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09 Jun mesh unmeshed

In my former life as a cog in the PR agency machine, I worked on the mesh web conference account for three years running. This year, I got to experience the conference as an attendee, which required much less work, and more much talking and listening.

Here are some key take-aways from this year’s conference:

1. Gamification is big and getting bigger. Gabe Zichermann’s keynote was the highlight for many people (partly because of his NYC propensity for profanity, which made the oh-so-Canadian audience blush.) Check out mesh attendee Zack Sandor-Kerr’s excellent notes about the keynote (starting on page 17.)

2. Traditional media, with the exception of Al Jazeera apparently, is dying a slow death. OK, so we all know this already, but two keynote speakers, Emily Bell (former head of the digital at the Guardian) and Tony Burman (head of strategy for Al Jazeera English) provided some insight into how their organizations are adapting to the digital shift.

3. Online influence is difficult to measure (and occasionally, difficult to have a conversation about…) David Armano and Valeria Maltoni attempted the difficult task of articulating how to measure and cultivate online influence. The key Captain Obvious takeaway: if you want to be influential online, it helps to know what you’re talking about.

4. Non-profits, including WWF, are continuing to innovate in the social media space because it’s a low-cost way to build communities. For example, the Canadian Red Cross received gazillions of dollars through SMS donating, and racked up 22.3 million impressions in response to their appeal for Japan, post-tsunami.

5. Cybercrime is real, and our government isn’t doing anything about. Fortunately, Citizenlab is on the job.

Further to the last point: during his keynote presentation, Citizenlab’s Ron Deibert continually referenced cyberspace and cybercrime, which prompted someone to ask what the terms meant. Clearly, they have not yet discovered the genius of William Gibson.

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