Future Social Media - Digital Catapult

Audrey Crosbie:

I'm Trinity's Industry Liaision manager - we're here to connect industry with research

Kathryn Louise Geels:

This is part of an EU project called Vital Media - Ireland has an ecosystem of innovative companies that is similar to what we see at Catapult

There is a wider initiative in europe called NEM - New European Media @NEM_initiative nem-initiative.org - do sign up for that

the EU commission are looking at a lot of aspects of Social Media - consumer privacy and trust being key there - we have brought some of that with us today

Audrey Crosbie:

Our keynote speaker is a Trinity Alumnus and former student union president - Mark Little. He alsi used to lead twitter's media team in europe

mark little:

I was a troublesome student - I was a bit of a rebel. We are very proud of Sam Beckett at Trinity, but also of Walton cracking genetics

there is backlash against technology companies at the moment - it reminds me of Hegel's dialectics - There is a Thesis, a clashing Antithesis, and synthesis that gets it together

the Thesis is the realisation is that individuals have powers to express themselves on social media that we have never had access to before

I used to be an anchor on television - I was able to ask twitter "I have the minister for finance on tonight -what should i ask him?"

Twitter completely revolutionised the means of production of news - speaking to a mass audience without the gatekeepers like me

I was no longer the voice of god talking to a passive audience, but they were responding and making me a better journalist

I was seeing a more authentic voice online than any foreign correspondent could provide by hearing it directly

the democratic potential of having no-one between you an your audience was thrilling

the antithesis is how do you decide who to listen to? We made Storyful to try and make sense of all this

when I went to work at twitter I started to see the antithesis further - big platforms are a contradiction

we are rows of corn to be harvested by big companies into data and sold to advertisers

so we need . synthesis - what do we do/ do we leave it to platforms or governments to fix this?

the last thing I want is a politician coming in and telling us how to do this - I see the lack of curiosity about what they call "the twitter"

I don't want the platforms to be given the power to self regulate either - they now know that they are potentially like big tobacco

I have 5 princicples we shoudl be listening to as we think about this

Design is 1st - look at the design of systems and their unintended consequences - how they're open to manipulation

we have a business model based on advertising that creates the worst incentives - toe centralise within a walled garden

the systems are designed to keep people unconsciously addicted to a system based on bad emotions

be aware of the problems that your design can cause

Decentralisation is the 2nd principle - we need to being it back to the individual - we need @cshirky's here comes everybody thinking

we need to think about NLP to create taxonomies that connect individuals on topics thta matter to them

@girlondon is working on an accelerator thinking about how to create better connections between individuals and journalists

3rd thing is Incentives - money. we need new models that are not about advertising, but not necessarily like paywalls either

Capital too - if you're a VC it's all about growth, about getting an exit. Growth shoudl not be the core of the design of these new systems

we should be exploring new ways of financing companies that don't have this vC growth mindset

could a blockchain smart contrect be used to create different incentives to create value rather than engagement

I am exhilerated by the potential still - when I see criticism I agree with about 90% of it, but Time Well Spent is encouraging

what I don't like is the sense that we are powerless in the face of that technology

as Ed Burke of Trinity said - all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing

we need to unlock the potential of social media - the machine is designed by humans and we need to design for humans too

Sam Beckett's line "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." is what we need

Vinny Wade:

at ADAPT we want to bridge between industry and academia. Digital media is driving change in the world today.

ADAPT focuses on the empowerment of people through media

Design is a key aspect of social media @mckibben23 has been working on this here

there have been scare stories about GDPR from journalist, but we do need to use it to change behaviour

Applaud Events:

we're an online booking platform for performers - http://www.applaudevents.com to help them get booked and paid

performers don't need to be musicians - composers, sound engineers and anyone else involved in music production is as well

Alison Crawford:

you're aggregating a lot of existing platforms - how do you make yourself distinct?


we want to stop independent restaurants having to place high placement bids to advertise against big chains

restaurants always depend on influencers -food critics, michelin guide, Yelpers now instagram micro influencers

restaurants don't have the time to find influencers and advertise to them

influencers receive free meals with a value based on their Fussy Score - pictures of food are one of the most engaging types on instagram

Julian Seymour:

how do you define a micro influencer? how sticky will that be?

Thomas Melia:

you have a good handle on the influencers problem, but how can you show value to restaurants

Alison Crawford:

at the moment the individual would negotiate with the restaurant - how do you overcome that first connection with the restaurant hurdle?


at the moment the restaurants don't know how much to pay

influencers with a global following don't mater to a restaurant compared to how many can get to the restaurant