Spent the day at the first social media conference ever held in Iceland, at which I gave a short presentation about this blog. It was a great day and WOW there are so many people doing so many cool things here. Awesome! [Or as AAH would say: ozm!]
Hard to convey all the things that sparked my interest – I made a halfhearted attempt to Tweet about it as some of you may have noticed in the sidebar, but I was totally lame in comparison to some of the other nerds there [and you must know I use that term in the nicest possible way] who practically tore up the Twitterspere with their play-by-play reports [for those of you familiar with Twitter, the hash tag is #999conf – although most of the tweets are in Icelandic]. In fact one of the speakers, who has been tracking data about Icelanders’ Twitter use [did you know there are 2117 Icelanders who use Twitter?] showed us a graph where the tweets in Iceland shot up between 9 and 10 am – the first hour of the conference.
The conference was a mixture of presentations and panels, and I am being perfectly honest when I say they were all incredibly interesting and totally held my attention [which is probably why I was wasted by the end of the day]. There were panels about the future of music online, marketing in tourism using social media, social media and democracy and the future of online news. Presentations included marketing through Facebook, Facebook for businesses, online “listening”, user engagement, and more. And in each, a whole lot of ideas and thoughts were turned up and hashed out and, well, it was just really cool.
My presentation basically focused on how this blog has changed since the economic collapse and has become one of the main news sources out of Iceland. There is obviously a vast call for information about what is happening here and I broached the question of what the government and other officials were doing to fulfill this need. The short and most evident answer appears to be: NOT MUCH. Granted, I am not privy to what they are doing at the government press office, but apart from the occasional press release that gets sent out in English and vague talk about some PR firm in the UK, there really does not appear to be much that the Icelandic authorities are doing to promote or shape Iceland’s image, or further Iceland’s interests through PR. Which is pretty outrageous when you think about it. With everything that’s gone down here in the last year or so, they should have had PR experts on the case IMMEDIATELY working to communicate with the outside world – and those experts should [and probably would] have exploited the possibilities of social media to its fullest.
You know I can get totally worked up just thinking about it. Some of you may have noticed the brief discussion in the comments to the last post, in which Col wondered if the Icelandic Tourist Board did anything to support this blog. The answer is that no, they do not. I have tried to initiate a collaboration with them on two occasions, and they were simply not interested. I happen to know, however, that they read this blog regularly, and I’m sure it suits them just fine to have someone like YT actively doing their work for free. And seriously, I have to wonder what they are doing down there with all that staff. Not much social-media wise, at least: their website, for example, is completely stagnant and boring .
Similarly, the government could, in my view, be doing so infinitely much more. Take for instance the article that Eva Joly wrote in Iceland’s defense a few weeks ago – which basically presented Iceland’s case from “our point of view”. I published it on this blog in its entirety [not edited-slash-censored, like, for instance, The Telegraph] and it went viral, making it onto the front page of Reddit and ranking high on other social media sites. I estimate that, by now, around 50,000 people have logged on to read that article here. So if I – who am basically a nobody, just a person who writes a blog as a hobby in my living room at night – can manage to further Iceland’s case to such an extent, then what could the government do, with all its manpower and connections??
Anyway – a great day and I really appreciated having the opportunity to participate in the discussion – for as the organizer said when he introduced my presentation, even though this blog is one of the most-visited in Iceland, relatively few people even know that it exists.
And with that, I shall get off my soapbox.
HARDLY KNOW WHAT THE WEATHER WAS LIKE
Only that it was cloudy when I went in to the conference, and it was raining when I came out at five. I was desperately in need of a few lungfuls of fresh air so I went out for a bike ride along the seashore, not realizing that there was a pretty stiff wind happening. Not that I minded – I needed the exercise after a full eight hours of physical inertia. Right now 9°C [48F]; the sun came up at 6.32 and set at 8.16.