There was quite a gathering of new media luminaries in London in early March.  Joe Rospars, Mike Slaby, Sam Graham-Felsen, Jared Cohen, Scott Heiferman from Meet-up, & Ramya Raghaven from YouTube amongst many others.

The Alliance of Youth Movements had invited them to talk about how young people are and can use the internet to diminish violence.  I was invited through the Empowering Voices Online project we are running and because it was a chance to catch up with Sam, who I met as part of the G20Voice project last year.

Some of the highlights for me were:

  • Joe Rospars telling the story of his involvement in the Obama’08 and it sounding like an episode from Season Two of the West Wing when Josh convinces Sam to join the Bartlett campaign.  Very reassuring.
  • Mike Evans talking about the work he does in some of the hotspots around the world such as Belfast getting young people from opposite sides of a divided community to play basketball together.  He did a presentation with a YouTube video of him making 99 / 100 free shots at the basketball hoop.  He’s currently working in the 1,600 murders per year city of Ciudad Juarez.  I hope he is safe.
  • Chris Sarette and Ramya Raghaven spoke about using YouTube for promoting the work done by not-for-profits.  Chris from Invisible Children showed a couple of videos including this gem from Davis .  Ramya spoke about the work she does with YouTube and her McNugget of information that YouTube’s search facility is the second most used search bar on the internet was surprising.

It was great afterwards to be invited to the US Deputy Ambassador’s residence and have a change to catch up with Sam GF.  I’ve always felt that the BSD guys must be getting a little tired of being known as the Obama New Media team.  Sure it’s been the best calling card you could want as a business, but it must take it’s toll being lorded about so much.  Sam’s now moved on from BSD to join the Alliance of Youth Movements as their Director of Strategy and Communications.  He’s got quite a job on his hands transforming the movement from a series of conferences into a year round organisation providing advice and peer support.  I wish him luck.


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