InForum Group Invitation – Social Media in Business & Beyond

With a rising interest in Neuroscience, we have an opportunity, which we must not squander, to sophisticate our understanding of ourselves*

Social media is one of the most powerful technology tools on the planet, especially for those wanting to stay connected with friends and family members while discovering what is happening in the rest of world. Our network of personal relationships impact far more than any of us perhaps realize, on our lives and the lives of others. Social Media now and in the future is, and will remain helpful for drawing lines of communication between councils, corporates, country people and city communities, as well as providing an important way of keeping a great majority of people intelligently informed. The InForum Group current event Social Media – The Network We Cannot Live Without was a resounding success in Sydney in March and will be held at Melbourne and Brisbane in May. It will be sure to emphasize the influence of social media and social networks is significant. A panel of people with a great deal of expertise will examine the power, reach and relevance of social media in today’s world, where ‘word of mouth’ now means ‘world of mouth’.

The timing of this forum is spot on. American President Barack Obama and his advisers have just recently produced a 17-minute online documentary, The Road We’ve Traveled, which is narrated Hollywood style by Tom Hanks. It is meant for people to share on line through social networks and email about the positive aspects of his presidency in the run up to a U.S. election.  It will prove an interesting case study for the great many scientists and analysts around the world closely monitoring the growth and effect of social media.

The Social Media InForum Moderator at Melbourne is Writer and Journalist Adam Shand

From brands to business, from professionals to politics The InForum Group panel of speakers will put in perspective, the realistic opportunities social media has created for business, politicians, organizations and individuals to communicate with the wider community.

MELBOURNE SOCIAL MEDIA FORUM PANEL: 2 May with Moderator Adam Shand, author and Senior Writer for The Australian. Panel: Marina Go, Publisher, Private Media. Sam Mutimer, Director of Social Media at ThinkTank Media, resident social media expert on Channel 7 News and Lucie Snape, Digital Strategist, [email protected], Ogilvy PR.

BRISBANE SOCIAL MEDIA FORUM PANEL: 10 May with Moderator Sarah Vick, CEO of Reading Room PANEL: Marina Go, Publisher, Private Media. Lucie Snape, Digital Strategist, [email protected], Ogilvy PR. Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson, National Technology Writer, QLD News.

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Social media has fundamentally changed how people receive information via some 845 + million people globally, who speak 79 languages. There are many in the community yet to be convinced how effective social media can be in providing a meeting place where one on one interaction can more easily take place and where increasingly, the important relationship between Neuroscience, behaviour and society is revealed. As Dr Jonathan Rowson, Associate Director, RSA Social Brain Project explains ‘if knowledge is power, knowledge about your own behaviour ought to be particularly empowering’.

Transforming the way we do business, and beyond will be possible well into the future because of social media. It is very cost effective, especially for start up companies and expanding organizations, as the only real investment requirement is the time to be ‘online’.  The outreach is limitless, with groups like Facebook offering opportunities to connect to hundreds, even hundreds of thousands of people. Benefits include being able to be involved in a quicker response in times of global crisis and trouble. Reports about The Tsunami in Japan a year ago inform this thought.

Thanks to social media, people around the world joined hands, showing their compassion and helping those affected by donating the funds that were immediately needed. They also helped relatives to mourn and recover, by offering support, even if it was just a kind voice from thousands of miles away. It allowed the people of Japan to not feel isolated during such a terrible crisis.

It was a wonderful example of compassionate community interaction on a global scale. You Tube reported that 7,000 tsunami-related videos were published within the first few hours after the first tremor. Hundreds of thousands more shared information on Twitter and Facebook. Footage of the devastating wave hitting the shore was beamed worldwide within minutes of it happening. The world’s reaction was all about building social capital, or mutual goodwill, which is shaped when you volunteer to help others, to help your neighbour and look after your family. Every time you participate in your community, you’re generating social capital, both for yourself and other people involved.

In the corporate family computer entrepreneur and inventor Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011) proved the theories and practicalities attached to building social capital by making good mistakes. People who invest in social capital, are far more likely to find help where and when they need it. It’s the old adage ‘if at first you don’t succeed, the chances are you are making progress’.

Social networks and social capital are linked inextricably. For example, if one person is admired and trusted by friends and colleagues in their group, then their opinion will count. Each has another network of friends and colleagues of their own. As they pass the message along, in some cases a snowballing affect will take place. Eventually it can, and will reach out affecting the growth of ideas, inspiring innovation, informing and educating hundreds and hundreds of people, while drawing lines of communication, making for better connected communities.

One of the most important ways forward will be mobilizing community networks as a force for social good and change. Each community has its own local identity, that is linked to a national identity, and on to the world wide global society.

It has what David Halpern, currently consulting to the British government calls ‘hidden wealth’, which includes local skills, trust and know-how, useful contacts and care-based exchanges. The RSA at London is a respected and revered social profit organization that is a direct contributer to society by being a source for ideas, innovation and civic enterprise.

