Social is as #ipasocial does

In the beginning, there was a report.

The report was hewn by the hands of the IPA.  It promised much.  It delivered a bit less.

There was a launch evening.  It was dark, cold and wet, for it was in January in London.


There was a presentation.  And there was a panel at the end.  And on that panel there was a Scottish fellow feeling increasingly uncomfortable as the evening progressed…

…because the report was on ‘Social Media’.  It sang the praises of social.  It claimed social would change the world.  The report would demand new thinking, new revenue models, new open approaches.

Yet it would also demand £75 per hard copy

And there was no electronic copy, no doubt because there was piracy, and sharing, and so on… things must be paid for, after all, not just shared willy nilly…

The social report was inherently unsocial.  Antisocial. 

Of course, there was an audience there too.  But it was a quiet one.  On the face of it, at least. 

A quiet audience in this day and age is no doubt quiet for one reason; they’re all talking about you.  On twitter.  There was silent, hidden uproar.


The event ended.  The audience left, to be social elsewhere no doubt; with friends, colleagues, families…

The report remained, antisocially sitting in a hypothetical cupboard somewhere.

The story could have ended there.

But then… some folk had a thought.  How do we make it social?  Or make a better version social.  Make something for people to share, spread, use, talk about, contribute to…

Those people, from across media, advertising, digital, communications, and the IPA itself, began to gather, mainly in coffee shops. 

They talked, thought, shared.  They began to build a social bonfire.  A metaphorical one, of course; coffee shops aren’t keen on bonfires.  They melt the frappuccinos.

They thought about two things;

i) what, really, is this whole social thing about, if you’re the IPA, agency or client?

ii) how do we create something based on this that’s actually social?

Then they began to write down ten principles…


…no, no, not COMMANDMENTS

PRINCIPLES; general things they believed to be true about this brave new social world.

The principles they started were as such…

1. People not consumers  –  Mark Earls

2. Social agenda not business agenda  –  Le’Nise Brothers

3. Continuous conversation not campaigning  –  John V Willshire

4. Long term impacts not quick fixes  –  Faris Yakob

5. Marketing with people not to people  –  Katy Lindemann

6. Being authentic not persuasive  –  Neil Perkin

7. Perpetual beta  –  Jamie Coomber

8. Technology changes, people don’t  –  Amelia Torode

9. Change will never be this slow again  –  Graeme Wood

10. Measurement  –  Asi Sharabi

…and now, they want your help.

Yes, you.

Next week, there will be a mass posting; each of people above will post their principle, and the initial thoughts around it, to their blogs.  Have a read, a think, and let them know what you think.

There will be one on here, linked to the others, and it’ll all be pulled together in the main IPA site too; open, social, and shared.

When the principles go up there will be debate, ideas, agreement, disagreement, revision and retraction… and you will be there, adding in interesting and provocative things to the mix.

There won’t be an easy, clean answer.  There won’t be instant harmony and dancing in the streets.

But there will be conversation, and collaboration, and it will be very social indeed…