From my own perspective, the first day of New Communications Forum 2005 has been an enlightening experience.
As I've presented one session and led two workshops, I've been able to participate in only one other workshop (Shel's on blogs in crisis communication, which I commented about earlier today).
The workshops I led today addressed the subject of using tools like blogs, wikis and RSS within organizations, ie, as employee communication channels for use by employees wholly within the organization (see workshop outline).
During each 90-minute session, we discussed these tools in the broad context of how employees can use them as informal means to develop effective relationships with other employees and share information and knowledge more easily. Such big-picture talk often doesn't help people more clearly understand how they can apply these tools themselves, in their own companies, so we had some practical work to do where the participants were divided up into two teams, with each team discussing a different typical situation in a company and making recommendations for which tools might be appropriate to use in addressing some specific communication objectives.
The feedback I've had so far indicates that everyone participating got some real value from this approach. And we had some really good ideas surfacing as a result of this type of role-playing exercise.
One thing that has been just great is that I've finally met some terrific people, names in the business blogging scene that will be familiar to many of you, including Evelyn Rodriguez, Renee Blodgett, Constantin Basturea, Jeremy Wright, Stowe Boyd, Dan Forbush, Yvonne DiVita, Tom Foremski, Anita Campbell, Alice Marshall, in addition to the great people I met yesterday. This isn't the total 'cool list,' though, by any means.
Today's workshops have broadly been focused on tactical issues, and tomorrow's panel discussions will enable everyone to get into some deeper discussion on major strategic issues surrounding blogs from the communication perspective, including blogging and journalism, and ethics - two hot and timely subjects to address.
It's been tiring but tremendous fun so far. Here's just one photo snapped by our friendly waiter in the Silverado Resort restaurant tonight:
From left to right: Neville Hobson, Dan Forbush, Constantin Basturea, John Gerstner, Shel Holtz. We had a great dinner!
Edit: Shel and I did a Hobson & Holtz Report special podcast interview with Fergus Burns, CEO of Nooked. We'd hoped to post that today, but we're having some difficulty uploading the MP3 file. Wireless network issues, I guess. So we hope to be able to post that interview sometime during Thursday.