DC Design Talks From Robert’s Perspective

Robert CooperRobert Cooper
Interactive Creative Director
, Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

Robert leads the interactive design portion of Ogilvy’s 360° Digital Influence Group. With clients such as Ford, Snap-On tools, and Select Comfort Beds, Robert has experience in marrying the user experience of social media with well-known brands.

I left the DC Design Talks feeling creatively energized last Friday. It was great to see such an enthusiastic gathering of local, and not so local, design and developer talent in one place, rallying around the cause of creating great interactive, online solutions for their clients and maybe more importantly, each other.

Particularly interesting to me was Thomas Vander Wal’s presentation, “Coming to Terms with Sociality”. He described, with notable efficiency, what is going on out there behaviorally among the connected. Measuring the social engagement level of users for any project is important, and too frequently it is assumed that everyone is ready to dive in head first, sharing, contributing, and collaborating. There are many levels that lead to uber engagement, which Vander Wal classified as the “Heavy Contributing User”. If everyone was one of these, it would be easy to develop interactive initiatives for our clients that spread like a virus all over the planet. But as he outlined in his 45 minute, rapid-fire examination, there are a handful of stages or levels of engagement that should be considered when gauging your target audience for social media aptitude. These stages of engagement build upon each other.

Nathan Curtis- Photo Taken by Robert CooperThere are those who have been on a social media evolutionary path where they’ve become more engaged as their sense of identity was enriched through sharing, following and connecting with others. On the other end, there are others that have not yet explored the tools, may only be aware of the surface of social media through peripheral exposure via traditional media. To create the most effective social online engagement for our clients we need to recognize the position on social media evolutionary scale of our audience.

All the presenters did a fabulous job. It was a great event, and as a DC native I’m glad to see such a groundswell of activity around our interactive design community.Detail of Art Piece inspired by the Talks- Robert Cooper
Above is a detail from an art piece by Robert Cooper inspired by the Design Talks.

One Comment

  1. Jacki

    — January 12, 2010