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Euroblog 2007 in Ghent – Scouts on the Path to the Uncertain


OK – I have to admit: It is a little late but I finally returned home and now have the opportunity to state my thoughts on the Euroblog 2007 Conference in Ghent. Together with Prof. Dr. Thomas Pleil I attended the conference and we held a presentation on our latest semester project „Approaches of Companies in Germany to the Social Web – 15 Case Studies“. The complete studies will be published in July 2007 by the German UVK-Verlag.
I found it very interesting, that the results of most of the other presenters covered very closely with ours. A main issue in the corporate world concerning Social Software seems to be the implementation in the overall PR-strategy. This might be the reason, why rather one-directional tools like Audio- and Videopodcasts are preferred by bigger companies. Also most companies still seem to rely on external help as a result of lack of own knowledge concerning Social Software. If you are bored reading about the results – have a look at the interview, Philippe Borremans did with the three Euroblog 2007 survey researchers Philip Young, Ansgar Zerfass and Swaran Sandhu. Very nice and interesting people by the way, as I found out in Ghent pubs after the official programme. But what are my overall learnings from this Conference, you might ask. Well here they are:

– I have to improve my English presentation skills 😉
– Ghent is a lovely city. Have a look at it in Thomas´ and my flickr gallery!
– Virtual Worlds are not only a Geek-World anymore: They are becoming a serious field of new PR (thanks to Neville Hobson for a great presentation).
– It´s not the platform – it comes and goes. It´s the idea of a new way of communication that counts!
– Communication, information, PR and entertainment more and more merge into one.
– The value of Word-of-Mouth communication will increase massively. Thanks to Martin Oetting for a (very fast but) great survey on this topic. There is also a nice aggregation (in German) on the presentations of the first day on his weblog.
– In addition to that, I met a whole lot of interesting people from different European countries with lots of different professions in the media sector. You do not get the chance very often to sit at a table with seven like-minded people from five or six countries. In fact, this was the first time I felt European in first and German only in second place.

To conclude it all I would like to quote Nigel Middlemiss. He started his presentation with a reference to the European Migration Period or „Völkerwanderung“. Like in these times, we seem to be confused about our way. When it comes to new media and Social Software, it is not clear yet how we will arrange ourselves with classic media and PR. But one thing is for sure: Once we arrived, life will not be the same anymore…