The Conversation Group, The Beginning of the Story

The Conversation GroupThe story of how and why we have come to form The Conversation Group is an epic – a story that is worthy of thousands of words, which I am going to share with you over the weeks ahead. There is the socioeconomic environment; the fertile cultural ground for our perspective; the advent of social media (aka participatory media, aka conversational media); the deep need for this sort of transformation in marketing communications; the disruptive technologies such as Tivo and RSS; and the changing nature of our relationships with each other as individuals, as colleagues and as community participants.

Then of course, there is the story that Ted Shelton, Giovanni Rodriguez, Stephanie Agresta and I need to tell regarding what brings us each here, at this moment in time, to work together towards this shared vision of our partnership. Of equal importance is the story our advisory board members, Chris Brogan, Deborah Schultz, Shel Holtz, Mitch Ratcliffe, David Thorpe, Doc Searls, and David Weinberger have to tell. Finally, there is the story of our kindred spirit and Board Member from the UK, Mark Adams, of Pembridge who previously co-founded Global Technology PR firm Text 100 and the genius of Peter Hirshberg, CMO and Chairman of the Executive Committee for Technorati.

Our story together as The Conversation Group, is the sum of all these parts and so much more. Everyone with their own important perspective on what is going on, everyone with a unique value to contribute to the conversation on conversations, and everyone describing a different aspect of the same proverbial elephant. For me personally, I feel it is the continuation of the Cluetrain Manifesto, those ideals being manifested, yet evolving in fascinating ways, inspired by the widespread use of enabling technologies and an open source ethos of sharing and collaboration.

Throughout each of these many facets of the story, it is very hard to define the underlying nature of the transformation that is underway now – the thing that Doc talks about regarding the ‘greater significance’ that I can talk about easily (not quickly), but struggle to articulate with written words. That which a single phrase can not describe – a story that doesn’t break down well into a 30 second clip, or tagline – a story that we (you and I) are writing together through our exploration of our social media and our connections with each other. It is a “conversation on conversations” and participatory media that is just now beginning in earnest with events like Federated Media’s Conversational Marketing Summit that is taking place today.

The Conversation Group is but one part of this bigger story – my partners and I are striving to work together to make it an important part, but we know we don’t have all the answers. Rather, we have the experience and perspective needed to ask the right questions, that lead to better answers, discovered together, through conversations.

—more to come—