I’m currently at a conference in Copenhagen. I’m watching the speakers talk about new media and the public sphere, they’re all brilliant, but they haven’t been able to make me smile.
I’m thinking about my kitchen and that it will be ready in just a few more days. And that I could have been writing about my kitchen for weeks, because there are so many interesting details that I’d love to share with you related to business and marketing – just from buying a new kitchen.
Right now, I am listening to a Professor from the University of Illinois, she’s speaking about affective news and networked publics. I’m a marketing guy, listening to people from the academia presenting their research, and it’s similar to the story of how a wheelbarrow made me feel like the greatest dad in the world. It feels like I’m standing outside looking at the professor pushing the wheelbarrow with all the other participants in the wheelbarrow.
What they’re presenting is very interesting. The content is “world-class”, but still, it’s academia. I attended a completely different conference two days ago. That other conference was mostly for businesses, and the audience and the keynote speakers was from completely different worlds than what I’m listening to right now.
But, the content on both conferences are fantastic.
Why context is the King
We need amazing content, we really do, but what’s even more important is the right context. We need to consider two types of context.
We need to focus on how we communicate by using the right text and the right way to talk. When I’m listening to the professors from the various Universities from across the world, I’m not feeling that they’re talking to me. The language they are using is very complex, and the words they are using is different from most words I’m using.
We need to focus on social variables; like class, gender or race, when we present our content. But even more important is social identity. If we don’t identify with the source of the content, we won’t be as focused as we should be.
And, even though the conference I’m now attending should be far more interesting, and they have world-class speakers, and hence, better content, it’s not a better conference, and it’s all because, to me, context is the king.