My thoughts post-SOCADL

by Lee Hopkins on December 7, 2009 · 17 comments

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Click on this logo to visit the SOCADL ning site OK.



That it should come to this!”, as Billy Shakespeare once said [Hamlet, Act 1, Scene II].

A lot of people met at The Tivoli on Wednesday 2nd Dec, a few of whom were there to see if my idea of an ‘umbrella’ organisation for the various social mediarists in Adelaide had any merit.

Much discussion was had, as was much libation, and no real over-arching consensus seemed to emerge. However, there were a couple of strong themes present:

  1. Any ‘formal’ club or association was not wanted (because of reasons of power struggles, financing, getting people to volunteer to fulfil roles, etc.)
  2. The twitter hashtag #CommsAdelaide was going to be replaced by #socadl.

It is on this second point that I want to weigh in with my views. Here we go…

Witness this conversation stream on the new SOCADL ning site:

#CommsAdelaide started quite recently, with @PPRAdelaide and @AGFinglis .. however it may shortly be consumed by the new #socadl group

To which I replied,

Michelle, how I personally see socadl evolving is as an umbrella meeting place for all of the distinct focii in Adelaide. Thus, there is no reason why #CommsAdelaide should cease to exist; indeed, it should continue to cater to/for the professional communicators here.

Michelle wrote back,

Okay: look forward to your blog Lee. Be interested to read your perspective, because for me I am interested in social media case studies, topics, new developments … and don’t want to focus too much on people’s backgrounds or what industry they happen to be working in at this point in time. Thus not really sure I want to be part of #commsadelaide, AND #socadl AND other evolving groups I’ve been invited to on Google Wave, LinkedIn, etc.
The fewer groups the better. ;(

To which the idea of the fewer the groups the better generates an ‘ABSOLUTELY!’ from me.

Many of us have been floundering around in Google Wave [as Stephen helpfully suggests, “Connect to the SocADL Google wave by inserting into your browser address bar”] and finding it ‘less than perfect’ (accepting that it is in a very early beta stage; read Michelle here and here). So having yet another place to check is a right royal pain in the proverbial. Ideas on how to bring all of the notifications into the one place are welcome – leave comments below.

So, to paraphrase myself from earlier in this post and on the night:

1. I didn’t set out to ‘own’ social media in Adelaide, nor run it, nor attempt to control it;

2. I wish the wonderful @Monnie was there on Wednesday night to offer a non-business perspective, but she was unable to attend;

3. I was super-glad that the equally wonderful @Tarale was able to come (and brought @Posty along for a meal later) to offer said non-business perspective;

4. I was absolutely not trying to usurp #CommsAdelaide with #socadl;

5. I see #socadl as a way of collating the leaders of the various groups into one central resource sharing point, allowing folks like MC Hammer to see that the Adelaide social media scene is vibrant, alive and worth visiting. The ning platform looks, imho, to be the best platform at the moment (alongside, of course, Twitter) with which to achieve that aim;

6. I was not trying to create extra work for myself; trust me, I have enough work to be getting on with. Wither that GFC that the Ruddster kept banging on about? Like many of my peers within the professional communications space, I have more work lined up than ever before.


Regarding point 5, I tried setting up stuff in Facebook Pages because someone (I think @Monnie, or was it @CharlieRobinson?) set them up and gave me administrator privileges, and like @ezStephen, @locspoc and @Chris_Foster, I enjoy playing with the various elements to see if it makes any sense from a user’s perspective.

If I was a fan of a business called ‘SOCADL’ then Facebook would probably be the place to build, but for social media evangelists it’s just not strong enough to do what I was looking to do – make it an online meeting place and resource centre for Adelaide’s disparate groups.

Thus I burnt a few more candles and set up the ning site. Oh, and captured the ‘socadl’ and ‘commsadelaide’ .com domain addresses in case someone tried to hijack them as they did the gmail addresses. Again, absolutely not to control, but to stop hijacking and protect the brands.

There are my excuses for doing as I have done so busily since Wednesday night. I am now exhausted and want to go to sleep, and I also want to leave the ning site in the hands of whoever wants to direct it (which is why you all can pretty much do as you wish with it, including setting up new groups, etc.)

Comments, ideas, inspirations, etc., can be written on the back of a brick and sent through your nearest window. Otherwise there’s twitter [#socadl and #CommsAdelaide] and of course the comment streams on ning and this here blog.

G’night y’all. Be nice to each other and play fair.


