Since I presented the community presentation at the conference last week something has been bothering me. My audience at the event was comms planners of about 3/5 years experience. Part of what I talked about in the presentation related to why I thought it was professionally good for them to engage in the wider blogosphere, not least because it connects them to interesting ideas and some of the best thinking going on right now in their industry, but also because it tangibly shows the passion and interest they have for the job that they do.
The presentation I'd just given them was liberally sprinkled with references to and quotes from Clay Shirky, Mark Earls and Seth Godin (in fact Mark was kind enough to donate a couple of slides as part of the crowdsourcing idea). But when the audience was asked whether they'd read "Here Comes Everybody", nobody stuck their hand up. When they were asked whether they had read "HERD", no-one had. "Purple Cow"? No-one. So out of 50 comms planners from across a variety of different agencies, no-one had read even one of what must surely be 3 of the most seminal marketing books of the past few years.
Now, they might have just been a bit shy of-course, but I don't think so. If I'm honest, it kind of felt as though if I'd asked them about whether they'd read The Brand Innovation Manifesto or It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be, or Ogilvy On Advertising, the answer would have been the same.
Of-course, it's not all about everyone reading the same books, and there are many sources of information and inspiration. But I think these recent pieces of work have all moved the debate on how we should view and practice communications significantly forward. So if I'm honest, I was quite shocked. This has been going round in my head ever since that day. Perhaps I'm wrong to be so bothered by it. Even if I'm not wrong, I'm not even sure what could or should be done about it. But I think perhaps something should.