Fashionable Shoreditch today hosted MPs, start ups, Nathan Barley agency types and all sorts interested in how technology is shaping the nation. As one of the all sorts I put a few questions to the house about the role of technology in everyday life. Online voting? Could happen soon. If you can vote by SMS in Latvia, I’m sure it can be arranged in Hackney. Poking MPs? Well, certain fifth columnists know this goes on all the time in a lobbying (and allegedly Ugandan) sort of way, but does crowdsourcing political opinion actually give voice to the extremists who have an agenda to poke the most? Yes, probably. Has the internet broken the commercial stranglehold traditional media has had on presenting messages to the public? Perhaps. Public opinion has become democratised, and this is a good thing. It has certainly made pretty much every brand owning organisation sit up and take note of publicly available opinion of brands. They have to be more ‘open’. And the politicians are saying this too. I love the concept of open brands. The issue is that the brand has to mean it, not just ‘say it’. And how many of you believe the politicians mean it? For example, does a negative blog comment saying x brand is rubbish count as ‘branded content? If it’s honest and sustainable, then yes. The interesting thing is (as the guys from MySpace and Facebook will confirm) communities do defend their brands. For every detractor, you will find an enthusiast. The ultimate test is, as always, whether people continue to buy the product. Social change through technology advances won’t change that.
PS super seeing Dave B, the original blog poster child. Apologies for pun. Still love you though 🙂