Silicon Valley SMC Launch


NBC11 in San Jose hosted last night’s inaugural meeting of the Silicon Valley chapter of the Social Media Club. The local NBC affiliate generously provided a meeting room and snacks in their studios for over 50 attendees from traditional and independent media. A fair number of PR practioners joined the discussion as well.

The meeting followed the World Cafe format. About 10 tables for 5 were scattered around the room, given a question to examine, and report back to the room the results of the discussion. Then, the groups changed tables and examined a new topic with a new group. There were three rounds of tabletop discussion that allowed a group gestalt to emerge along with individual observations. It was the first time I attended a World Cafe style event and it was a welcome change from the typical “panel of experts” presentation because everyone had a chance to participate. The overarching theme was examining the impact of new media on local news. In other words, how can vlogging, blogging, and podcasting enhance the coverage of hyperlocal news.

The audience wasn’t interested in the typical Silicon Valley issues (What’s the business model? How do we monetize?). Instead, their concerns focused on content quality and trustworthiness, copyright and journalistic ethics. The discussion also revealed some current experiments in open source reporting. Jay Rosen‘s New Assignment is one example of how traditional media can tap into independent media for additional coverage and perspective on particular events or issues. New Assignment is also involved in Assignment Zero, an interesting experiment in crowdsourcing news coverage. Both experiments are relatively new and will be interesting to watch, and maybe participate in as well.

Last night’s meeting was a refreshing change from similar gatherings of bloggers and journalists last year. There was far more emphasis on collaboration rather than competition. There’s a willingness on both sides of the media divide to create something new and sustainable that is capable of capturing the scarcest resource of all…human attention.

The Social Media Club, Silicon Valley will be meeting again next month, time and date to be announced. NBC11 has offered to host the meeting again and committed to becoming a mainstay of our local chapter. Lots of interesting things are going to come from this collaboration. Stay tuned.