Yesterday, Friday 29th of June, the 4th annual Dot Conf took place in Dublin’s NCI.
The event brings together a large group of like-minded individuals with invested interests in the world of digital media. This year’s event was hosted by the wonderful Karlin Lillington, Tech Journalist for the Irish Times for the second year running.
There was no one talk on the day that stood out, each speaker gave incredible insight into their field and how it is growing and changing in the digital world.
First up in the morning was Joe Drumgoole of feedhenry.com speaking about the elusive “cloud”. The cloud perplexes a lot of people (I have genuinely heard people ask “what happens when it rains?” ) The information offered by Drumgoole helped the crowd put things into perspective. We definitely take for granted the convenience of having all of our pictures automatically backed up on Google Plus, or have all of our notes available on a multitude of devices, wherever we like. He really led the audience into thinking of “the cloud” as an economic commodity.
Claire Redmond of the FAI talked about how fan interaction online drawing on the positives of brand visibility and the importance of user interaction be it sharing images, hashtags on twitter or commenting on posts. Something for those starting of in social media to consider.
Barry Adams of Pierce Communications followed. Although he is now the director of digital services now, in 1995 he proclaimed that the internet was just a fad and it would pass. This is where the border between interesting and terrifying was a fine one. Speaking about the personification of the online world, he opened the eyes of many people in the room. There is no denying that personification of a search or a website is pretty cool, but at the same it is, for want of better word, creepy. Every time we look something up on Google we are given results based on websites we use, things we like, things we don’t like and so on. To take a topical matter, if you were to search the abortion debate in Ireland, your personified search would be based on pieces you have already read or shared, whether “pro-life” or “pro-choice”, so you may not be getting the full picture. Isn’t that what the internet is for? To gather a multitude of facts, opinions and discussions not available elsewhere in order to form our own?
Not creepy enough for you?
It is also interesting to point out that the speakers were predominantly female (6:5 Female); it is very empowering to see strong, knowledgeable sharing their business and digital media insights. We heard from Paula Hurley of Market Match, giving us the view from the PR side of things followed by Kirstie McDermott who is the very epitome of ‘personality’, from the bloggers perspective. Andrea Magnorsky spoke about the indie gaming world; an interesting community aspect seems to exist in Ireland around the computer game industry. Naoise McNally of One Fab Day, a digital wedding magazine which operates as a business.
Naoise gave a great first-hand insight in running a website as a sustainable business and being in control; delivering original, audience geared content both at article level at on the content and products advertised on the website.
So much more occured throughout the day, with a highly entertaining yet informative discussion about how social media shouldn’t be done by Jon Morter, famed for getting Rage Against the Machine to number in 2009 as an anarchic two-fingers to X factor. The day finished with an inspiring keynote speech from Coderdojo founder James Whelton.
Inspirational for a number of reasons; he is only 20 years and now has over 200 dojos around the world including classes especially structured for children on the Autism spectrum. He touched on why we should be terrified when it comes to privacy and the future of the the internet.
Overall this event was thought provoking and inspirational. The biggest lessons I learned from it came from Kirstie McDermott from frillseeker.ie – “Learn to Say No” and “Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.”
There was little fault in this conference, although it would have been interesting to be given an insight into wholly volunteer run websites; maybe next year though.
Educational aspect aside, it presents a great opportunity to meet peers and perhaps even form collaborations; you never know. Be sure to keep an eye out next year for news of the 5th annual Dotconf.