The Social Technologist

I’ve  known Christian Payne on twitter for a few years as @Documentally, the grandson of @granumentally and the father of @minimentally . We finally got to meet at the Do Lectures. Over  beers in the barn, I realised I had a lot to learn from him. This man wields social media like a freakin light saber. Never seen anything like it. Christian started off as a photojournalist and has never looked back, from vlogging for the British Council in Pakistan, to working alongside Reuters with  political leaders, to documenting the plight of Iraqi refugees for the UN. Using every medium out there, he describes himself as “eclectically equipped”. This Do Lectures storify is a great illustration of the richness of his storytelling.

THE LESSON: I feel I should answer these questions twice. Once for those who have kids and to whom I’ll not sound like a cliche and once again for those that don’t. I thought after watching my first child born it would be hard for me to be amazed at anything else. I was wrong. Last week I witnessed the birth of my second child and it was as if I my eyes had been temporarily taken out and scrubbed clean. Any filters I had been growing over the last couple of years had once again been removed and my appreciation of things was once again set to “Wow!” The biggest lesson I learned in this last year was that you never need to cease to be amazed at the world around you and this amazement reflects in everything you do.

THE BURNING QUESTION: I’m a Social Technologist. That’s a pretentious title I’ve settled on in order to package my skill set. Mobile media making, blogging, talking, teaching, are all things I do to earn a crust. For me to survive as a freelancer, to keep innovating, I’m armed with all kinds of questions. I ask one question more than any other. What’s the next big thing? This burning question has stayed the same ever since I decided to diversify as a photographer. The only fluctuation is in the translation of the word ‘big”.  Big used to mean most popular or most adopted means of communicating effectively. It might still mean that, but more importantly, values like ‘sustainable’ and ‘ethical’ are being added to the mix. I share, advise and educate in all forms of social technology and as a result am responsible for the message I propagate. When I look for the next big thing, I’m also aware that people in my field can easily become advocates of the things they share.

THE INSPIRATION: Apart from the birth of my little girl, the most inspiring thing I have seen this year was the virus like wonder that emanated from the Do Lectures. I go to hundreds of conferences but none came close to that spontaneous gathering in West Wales. You will see a number of articles online trying to fathom what it is that makes the Do Lectures so special as a meeting of minds, a sharing of ideas and a call to action. It’s quite simply the people. The journey they have been on and the journey they undertook to get to that place, at that time.

Inspiring people inspiring people. Who then headed out on their separate paths to do the same.


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