September 30, 2016 | , , | by

And One Damn Good Conference!

If you ever wanted proof of the benefits of surrounding yourself with really smart people, look no further than Jeff Pulver, a pioneer in the VoIP space, serial entrepreneur, and current chairman of Zula. Pulver’s MoNage conference this past week at the Boston Public Library was a three-day smorgasbord of the smartest people in the room. The conference was part of a series of events looking at the future of internet messaging. From sessions on the technical challenges of building real-time secure financial messaging to how to interpret emojis in online dating, the conference was one of the most eclectic and yet personal conferences I’ve been to in a while.

While there was much for a marketing director to learn about representing brands in digital messaging through text, image, video, all of the above or something else, I came away with three big ideas that transcend the details. For the details, be sure to save Oct 22-24, 2017 for the next MoNage Boston. You won’t regret it.

Massive change is coming

Particularly in messaging. Although other things have changed significantly, instant messaging has not really changed for twenty years:

What this means for brands hoping to reach millennials is game-changing (branded emojis anyone?). The list of what you can do from within your messaging app is astounding, and brands are going to have to catch up.

The bots are also coming

Another fascinating thread to this conference was the intersection between AI and human communication. An increasing amount of our digital speech is being received by machines, who use our conversations to not just be useful to us, but to learn how we speak and think (“Alexa, what’s in the news?”) This is a whole field opening up: branded AI experiences. Tim Rogers from +Rehab Studios gave a particularly compelling presentation (he’s going to release it soon, but in the meantime check out his blog post on the same subject. What will your bot say on your behalf?

But there are also voices for humanity

Perhaps not surprisingly, there are also many voices calling for authenticity and real connection. Figures like Jeff Jarvis, CC Chapman, Chris Brogan, Christopher Penn, Geo Geller, and Imran Anwar, among many others spoke on the various ways brands can speak (and listen!) with a respectful adult, no matter what the technology is. This was also a prominent theme at last year’s Social Tools Summit and a frequent thread on Medium. But what does it really mean to communicated with authenticity? We at Digaboom believe that it begins with listening and clearly understanding core brand before starting.

This was just a slight taste of the wonderful conversations that were happening on stage and off. And getting to spend lunch with this view was worth it. So, if you are looking for three days of very likely not being the smartest person in the room, keep late October 2017 open.