Last weekend I was invited, as SabahBah.com, to attend the B2.0 Borneo Bloggers + New Media Dialogue.
A lot of very favourable reports have been written about the event. This is not another one of those.
Organised by online portal Borneo Colours in conjunction with M.E Malaysia, the big draw was speakers who stand out in their particular fields and are high-visibility social media users here in Kota Kinabalu.
It was to be “A gathering open to individuals who apply social media tools to their business and personal lives.”
Amongst the speakers were food-, travel- and photo bloggers, Twitter’ers, successful Sabahan YouTube producers and even a game developing company that recently set up shop here.
3 of the main sponsors also sent representatives for their presentations.
Nuffnang presented a talk billed as The rise of mobile apps and Nuffnang X, almost entirely slanted towards their own, recently-launched app.
A rep, affiliated with Digi, came in to deliver an advertorial on Digi: In support of Social Media.
Microsoft was also on the program, promising to entice me back to the Windows platform with a talk entitled Social Media via Windows 8 by Microsoft.
Microsoft, however, was nowhere to be seen, and instead we got an Acer rep who gave what was possibly her first ever a presentation.
What I Liked about B2.0
The most value in gatherings like these are often the networking opportunities that it present and B2.0 was no different. Possibilities become endless, as you never know who you’ll meet or what might come from an idle chat.
It’s also a learning opportunity. A few of the attendees that I spoke to said that they actually learned something useful, albeit small things, like they didn’t know Twitter was so big, or they’ve noticed how Malaysian YouTube videos are, more often than not, soppy.
It’s a great place to bat around ideas, especially when a debate gets going and input comes from the audience and the speakers / panelist.
The venue, Dewan Bandaraya, was well-suited to the event as it has big open spaces for mingling and an auditorium that lends itself perfectly to the talks and presentations.
What Needs Work
One of the more interesting discussions that came from the dialogue was that some food bloggers, for whatever reasons, hardly ever write bad reviews.
It’s an interesting debate that wasn’t too long lived at the B2.0 dialogue and probably warrants a post of its own, but my opinion is that if you never receive criticism, you will never improve.
If the only feedback you ever get is positive and you believe that, because of that, everything is perfect, then you’re fooling yourself.
There’s a well-known theory in marketing that most people will never share their bad experience with the business owner - they will simply stop going to the business.
The rest of the theory goes… and tell at least 7 of their friends about their bad experience. However, in the age of social media that number is probably more like 700.
I realise this is only the second B2.0 event and that, of course, there is still lots to learn.
So, in the spirit of Kaizen - continuous improvement – here’s some constructive criticism:
- Social media is instant, so an event like this shouldn’t start late, even in Sabah;
- WiFi access is a must, and perhaps its best to share with participants when they register in the morning;
- Provide plenty of easy-to-access power sockets. Not everybody has a backup battery, but everybody wants to use their devices to post about your event;
- More high tables will encourage people to stand around more, meaning more mingling and networking;
- It’s probably most effective if a speaker / panelist is not also the moderator / MC;
- Plenty of water and good coffee should be available throughout the day;
- A moderator should… moderate. Direct and encourage the dialogue and prevent any 1 participant from hijacking a topic or go off-topic;
And a little bit of feedback about industry reps that I would like to see at future social media events:
- I would like to see a pro that won’t introduce themselves by saying they were the 7th choice, were forced by the boss to come, doesn’t want to talk so will show lots of videos or will leave straight after, because they’re keen to go home;
- I would like to see the expert I expected and not somebody who specifically tells me they’re not an expert;
- I would like to see professionals prepare for their presentation, because it’s easy to see when they don’t and it makes it seem as if the audience is not important enough;
- I would like to see pros who test the setup of their presentations before hand, because when the projector cable drops out of your tablet for the 3rd time in 5 minutes, some of your audience members might walk out on you;
- I would like to see a pro who can show me how to use their product to achieve my goals and not bait-and-switch me with an Infomercial.
Social media is not going to go away. Communication will never again be what it was to our parents, or even to us in our younger years.
Businesses have too keep up, or be left behind. Through dialogues, such as B2.0, Borneo will keep pace with the rest of the world and soon, perhaps, even lead the pack.
All said, with focus and improvement, the B2.0 Borneo Bloggers + New Media Dialogue is positioned to become the social media conference in Kota Kinabalu and I look forward to seeing what it can do in future.