New Media Atlanta and the BackNoise controversy

My first experience with BackNoise ever was three weeks ago at the New Media Atlanta conference. BackNoise is a website that allows people watching an event to provide a running commentary of what is happening. They can do it anonymously or, if they choose, comment using their name.

What this provided was a window into what people hated and occasionally liked about what was happening on the stage. Some of it was the kind of commentary, in polite company, people keep to themselves. This provided a wake up call for the event organizers on how little patience the audience had for promotional blather. It also informed some of the speakers on how they should do their presentations after the previous presenter got low marks on their PowerPoint. It also informed how nasty some people can get with what normally would be their would be internal dialog.

Jeff Turner mentioned the conversation and even let it influence his presentation. Later, Chris Brogan took the demon by the horns and put BackNoise up in place of his PowerPoint. I think this actually worked in his favor. He definitely had one of the best presentations of the day, many would say the best.

Other folks have done a more extensive job about dissecting what happened and another has written about how speakers should react. So let’s talk about what it means as marketers.

Imagine your corporate website was subject to this kind of brutality. Well it is now thanks to Google Side Wiki.

Or folks were trashing your commercials while watching a program. Thanks to Twitter, they are.

Now people are commenting during meals at your restaurant and posting while staying in your hotel. Frankly, the marketer, the speaker, the business and the actor have all lost control of the conversation. But if, like Brogan, and embrace the conversation, you can make it work for you. Because, what choice do you really have?

Posted on: October 12, 2009, by :