Its hard to believe the months of planning are over, the begging, borrowing and everything else-ing have come to an end. We have delivered an Oiconf to the very best of our abilities, and its time to look back and see how we did!

There is only one word to describe it as far as I am concerned – WOW! What an amazing experience. I don’t think I have ever witnesses such a warm and receptive crowd. And a top ‘line up’ that totally delivered too. There’s a goodly bit of content available online, and I’ve tried to capture as much as I can here. Its a pretty ambitious post for me so please bear with me!

All pictures are provided by the very wonderful Sarah Hoss and you’ll find them on Flickr here.

First up was Jay Cooper of Bloom, The Social Agency. Jay delivered an impactful and very high level talk on what it takes to turn your business into a social business. Its clearly no small undertaking, in fact as Jay points out, its transformational. And the content of the talk demonstrates Jays understanding of the challenges that we all face to ‘socialise’ what we do. Jay was also kind enough to provide his deck for everyone to have a look at, and you can click through this screen grab to see it all.

Jay also offered a free social check for anyone interested, and I suspect quite a few will be…

Next up was the calm composed and very professional Emma Meese (like cheese, but with an ‘M’) who had to cope with some horrendous technical problems, eventually solved by Joel ‘knight in shining armour’ Hughes – Something to do with ‘mirroring’ apparently!

Emma delivered a very practical look at how both Twitter search and Google search can be super charged to help you understand what your customers are saying. About you, and about what you do. Or even as she showed us, what they like and don’t like and think and don’t think. Very powerful stuff indeed. Emma doesn’t have slides or content as such, but feel free to contact her at Social Pop her new enterprise. I’m sure she will be able to fit you in amongst all her other projects!

Emma, Russell, Ben and Mark Schaefer

I have to say, if ever there was a surprise at Oiconf it was the gentleman that took the stage next up. Marc Webber has impeccable credentials and came highly recommended. I had not meet him before hand and he was the only one of our speaking team that I didn’t know what to expect from. But what a show he put on!

Marc Webber getting the video treatment

He started with a few well aimed gags, got some great mentions for our main sponsor Real Radio into yet more jokes and proceeded to energise the whole room with stories taken from all over about super powered content such as the now famous (in Wales as well as Ireland) Tayto crisps.

Marc went down a storm and even sounded a clarion call for a Welsh Language Twitter only to see that very thing launched later that day. Another first for Oiconf?

A quick break and we were into the talk of the fabulous Pippa Davies and a glorious hour of creativity, humour, warmth and engagement. At the centre of this hugely entertaining session that litterally had the audience in stitches at times, Pippa shared Jungian psychology and the secret to publishing an ebook in the same breath. Many times published herself, she regaled us with tales of an early and abortive pop career and her experiences at the top level of UK commerce, politics and even British Olympic sport.

Pippa’s slide are here, again click through to see them in full.

Clicking through here will also take you to the free ebook ‘Your blog voice’ offer Pippa gave to all Oiconf delegates (note offer expires 22nd Sept)

And then we had what must surely rank as one of the nicest buffet lunches ever seen at a conference as the Celtic Manor staff, brilliant all day in fairness, really shone. Lunch was served on time, quickly and with no fuss. The Chicken Pie a particular highlight as was the yogurt drink Mark mentioned during his speech!

The packed out Celtic Manor crowd at the Oiconf

Next up, one of the most polished presenters I’ve ever seen. James Cridland once again used humour to great effect, getting the laughs rolling during an unlikely riff on how social media may have powered the London Riots. Or as James pointed out, maybe not.

The very polished James Cridland

A thoroughly well prepared slide show packed full of fascinating information, James demonstrated his command of his topic with stunning insight and delicious irony in equal measure. Something of a conference super star and very busy, I felt lucky he had originally agreed to appear, and he didn’t disappoint. As far as his content goes, I recommend a visit to to check that out. He also listed a few other of his projects worth a visit, namely where you’ll find details of every sort of contact for all sorts of media and too, the website dedicated to trying to ensure our ability to trust in our tweets.