Oh, and thank you SOOOO much to the lovely Jessie Morris who brought me a present of some men’s personal care products made from bees. I felt a bit ‘funky’ rubbing bee stuff all over my body in the shower, but I guess the bees don’t mind as long as no one tells them where their stuff is going to end up…

  • #eztephen

    I am most impressed with the speed at which you are going to get this all in place. The domain's, the SocNet linkage, the hashtags … now we need a T-shirt! (I've got some ideas already!)

    I come to this group purely as someone who has had a long interest in Online Social Networking (after being in various Community groups over the last 20years). I have no business-affiliations in #Adelaide, other than as a sole-proprietor photographer.

    I freely admit that I am yet to understand how this group is going to have an impact and what purpose it serves – yet still very willing to be a part of it all! I look forward to reading more about where the future is going.

    PS. Please change my pseudonym to #eztephen

  • Prakky

    Fantastic Lee, thank you for bringing so many thoughts together. And for devoting so much time to registering domains and trying things out.

    I am new to Ning, but from what I've seen so far, it does seem to be very clean and straightforward. More community-focused, than focused on individuals first joining (ala Facebook). I like it.

    The only stumbling block – a small trip – may be getting people onto that platform, as opposed to Facebook where we've been playing for some time.

    But 'platforms' aside, I think we're off to a wonderful start. Absolutely want to bring the disparate groups together somewhere, to share info.

    Oh, on more point .. I do believe I also have a 'non business' perspective of social media. That's where a lot of us started, I'm sure: in our personal lives, playing with MySpace and so on. I think of myself first and foremost as a non-business user, because I have a personal passion for social media.

    Others …?

  • Des Walsh

    Lee, I hear what you say about clubs or associations. That said, and having had something to do with introducing Social Media Club to Australia, I'm wondering if the possibility of a Social Media Club Adelaide was broached at any stage. In Sydney they have had phenomenal turnouts and hosted visits of luminaries including MCHammer hisself.

  • aqualung

    LOL – I think the SMCSYD gig was what Lee refers to with the MC Hammer thing. An “SMCADL” was the first suggestion Lee made, and the one that was (apparently) resisted on the Wed night get-together. I wasn't there, so am not in a position to comment about any discussion for/against … but in the end I'm not too unhappy with the outcome, and we can change our minds about SMC if we want to later.
    Thanks to Lee for the effort so far – while there has been some comment about “another place” to visit, the Ning site is a reasonable start.

  • Jessie Morris

    Haha *blushing* thanks for the Burt's Bees plug! Glad you liked the products…rest assured they're not made from whole crushed bees and thus do not at any point incurr the wrath of bees (or any insects for that matter)!

    I'm yet to check out Ning, but am definitely keen to be involved regardless of platform…obviously agree that less platforms make for happier #socadl people :)

    While I am definitely interested in what is possible business-wise (@charlierobinson was eloquent on this I thought), I actually enjoyed the personal side of just catching up with like-minded folks and enjoying a chat. I am looking forward to meeting @monnie next time hopefully?

    Thanks for taking the time to lead this 'charge' Lee. I enjoyed the lack of formality last week at the Tiv, looking forward to further libations in January!

  • leehopkins

    G'day Des. Yes, the lovely Kristie Wells wrote to me 3 or so years ago asking if I'd be interested in setting up one. Flattered, but it was too early then for any sort of formal body in Adelaide and I didn't have the time or headspace to set it up and get it off the ground. Still don't, be it a SMC or any other body…

  • leehopkins

    G'day Jess,

    I think everyone is interested in the business potentials — that's why companies pay me a shedload of money to show them those potentials [grin]. I love sharing, but I also have my IP to think about (which is the 'packaging' and 'delivery' of those potentials)

  • chrisfoster

    #socadl Thanks to Lee for initiating some group thinking around Social Media in Adelaide, it is a great example of how quickly SM can spread ideas.

    The consensus on the inaugral #socadl meeting was one of keeping it a loose association and I agree.

    I like the look of Ning as a discussion and dissemination hub, but do have a couple of reservations on it's schema.

    As SM becomes more pervasive and more groups are formed, do we keep the Ning site as a loose overarching discussion or do we want to squash every SM initiative present and future into this site?

    I guess my suggestion is to avoid subgroups, keep it as a lean focus for top level #socadl, but with reference to sub groups (on whatever platform they choose)

  • leehopkins

    Good point, Chris, and one for which I have no answer, but leave it to the community to sort out amongst themselves, I've done my bit for a little while.

