "social media" is changing politics and elections. But hasn't politics always been social? Townhalls, rallies, knocking on doors, talking to friends and the act of asking for a vote has always been a social experience. But now, thanks to new technology, we can see what social means for politics in the U.S. and around the world. Join Facebook's political outreach gurus, Adam Conner (D) and Katie Harbath (R), as these bipartisan campaign veterans explain why “social” isn’t a new phenomenon but the core of American democracy and how 2012 can become year of "the social campaign."
Forget the hype surrounding the social web for a moment, what about something a little further out? This talk will paint a picture of two possible futures, along the way asking the audience to help decide in 2012 if either has a snowball's chance in hell of becoming a reality. Choose between:
1. Brands and users operate in a future-perfect environment of algorithm-driven, sublime relevance, where no nanobyte of data is wasted. Brands display artificial intelligence - becoming, in effect, self-aware - able to determine without human intervention how best to serve their customers. This leads to a glorious future of zero spam and delightful indolence amongst humanity as AI machines do all the work.. for now.
2. Brands and their users seek to fight for discovery and serendipity. Attempting at every juncture to circumvent the algorithmic tramlines laid down for their own good. Co-creating an open web with benevolent, politically neutral technology partners and real-world spaces where tech simply does not penetrate, this is the Wild West, 2050.
9th–13th March 2012