February 12, 2008
News & Opinion: Update from Tools of Change Conference
Yesterday Kate and I got to hear Douglas Rushkoff, author of Get Back in the Box, talk about how
content context contact is king. He explained that what people are really looking for online is social currency, the opportunities to interact with and respond to other people. The predominant marketing model has been to get people to interact with products, to take them away from other people so that, as Doug said in an example, they buy their oatmeal from Quaker, and not from Joe at the local farmer's market. That's changing as marketing is shifting from the hands of producers to the hands of consumers, whose opinions are more valuable because they can be shared without bias (for the most part) directly with other consumers.
The idea of social relationships in publishing has been a major theme at this year's conference. This morning I heard Gavin Bell from Nature Publishing Group talk about how your online services deserve the same degree of customer service your bricks and mortar business boasts. He talked about "Moderation" -- talking to people and finding out what's working and what's not, whether you're an online retailer or a blogger trying to join a broader conversation. One of the hardest parts of moderation is, Gavin explained, listening to what people say and accepting that they know what they want.