Warring Social Media Pair Need to Have A REAL Conversation

Digital disagreement

Iain Hepburn and Gordon White

I’m troubled by a rather unfortunate spat between two of Glasgow’s leading advocates of social media.

In the red corner sits the Daily Record’s digital editor, Iain Hepburn, a man who is not only at the forefront of changes in the Scottish news industry, but also a voracious consumer and analyst of all things digital.

In the blue corner is Gordon White, the man behind Podcast Matters, which encourages business to embrace social media – most recently through his freshly launched New Media Breakfasts, which are proving a huge hit.

I’m fortunate enough to have a passing acquaintance with both – though couldn’t claim to really know either. So, I don’t feel half as uncomfortable as I might at tossing in my tuppenceworth.

Differences of opinions emerged between the pair after Gordon’s first New Media Breakfast in Glasgow. The rift deepened after the second event a few days ago.

As you might expect, it’s a disagreement that’s been played out through a subsequent flurry of audioboos, blogs and tweets .

All very fittingly ‘new media’, but definitely not very  ‘social’.

It strikes me there are two people here heading in the same direction – but arguing feverishly over whether they should find the destination  using one man’s expensive sat nav, or the other man’s equally expensive iPhone with GPS app.

Perhaps I can suggest an old school solution – the equivalent of handing over a humble, dog-eared copy of the A-Z?

Having followed the debate so far I can’t really see much to disagree about. All the eloquent points and counterpoints are delivered well across multiple platforms.

Yet I gather these two haven’t actually so much as exchanged half a dozen words, despite being in the same room together at least twice.

As proponents of social media are so keen to remind us, Web 2.0 in in all its multicoloured glory is all about conversation. So sit down and have one, gentlemen.

 In my own, albeit limited experience, Scotland doesn’t have nearly enough people pushing the boundaries of Web 2.0 in the media or in business. So we could do without those who are falling out over … well, nothing really.

When I suggest you have that conversation in “real time”, I mean put away your iPhones, leave the Flips in their cases and don’t bother booting up the supersleek laptops.

Just enjoy a good, old-fashioned blether across a pint or a mug of coffee. Hopefully for the rest of us, you’ll  find there isn’t that much to disagree about after all.


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