Cool. Erietta (from Cyberworx) and I moseyed on down to Mintners to catch Mark Pesce (futurist), Jonathan Nicholas (Inspire), Mike Walsh (News Corp) and Jennifer Wilson (HWW).
It was a great opportunity for me to understand where Australia is in the move towards participatory journalism and marketing. Mark Pesce is an interesting and dynamic speaker. After the presentation, I tried to give him a dollar for his hyperpeople bittorrent – I figured, what the hell, if there is no easy way to pay for articles and bytes on the ‘net, I’ll resort to real life transactions. But he gave it back to me, copyright forbids him taking money. Which of course opens up that kettle of worms.
Poor ol’ Mike Walsh caught all the questions regarding making money out of user-gen content. And kinda confirmed that News Corp don’t yet know how to make a buck outta web2.0. Given that none of the speakers even mentioned “viral marketing or WOM” “syndication” or even “stickability” I’m guessing the new models haven’t hit town yet hmmm? By the way, does anyone NOT yet have a copy of the Pepsi ad in their email inbox? The one with the dog? Let me know and I’ll mail it to you. What made it doubly frustrating was that the concept of ‘discussion’ and ‘participation’ in actual news (not just blogs) wasn’t discussed either. In fact a couple of us yelled out CONVERSATION at one point, but it got passed over. And its kinda bad form for newspapermen to diss blog-authors as NQOCD (Not Quite Our Class Darling)… meh writez g00d! The writing standard undoubtedly isn’t up to scratch, but most bloggers give expert knowledge or heartfelt over style, and the rest of the world is catching on that most journalists repackage press releases, and do little investigative reporting and writing of their own. So nyehnyeh nyehnyeeee!

Jonathan was (as always) good value. He felt out of his depth but that’s only cos he didn’t realise the rest of the panellist were bluffing. Heh. Jono brings humanity and real life questions to discussions on user generated content. His suggestion to ask why communities act a particular way before trying to market to them was particularly apt. I’d really like to see ReachOut! lead the world in supporting troubled teens – another, not dissimilar foundation in the US has had 170 million visitors in the last 10 years, and currently has 1/4 million hits per day, so I hope he’s ready! The fellas were intelligent enough, funny enough and pretty enough but they really were just eye candy compared to Jennifer from HWW who hit on some really really key issues.

So what did Jennifer do right? First was her point about ignoring if the content was valid or not, and respect that people will use the service irrespective of the quality. Young boys posting up mobile phone piccies of their penises I think was her example. No, in fact I’m sure it was. It kinda sticks in your mind. Not something you can forget in a hurry, if you take my meaning.
Jennifer spoke in an equally direct fashion about how hard it is to pay for anything on the ‘net – and you know dear reader, that is a subject close to my heart. I think the example was going to NineMSN and having the ringtone download software tell you it was installing spyware to make sure you were good boys and girls. Charming. Gosh, she said so many other things that just hit home, one, two, three. One biggie was the lack of an enablement layer on mobile phones. No matter what anyone tells you, moblogging has to get easier. Oh and walled gardens and how they suck in the mobile space. You don’t have to explain that to me.

Yep, the boys were eyecandy, but Jennifer Wilson has thought clearly and carefully through a number of issues. It was well worth going for her alone.