So much work has gone into planning the conference over the last couple of weeks, I thought it was time I let you all know where we are. It’s really important that you let me know how we are going. The main themes of this conference have after all, been decided by you guys.

The date is set for 20th September this year. The Online Influence Conference is its name, and content is its game. This is not about how to set up a Twitter account, or how to put a picture into your Facebook Timeline. We’re not going to be talking about setting up your social media, rather we think, you already have that nailed. This is all about the next steps. How to use it, what those uses might be. How you create influence online, because that’s what most businesses are looking for, and what that influence might look like. Basically summarised, its being about the MESSAGE not the MEDIUM. (Though we won’t be ignoring the medium either)

The full brand is ‘Oi! The Online Influence Conference: Social Media Content Strategies to Drive your Business’. We’ll have a website up shortly and a Twitter account has been set up, which you can follow now, though it’s not active quite yet on @Oiconf and we’ll be using #Oiconf to aggregate traffic and chatter about the event. It’ll have a Tweet Wall live at the event too, so that you can see just what everyone is saying about it.

And most importantly, we have an almost full line up of red-hot speakers for you to enjoy and learn from. I can’t believe the quality of the people who have volunteered their time to give to this event. That’s right, every single speaker has waived their normal (not inconsiderable!) fee. I have been absolutely blown away at the generosity this event has benefited from so far.

In no particular order, the social media intelligentsia confirmed are:

Marc Webber

Marc Webber: A multi award-winning digital media editor and consultant with over a decade of experience in new media. As Head of Content for, he led a team that doubled traffic to the website and developed video services for the UK’s biggest commercial broadcaster. As Assistant Editor of The Sun online, Marc built its video offering from scratch, winning an AOP award in the process. He was also in charge of the site’s breaking news service.

He is currently advising businesses big and small on their digital and social offering. Recently he has led the rebuild of Ulster TV’s site ( and worked with Reader’s Digest and Paddy Power.

Marc is currently a member of a Welsh Government committee looking into the use of digital media in the Welsh Language and is on S4C’s New Media Forum Born in Bridgend, Marc started out as a reporter for Red Dragon Radio and the Port Talbot Tribune. He is perhaps the only Welsh-speaking supporter of Dundee United FC!

Pippa Davies

Philippa Davies: A business psychologist, founder of a company called Voiceworks, with clients like NBC, BBC, Channel 4 and UK Sport. When John asked for help to integrate social into the main business they turned to Philippa. She has coached Channel 4 commissioners for ‘Right To Reply’, BBC producers on use of feedback following the Hutton report and helped launch GMTV and has trained news readers for ITV.

On top of that she wrote and presented ‘Speak Up’ for Radio 5, worked on ‘Get A Life’ on ITV Wales, ‘Tomorrow the World’ on BBC 1 and ‘Transformed’ on the ITV network. Pippa also advised on ‘Tribal Wives’ ‘Tribe’ ‘Coal House’ ‘Snowdonia Farmhouse’ ‘When Teenage Meets Old Age’ and ‘Big Welsh Challenge’ (BBC 1, BBC2, BBC Wales).

Founder of Voiceworks a communication consultancy  specialising in financial, retail and media sectors. Pippa’s clients include Apax Partners, Arup,  Barclaycard, BBC, Channel 4,  Coutts Bank, John Lewis Partnership,  Royal College of Surgeons, Selfridge, Thomas Cook. She has designed and delivered influencing and impact skills programmes and media skills. Her highlights include advising Sir John Major when he was PM in No 10 and designing and delivering campaign training for the Labour party 1997 campaign. And most recently she has taken up coaching UK Olympics Coaches and Performance Directors.

Emma Meese: Emma is a highly motivated journalist, with 15 years experience, who is passionate about Social Media. In her current role with the BBC, she combines using social media to source and report newsworthy stories with being a respected social media trainer.

She has guest lectured to journalism and business students, amongst others, about how powerful social media is as a journalistic tool. With a proven track record as a current affairs producer/director for a number of years. Having filmed undercover on numerous occasions she is used to working under pressure. As a Final Cut Pro certified editor who also self shoots award-winning films, Emma has a passion for telling stories in a creative way. She also runs one-day courses teaching the iPhone as a powerful journalistic tool.

She has worked in the BBC news room and has been involved, as a producer and director with a whole host of hard news shows on both sides commercial and BBC television such as Heno, The UK’s worst series, Working lunch, Week in Week out and X-ray.