After a swift break for refreshments we were all ready for the main event as it were, Mr Mark Schaefer, Author, Global Superstar blogger and social media heavy weight, all the way from Tennessee to talk ‘Online Influence’.

And he didn’t disappoint. Greeted by rapturous applause Mark stormed through a fantastically deep and insightful presentation that took fully 90 minutes to deliver, with numerous questions at the end.

Mark implores the Oiconf audience

We learned that online influence is born of the ability some people have to ‘move’ or ignite content. One ignites ones content by having world class content in the first place of course, but also by having an aligned targeted audience that one can rely to share it.

Mark not only gave us an understanding of what that content may look like, but also case studies of what sort of people have moved content and how they did it. Most of the quetions however were reserved for the part of the talk focussing on ‘social scoring’, the sort of scoring derived through websites like Klout or Oiconf sponsor Kred. It still appears a contentious issues as the Twitter traffic demonstrated with lots of differing opinions being exchanged.

Talking of Twitter, the single fact that sums up the conference in a really nice and elegant way, is the fact that around 11am ‘oiconf’ was trending at No 3 in the UK. So much so that delegates were exchanging tips on the best way to avoid the spam we had attracted. Fortunately, the official Twitter app did a great job of filtering it all out.

I don’t know how to get storify embeded into my blog, but there are a selction of tweets from the day below, and I am really excited to see lots of other people blogging about Oiconf like here. If you have one, or know of one please let me know, I’d love to read it! Good or bad… 🙂

[View the story “Oiconf Buzz! ” on Storify]

[View the story “Oiconf Thank yous ” on Storify]

27 replies
  1. Dave Gifford International
    Dave Gifford International says:


    I am thrilled four you!

    Now, as you have asked me before, how are you going to monitize (Sp?) it?


  2. Claude Oggier
    Claude Oggier says:

    Once again well done Tony and thanks for sharing your review with us. I am sure this experience provided you lots of takeaways for the future;-)


    • Tony Dowling
      Tony Dowling says:

      Ha Ha! Sorry Mark, if I have made a mistake there, but I was certain you went 3.30 till 5, or at least almost 5pm?
      And you’ve nothing to fear on that score you had the rooms rapt attention from the first till the last!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Cardiff, ticket sales have been strong. Possibly because we did it in South Wales last year and to such a high level of success. That success was what prompted us to roll out the conference […]

  2. […] Cardiff, ticket sales have been strong. Possibly because we did it in South Wales last year and to such a high level of success. That success was what prompted us to roll out the conference […]

  3. […] ambition is huge compared to last years. Last year we had one amazing headline speaker and a host of local talent. We were in one UK city, not London, we were in Newport in South Wales. We wanted to do something […]

  4. […] ambition is huge compared to last years. Last year we had one amazing headline speaker and a host of local talent. We were in one UK city, not London, we were in Newport in South Wales. We wanted to do something […]

  5. […] the Online Influence conference (Oiconf) last year without the help of some very special people, notably, Russell Britton who helped develop the […]

  6. […] 3. Authentic Helpfulness – An idea Mark has identified as present in almost all social media success stories. Whether its brand like lego sending a little kid an impossible to get toy, or a blogger like Mark for instance, agreeing to come to Wales to appear in a social media conference for free! […]

  7. […] The first Oiconf was an amazing success. One of the reasons was that it really took its audience seriously and delivered a top quality session. There is no filler here either. Think of this as a Social Media Master Class for you as an individual and for your business. […]

  8. […] it happens, we were discussing last September’s Oi Conference. Hopefully you were there and remember Mark Schaefer and the gang that did such a good job. As […]

  9. […] details to follow as soon as we tie them up, but here are the amazing headlines! The Oiconf at the Celtic Manor in September was a resounding success – so much so that everyone involved wanted to do it again. But […]

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