  • gamtch

    I think we are headed in the right direction with #socadl and applaud the work done by Lee and others. I'm sure it will prove to be a great way to promote social media in Adelaide as a platform for both personal interaction and business.

    I think we need to be careful to make #socadl as inclusive as possible by keeping it primarily twitter-based so that less savvy social media users can enjoy the fruits of our labours without needing to constantly engage with other platforms.

    I would be interested in a discussion about how, as a group, we can interact with the mainstream media to promote Adelaide social media as an exciting complement to their services.

  • Des Walsh

    Rick & Lee
    The time and sentiment need to be right and with SMC as with any organisation there need to be people willing and able to work at establishing it and helping it grow.

  • Des Walsh

    Ric, that is :(

  • leehopkins

    G'day Stephen,

    Thanks for the thoughts on this. The speed of movement is only a reflection of the warp speed at which things now move online. What particular aspect we individually choose to pick up on is always a personal choice, but having the whole 'kit and kaboodle' there (t-shirt, hat, sunnies, blog, ning, twitter, facebook, etc.,) is a necessary part of getting 'traction'.

    As for the change of pseudonym, that is (if I am correct) something that you need to do, but I am not sure how. Perhaps Chris Taylor can enlighten, but I'll wander through my WordPress settings now in the hope that I can fix it myself.


  • leehopkins

    I've tried changing your alias within my system – it may take a while to reflect on the disqus comment system … we'll have to wait and see

  • PPRAdelaide

    Sorry for the delay in response. I wasn't at the #socadl meeting, so can't comment to the best of my ability. For those who didn't know, #Commsadelaide was started by me, but initially was #prjournolove…off the Sydney concept of comms talking more directly to journos via social media (but in real life too!). The #prjournoloveadl name was long, and not fully encompassing of the idea (was the comment by other tweeps). So, it evolved to #Commsadelaide. But, it's intention wasn't to only be highbrow social media, rather inclusive to those in the comms industry and media alike (whether they found out about in SM or WOM, or whatever). To me, #socadl is a more specific task focused on growing our digital strength and collaboration. Yes?

    Blah blah blah…I know, long story. Really, would rather keep things simple. We're too small of an industry in Adelaide to make it confusing, and I'm already losing the time to follow all the platforms and chatter.

    Just thought I should explain how #commsadelaide came to be. If there's no love for it, that's fine. I can stop using the hashtag and go about it another way (or not). I'm not precious about it either way.

    I realise there is no heart for #SMCADL, but my feeling is we need to get on board, or get left behind.

    Thanks Lee for your efforts…Dena

  • Monnie

    I will have to agree with the general consensus that there are now too many groups. For anyone who doesn't know, I run ATUB and BarCamp Adelaide and a couple other lesser known meets and greets that mostly revolve around the internet and social media. :)

    #CommsAdelaide is actually a fantastic idea which could be extended to invite the odd one or two people who aren't working in the industry but do have a broad knowledge and keen interest (who may be invited to go along to some of the meets). I think that as an existing meet idea really covers #socadl anyway, as the idea to make #socadl was to be an umbrella organisation-thing..

    I guess as it isn't serving that purpose it kind of seems pointless to me – but I understand still the interest in the event. I really feel there's too much to be kept up with. Even in Adelaide watching from afar the Sydney events, I am surprised any of the people in Social Media over there have home lives as there's always something on!

    In that respect, as Adelaide develops its SM interest, this will also be the path we'll take, with multiple groups starting up to serve a wide range of interests to pick up everyone somehow. At this stage however I don't think that's really required as we all seem to be delving into the same thing and essentially doubling up.

    I understand that any group really needs a faciliator and I can see that Lee wasn't trying to take over the whole thing, but as he proposed the idea was credited with most of everything. 😛

    Anyway, that's my two cents on the whole thing. :) And sorry again that I couldn't make it that night. Maybe we can grab a short coffee in the new year (not as long as the last meet? :P)

  • Michelle Prak

    Dena, thanks for this: it was really important for us to know the origins of #commsadelaide. Clearly I only noticed the tail end of it, just when the hashtag was being refined.

    So it originated as 'prjournolove'? You're right – that's quite a different concept to #socadl. Did you have any media interest in a tweetup or the hashtag? And any other comms agencies? It's worth pursuing in Adelaide, separate from #socadl … I would think.

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