The freedom to not speak

I recently had the pleasure of attending the Google Analytics Summit, an event hosted for Certified Partners (my employer, SHIFT Communications, is one) to gain insight into the latest advancements in marketing measurement.

What’s novel and unique about this conference for me is that it’s under NDA, a non-disclosure agreement. Every session, every talk, every slide: not a word of it can be shown to the public. No photos. No Tweets. No blog posts (about the content). An attendee who violates the NDA is at risk of losing their Certified Partner status and access to the most valuable information being offered.

NDA.jpg

As odd as this sounds in this social media age, the lack of sharing is quite freeing. You have no focus other than learning, absorbing, taking notes. There’s nothing to share, no selfies to take, no interviews to conduct. No social media leaderboard in the lobby counting up how many times the hashtag has been mentioned; in fact, there is no official hashtag in order to discourage inappropriate sharing.

Your focus is only on the content being shared and the implications for your business.

For speakers, what would you do differently in your talks if you knew no one was permitted to share the information? What would you share? Think about how your presentations would differ. Would you feel more free to share an extra goodie or two?

For audience members, how much more would you get out of conferences if you had no reason to share? How much more could you focus if you didn’t need to think about photos, videos, tweets, Facebook posts, etc.? Would you catch more information without the cognitive load of determining what to share?

For conference organizers, while locking down an entire conference might be impractical, what if you offered a lockdown session or two, in which each attendee paid an extra NDA fee that was refunded X days after the event in exchange for a completely private session?

It’s a worthy challenge, considering how much mental bandwidth you give to publishing and sharing – and what you could do with that bandwidth instead. Give it some thought before the next conference you attend.


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Where to find me at Social Media Marketing World

As many others are, I’ll be attending and speaking at Social Media Marketing World. If you’d like to talk about how I and SHIFT Communications can help your company with all things social (especially measurement, analytics, and down-funnel marketing), data-driven public relations, come find me and say hello!

Wednesday:

Evening reception on the USS Midway. Look for the guy avoiding crowds and instead checking out World War II weaponry. I anticipate being difficult to find.

Thursday:

Invisible in the morning. Floating around during the afternoon. If you want to say hello, any time in the afternoon is fine, just tweet at @cspenn.

Friday:

8 AM Keynote with Mark Schaefer, Guy Kawasaki, and Mari Smith. We’ll be talking whether content is killing social media or vice versa.

10:45 AM in Seaport H, How to use analytics to predict future social media marketing opportunities. This is my solo talk on predictive analytics. You’ll walk out knowing some brand new ways to use tools that you already own or can afford out of pocket.

11:45 AM in Seaport C, I’ll be moderating a panel with Susan Beebe, Dan Gingiss, and Chuck Hemann titled, “How to measure what matters and communicate it to the execs, managers, and the front line”. To be perfectly honest, I won’t be saying much in this session. Why? Because I despise the uncommon but annoying panel moderators who think it’s their job to talk for half the panel’s time because they couldn’t earn a solo session. The moderator’s there mainly to end fights and/or fill dead time when the audience fails to ask questions.

Hope to see you there! If you want to chat but for some reason can’t get a hold of me, contact me through SHIFT.


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No, I’m not going to Dreamforce 2014

In case you were wondering…

Nope, I’m not going to Dreamforce this year. I wrote this blog post expressly so I can link it every time someone asks this week.


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