Time For Some Digital Decorum

Time For Some Digital Decorum

As anyone who attended the B&T Awards, principally sponsored by Gumtree, on Friday night would know that we had a very excited and very large crowd. The result was that they were a tad raucous from time to time throughout the event.

David Hovenden
Posted by David Hovenden

I was very pleased to open the evening with a short address, but owing to people still settling in to their seats and greeting fellow table mates one or two of the points I raised may have got lost. Several people have asked me to put an extract online so they could read what I said. And so despite my inability to stick to a script, below is a rough version of the points I made.

Tonights B&T Awards are being held on the boundary between the traditional lands of the Wangal and Gadigal clans of the Eora people and I would like to acknowledge them both as the traditional owners. I would also like to pay my respects to their elders past and present and to the Elders of other communities who may be here today.

As an Australian I value the opportunity to acknowledge country as a simple act of reconciliation and trust that the acknowledgement and respect it invokes resonates with many here today. Symbols matter. History matters.

These words were taught to me by Kim Williams, the most recent guest editor of B&T and the first since it was published by The Misfits Media Company.

Kim encourages anybody to use these words because he says that this sort of cooperation and shared purpose is seen too little in leadership positions in Australia on matters as fundamentally important to our national future as reconciliation.

I agree with his sentiments.

Recently, I’ve been invited to attend a meeting with the Communications Council and the leaders of Australia’s advertising and marketing trade media to discuss the phenomenon of anonymous commenting on websites and blogs to the detriment of the industry.

The issue has become so bad that the Comms Council decided to commission independent research into the issue.

 Everybody loves a laugh and Australians are famous for their skepticism, but when it comes at someone’s expense and behind a veil of anonymity then the opportunity that is lost constructive conversations.

Similarly a blog post that is followed by 100 comments saying “great post Trevor” is of little use to anyone other than Trevor and his feeling of self-worth.

I would argue as an industry we are missing a trick at the moment by keeping good conversations in coffee shops and meeting rooms and not as part of a broader collaboration. We have at our disposal amazing powers of communicating and collaborating, yet we are gagging that ability through fear of public ridicule and bastardry.

We need a new sense of digital decorum.

But I have faith that we can make that happen. And that’s something worth celebrating. It is certainly an undertaking we at The Misfit Media Company takes very seriously.

Tonight is a celebration on a grand scale. This year we had more than 400 entries that have been whittled down to the finalists gathered here this evening. And the size of this room ought to give you some idea as to how many people are excited about their prospects.

I’ve been around this event for many years and have been privileged to watch the presentations of the finalists many times. This year, without a shadow of a doubt in my mind, the standard of entries was simply spectacular. The work, that was turned out in the past 12 months was some of the best I have ever seen. Even in you don’t win this evening, know that your work would have won in previous years and the real winners are all of your clients. Well played one and all.

At this stage, I would also like to acknowledge all of the efforts of the judges who spent days not hours sorting through all of the entries and enjoying the presentations. To you all . . . thank you very much.

I would also like to thank our sponsors. An awards ceremony of this size with you hungry and thirsty lot is not an inexpensive venture. So thanks to our sponsors who have made this evening possible . . .

2014 B&T Awards Sponsors