F.Y.I.

Jane Caro to speak at PRIA 2016 on future of democracy and social media

Journalist and commentator Jane Caro will speak on democracy and social media at the forthcoming PRIA’s National Conference, November 14-15, to take place at the Four Points Sheraton, Sydney.

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The announcement:

MEDIA RELEASE

31 October 2016

Sydney

Jane Caro to speak at PRIA 2016 on troubling future of Democracy and Social Media

Jane Caro is a trailblazing and forthright author, journalist, broadcaster, advertising writer and commentator. She’s published eight books and appears in the media regularly, including Q&A, The Drum and Sunrise.

One of the upcoming speakers at Communication Innovation, PRIA’s 2016 National Conference, her speech will discuss how and why the internet is becoming a new form of advocacy and democracy, how it is taking power from the powerful.

So how does an advocacy expert see the future of social media?  Lies. “I’ve been very interested in, heavily involved with, social media, almost since when it started, I think, so I have a fairly good idea of where it’s at now.  My view is that anyone who predicts where it’s going next is – having a lend of you.”

Facebook has changed our world, but will Instagram or Snapchat do the same? Says Caro, “that’s where we get ourselves lost – we think that the method of delivery must fundamentally change who people are – it doesn’t. It changes the way you are able to talk to them, but not what you talk to them about.”

“Everyone falls in love with the shiny new object. We’re like the dog in ‘Up’ – “Squirrel!”. The task of the good communicator is to stay true to human nature.”

Caro sees ‘Slacktivism’ as a force for good, despite it coming under critical fire. “instead of criticising us because we’re not curing cancer, we can turn that around and say compliment us for giving a few bucks to curing cancer, or at least liking a page where someone is trying to cure cancer so they don’t feel like they’re crying into a vacuum, and so gives them a little encouragement.

Those millions of women in Poland who went on strike over draconian abortion laws were able to organise that so quickly because of social media, and that’s action, and that actually changed the law.”

Social media has had a revolutionary effect, just like the printing press: “It’s given ‘out’ groups, and by ‘out’ groups I mean those who are underrepresented – everyone except white, private school educated men – it’s given those out groups unmediated access to the public conversation for the first time in history. Yes, it’s quite exciting, but it’s going to be as dramatic, volatile and as dangerous as after the printing press, because no one gives up power without a fight.”

For a clear indicator of what that means – look no further than Donald Trump. “I think the Trump phenomenon is fascinating – terrifying, but fascinating. I think the reason why he has such a presence amongst white male voters more than any other group, is that they didn’t think that they were outsiders. You don’t get that level of fury if people don’t fear they’re about to lose something. I think that’s what we’re facing.

It won’t be a transition of ‘here, everyone now have a fairer share of voice, we’re much happier now’ – it’ll be a tussle, and a squabble and a screaming match. There’ll be steps forwards and steps back and all kinds of problems along the way – just as there was after the invention of the printing press.

I have some idea why things are the way they are – but how they’re going to work out – I don’t know. But I see trouble ahead. Trouble ahead.”

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Jane will go into detail as to “why things are the way they are” at the ‘Communication Innovation’ PRIA’s National Conference, November 14-15, Four Points Sheraton, Sydney

Other guest speakers at PRIA 2016 include Andrew Hall, Head of Corporate Affairs, CBA, who will reveal the Commonwealth Bank’s revolution in internal communications, and how he went (among other things) about removing 33 separate intranets, and Christopher Graves, Global Head of Ogilvy PR.

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