Meetings centered on social health are becoming popular. Everyone wants a piece of the pie as the demand for face-to-face dialogue grows. But this raises an interesting question: Who owns the social health conversation? In other words, who decides where, when and what to talk about? And who speaks? Who, after all, is in charge?
Online no one owns anything. Everyone has the stage. Your platform and reach are determined by your credibility. But the relationships and power positions that evolve in the virtual world may not extrapolate to the real world. There are different forces in play.
Offline, ownership of the message is more complex. Meetings need physical space, podiums and perspiring pitchers of ice water. Someone has to put the money down to rent the space and let everyone know it’s going to happen.
And the reality is that in an 8-hour meeting only a limited number of people can stand at the podium. An agenda must be set. Those who set that agenda control the direction of the conversation during that brief moment in real time. So meetings are biased by those who create them. There’s no way around it.
As the online health conversation grows and extends to the real world, expect ego and politics to become more evident in the struggle for attendees.
Who will run the most relevant meeting for social health? Will there ever really be a SXSW of health? Is TED the
model? Does the social health consumer only want unconferences? And who are the real thought leaders in this space?
In the end the market is smarter than the crowd. I believe remarkable, innovative content and format will determine where the smartest people convene offline.