Currently Emma is a core social media trainer for the BBC College of Journalism in London – running courses on Social Media and Internet Tools, Twitter (basic and advanced) Facebook Timeline, Social Media for Community Managers – and also devises and runs workshops for BBC Community partners externally on the above and creating online video content. She has also recently trained companies and organisations across Arts & Business and the third sector as well as editors and staff across many titles from Immediate Media magazines and facilitated workshops for NUJ Training Wales amongst others.

And on top on all that, unbelievable Welsh talent, as I’ve already mentioned in previous posts, we have the amazing James Cridland, and keynote speaker, world-renowned social media and marketing consultant, author, lecturer, and Adage magazine power blogger Mark W Schaefer.

Wow, that’s the first time I’ve written that down on one page, and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. I have the advantage of most people I think, in that I have seen these guys in action or have a had the opportunity to talk about the conference with them face to face, and I can promise you that these guys will blow you away.

Thats not all! We also have a roster of some of the leading social media experts in Wales who will be hosting each table at the event to ensure you get the most from the experience, and a fantastic MC to make sure the whole thing goes smoothly. Full details and prices etc will be available on the Oiconf website really soon, keep your eyes peeled for the announcement, and make sure you get in quick! There is international interest in the conference and I don’t expect the 150 or so places to last very long!

Finally, for now, I have to thank the people who are most heavily involved in helping me to make this happen. There’ll be a future blog listing everyone that’s helped, from Australia, Switzerland and all over, but in the meantime, the main Oiconf supporters are Russell Britton, who is working wonders with the brand ID, Joel Hughes, who makes ace websites (stand by for a guest post from Joel soon) Ben Cook, who is helping with the logistics, Pippa Davies, part muse and creative partner in crime, Tanya Brookes Dowsett, another creative force of nature who allows me to riff off her almost daily, Nick Miles, who’ll be building the event for us and Gareth Davies, a very talented marketing director who is helping me to navigate the many and various options we are fortunate to find ourselves contemplating.

I know there are others but I need to get to the end of this post some time real soon! So look out for a full roll call soon.

Now, please, spread the word. This is a fantastic opportunity for us in Wales, and the quality of the event is self-evident. There’ll be more updates soon too, so keep coming back to the blog.

And one last thing, please please PLEASE, let me know what your thinking of what we’ve got going so far – its our event, shaped by us. So speak up. Leave a comment below, tweet me @radiojaja or give me a shout. “Oi” will do!

  1. thisisbencook
    thisisbencook says:

    Great post Tony – on behalf of the others, we’re equally as excited to be involved in pulling this together and I’m looking forward to seeing that excitement carry through to a great buzz on the day itself *look out for that live Twitter wall guys*.

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Hi Andrew, just wait a little bit longer for the website to be launched – the option to buy tickets will be on there. Not sure on pricing at the moment, but I am hoping to do an early bird of around £50. There is no intention for this event to make money, so while I need to charge, it doesn’t need to be an awful lot!
      Look out for the updates on Twitter

  2. Peter Watson
    Peter Watson says:

    Dear Tony, OI!

    Not seeking to be a ‘visible voice’ at Oi, I’d still feel remiss – even irresponsible – to let the opportunity, to contribute a few thoughts, evaporate with the mists-of-time.

    With this in mind, it seems that some of our recent exchange is strongly apropos, and so may be of some added-value to your not-inconsiderable role as facilitator.

    I’d like therefore to submit – for you to use verbatim, edited, or simply sentence-sampled, my review of a topical book written by a friend from the days of the First Human Unity Conference, in Warwick, 1984, which was similarly designed to address disharmony at its roots. Dr Bill Isaac’s book addresses industrial disharmony – management – v – unions, and more – from a uniquely new approach, by learning to use more effectively our latent ability to think and reason together, instead of seeking to win by argument alone. Over to Bill, please see attachment.

    Tony, is there a way to add an attachment, or a zipped file? It’s a bit long-winded to include as a comment, but I’ll gladly do so space-permitting.

    Kind regards, Peter

    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Hey Peter! I’d think the best way forward would be to email me directly? perhaps we can have a long form conversation that way, and then if relevant, bring it back to the blog in a different form as appropriate?

      My email address is [email protected]

      all the best

    • Scott Hindle
      Scott Hindle says:

      Peter, I think you’ll find the First Human Unity Conference was actually in 1983, in Warwick. I was there at the time doing summer school with the OU during my first year of study.


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  2. […] book after I heard he was coming to Wales (in fact, to my hometown Newport!) to speak at the Online Influence social media conference planned for September and it sounds like a top event. You can read more details about it from Tony […]