Social Media, Cultural Change, Who We Are and Events

ByJenise Fryatt


How is social media changing our brains? How is it changing our society? And how will this affect the way we design events and presentations?

A discussion following an Event Camp Twin Cities Pecha Kucha presentation by Lynn Randall of Randall Insights on how social media is changing society was one of the highlights of this year’s Event Camps for me.  Afterward a group of us gathered to share thoughts about this fascinating topic and when our chat time was over, many of us wanted to continue it. 

So, two months later during the peer session sign up at Event Camp East Coast, I took the opportunity to submit this topic, with the help of my friend, brain researcher Andrea Sullivan of BrainStrength Systems (who had been part of the original discussion at ECTC). The title: The Relationship Between Social Media, Cultural Change, Who We Are and Events.

With thanks to Sarah Vining of the National Conference Center, who took notes, here are a few nuggets from this juicy discussion.

* We are undergoing the most massive reorganization of the brain in the past 1,000 years

* We must talk to different generations differently – we must be more pliable, approach them how they want to be approached.

* Check out the book “Generations at Work” to understand how different generations work, solve problems, etc.

* The pre-frontal cortex, which understands consquences, is not fully devleoped until humans are 24 years old.

* Digital Natives (those who grew up with the internet or Gen Y) have a strong urge to connect with their network and share information.

* People who form relationships online are often compelled to find ways to take those relationships off line.

* Event planners can make f2f networking warmer by fostering online relationships prior to events.

* Game dynamics can be used to enhance networking.

* Online networking games can place unecessary barriers between participants at f2f events.

* Younger generations don’t understand older generations’ need to answer the phone when it rings.

* People should exercise choice to use social media; filter.

* Information overload and ADD are side effects of too much social media.

* The brain is not designed to make us happy.

* Brain exercises can change habits.

* Abilitiy to take risk can be learned as a habit.

* Social media fosters collaboration.

* People who adopt tools of collaboration are more successful – 5 or 6 brains are better than 1.

* MeetUp! concept is VERY connected to what we do as event professionals.

* Connections fostered by social media come with new barriers such as: language, culture, time, personality.

* The Golden Rule is now turning into HR Platinum Rule: Treat people as they want to be treated,” by understanding generational, gender, culture differences.

* Body language doesn’t transfer to other cultures.

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