Leveraging the wisdom of the crowd

Late on Saturday night TV I caught a live performance from Pet Shop Boys, who were headlining one of the stages at Glastonbury. Not only did they go down incredibly well – for the impartial listener, at least – but they ended up trending on Twitter, which must have been a first. Reading the public reaction to their set reminded me of a conversation Laura and I had the other week.

While I was talking about mobile phones, innovation and FrontlineSMS to an audience at National Geographic (who were largely new to the subject), our UK-based team were helping out at a mobile event in London, primarily with a crowd who knew a whole lot more about what it was and what it did.

Pet Shop Boys always put on a great show, but what was striking about Saturday was that this wasn’t their usual crowd. These were people who would unlikely ever go to a Pet Shop Boys concert. It was a smart move – and a brave one – to take their electronic theatrical stage show to a totally new audience at a cult summer festival dominated by rock bands.

Taking the social mobile message outside of our own tight-knit community is something I’ve always been keen on, which is why I enjoyed writing for PC World. For me, this is where the real potential lies – with people who have never considered using mobile, let alone attend a mobile conference. Infinitely more grassroots non-profits have little sense of what the technology can do for them than do.

Most don’t even know they should be looking. And that needs to be fixed.

Become a FrontlineSMS icon!

One of the more fun things about sharing our work at conferences, workshops and ICT4D gatherings is witnessing the reaction to our FrontlineSMS “\o/” logo. There’s something of a story behind this, and the badges that we take on the road with us have been enthusiastically gobbled up in their thousands. I will never again doubt the brilliance of the talented people at Wieden+Kennedy.

We’ve also been getting reactions from users in the field, and among our supporters, in the shape of photographs. We’ve got a growing collection, and we’ll soon be updating our Flickr page with the latest additions, and plan to make a short video of the best of them.

Talking of videos, hats off to @chrissiy for spotting this great Mercedes SLS advert which could, with the exception of the final few seconds, be the perfect advertisement for FrontlineSMS.

If you want to join in the fun, send us photos of you, your family or friends doing the \o/ and you could be a star in the first genuine FrontlineSMS video! Just email them to videopics [at] frontlinesms.com and we’ll do the rest. And if you want to take it a little further, how about trying some fun photos with the FrontlineSMS:Medic and FrontlineSMS:Credit logos? \+/ and \$/?

Waking up in unexpected places

There’s a school of thought which asserts that our background and family upbringing largely define us, rather than our biology – a theory known more widely as the nature vs. nurture debate. Although elements of this apply to all of us to varying degrees, sometimes I sit back and wonder how on earth I got to where I am today. I don’t just mean geographically, but spiritually, too.

As a child, this is where I spent most of my early years. Twenty-five years of it, to be precise. I often stop and ask myself – how did I get from here…

… to here?

One thing I do know. Whatever happened, and whatever happens next, we should never forget where we came from. Or the person we once were.