Its current Social Brain project reveals ‘the notion of a rational individual who makes decisions consciously, consistently and independently is, at best, a very partial account of who we are. According to their data science is now telling us what most of us intuitively sense — humans are a fundamentally social species’.

Social media in practical terms can help many people ‘get more for less’. The success of Ebay has proved that. It also has the potential for what sociologist and scientist Nicholas Christakis terms ‘social contagion’, or the spreading of good behaviours and values. In real terms social media has the potential to be a powerful force and this will translate to business in the long term. In the future business will need to seek to understand the importance of social media and people’s interaction in the areas where they set up shop, be it in a CBD or in a suburban location. They will need to actively identify ways in which a community dialogue can be entered into and built on by developing alternative promotion and marketing strategies, rather than just putting up more signs, which people in the main really do not like.

Currently in Sydney developers have applied to place a huge number of ‘backlit’ signs on the King and Clarence Street corner facades of a heritage building. It’s a matter of public record.  On one of the corners opposite is a hotel, on the other a residential building. The area is already an ever-expanding Night Club precinct, with noise all night and illegal glass collectors at 4am. More electric billboard and advertising signs will further intrude on living spaces and owners and residents would not be keen to be advocates of the applicant if signs are allowed.

Buildings, and changes to their use in the city that surround residential structures just cannot be viewed in isolation. They also need to be viewed in the context of the buildings surrounding them and, most especially, the community of people who work and live in the immediate vicinity.

We all know now that cities need to be lived in or they die. We also know that while commerce is vital to ensuring the life of the city, it is striking a balance people who reside in the city can live with that is the difficulty. In all societies while change is inevitable it should always be socially progressive, so that cities remain vibrant places, emboldened by those who live within it. This way they are, and will remain a dynamic crucible for change.

In line with current world practice businesses of the future setting up in big cities will need to ensure that their community footprint is minimal, and that they employ a community driven approach to doing business, by promoting good will with their colleagues and the people of the city or their immediate location*.

By increasing the amount and quality of the social interaction with the people who surround them on a daily basis, businesses will contribute significantly to everyone’s future.  It is all about a network of communities taking responsibility for themselves and their people.

During the ‘enlightenment’ of eighteenth century Europe the advancement of society and knowledge meant that all of current theories and societal structures had to collapse and be replaced by new ideas. Many thousands died in the process.

InForum Group Function, The Ivy Room, Sydney

If we have entered a period where it has to happen all over again, then our next world view surely must be that we need to carefully balance the friction between expectation and outcome.

We will have to fire up our curiosity while we continue to edge incrementally forward on a new pathway of discovery without violence. Our errors instead of being viewed as regressive, will need to be viewed as a hallmark of success, as we edge forward one step at a time.

Taking social networks seriously means recognizing that the elementary unit of social life is neither the individual nor the group. Social networks allow us to move beyond this classic theoretical distinction. This is because they pre-suppose a social structure that both shapes, and is shaped by individual behaviour.

As renowned scientists and sociologists from Harvard University, Nicholas Christakis and his colleague from the University of California James Fowler indicate: ‘The science of social networks provides a distinct way of seeing the world because it is about individuals and groups, and about how the former actually become the latter.’  They present compelling evidence on how the growth of social media will be profoundly important for the future of the planet.

Watch the ABC The Business Show Interview with Laurel Papworth

Book Now – The InForum Group – Social Media Forum

MELBOURNE SOCIAL MEDIA FORUM PANEL: with Moderator Adam Shand, author and Senior Writer for The Australian. Panel: Marina Go, Publisher, Private Media. Sam Mutimer, Director of Social Media at ThinkTank Media, resident social media expert on Channel 7 News and Lucie Snape, Digital Strategist, [email protected], Ogilvy PR.’

Venue Melbourne: The Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library of Victoria
Date: Wednesday May 2 Time: 6 – 8 pm
Cost: $100 p.p. including GST

BRISBANE SOCIAL MEDIA FORUM PANEL: with Moderator Sarah Vick, CEO of Reading Room PANEL: Marina Go, Publisher, Private Media. Lucie Snape, Digital Strategist, [email protected], Ogilvy PR. Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson, National Technology Writer, QLD News.

Venue Brisbane: The Edge, State Library of Queensland, Southbank
Date: Thursday May 10 Time: 12 – 2pm
$100 p.p. including GST

InForum Group Website:

Enquiries: Email [email protected]

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Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2012

* — Iain McGilchrist, The Master and his Emissary

Ref: ‘word of mouth’ – ‘world of mouth’ @

With thanks to Jenny Garber and Fiona Coogan Inforum Group

RSA Projects Reports Attached to Download

Transforming Behaviour Change- Beyond Nudge and Neuromania
Connected Communities by Jonathan Rowson, Steve Broome and Alasdair Jones
The Community Footprint by Thomas Neumark, Emma Norris, Gaia Marcus and Steve Broom

Connected, the book by ‘the dynamic duo’ Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler

Watch the historic documentary by President Obama released via Social Media on You Tube



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