I attended the event ’Leveraging Social Networks for Progressive Organizing’ this afternoon in DC.
In my opinion the greatest thing to come out of this entire web 2.0 bubble is the empowerment of a younger generation. For example, the panel speakers were for the most part probably under 25 years of age. In what other context would you see so many 50 year old CEO’s listening so intently to a bunch of kids?
Overall I didn’t hear anything groundbreaking, but that comes from someone who spends a whole lot of time following this stuff. The most interesting conversations centered on the conversion of online interactions into offline interactions. As you might assume, just because someone is a friend of Barack Obama on Facebook doesn’t mean they will attend a rally when Barack comes to town.
What interested me most were the people in attendance. The group was very ethnically diverse and had a great mix of older folks (presumably trying to understand if this whole ’online thing’ might lead to more donation dollars) and then younger intern age folks (perhaps looking to leverage their love of Facebook into a full-time job.)
My favorite part of the event was when one of the youngest members of the panel mistakenly referred to online ’conversion matrixes’ when she obviously meant ’conversion metrics.’ To me, this mixup was awesome because it beautifully explains so much. For younger generations, the monetization of social networks is simply gobblygook. To the young, social networking is about meeting people, exchanging ideas and defining oneself. Social networking is not about the ’metrics,’ it’s about the fact that my favorite movie was the Matrix and I’d like to meet other people who feel the same way.