Lively, informative and pacey, #Socialintel14, the Social Intelligence Summit 2014 (8 October, London), saw “digitalista” passion (think fashionista only digital) that was palpable and convincing, although I remain convinced that digital is only a part of solution despite what the evangelists would have you believe.

Still there is no doubt that the world is changing. “Digital advertising can be better,” observed vice president of BuzzFeed Europe, Will Hayward (@billyhayward). You’re damn right it can! Down with the banners and, as Hayward suggested, let’s get back to the principles set out by the forefather of advertising, David Ogilvy – advertising should match what people expect from the environment in which it appears and it shouldn’t be disruptive. We’re talking about earned versus paid-for media here, and a far more intuitive and engaging approach. Even more exciting is the prospect that “organisations and brands can actually ‘become the media’ if willing to put in the hard work” a point emphasised by Philip Sheldrake, managing partner at Eular Partners (@Sheldrake).  

Presenting an interesting analogy around a cholera-spreading water pump in 19th Century London, Bayer’s Jessica Federer (@jjfeds) talked about John Snow’s use of datapoints then – observing how the deaths connected to pinpoint the source of the infection – and the way in which applying this philosophy in digital can achieve social intelligence. “The challenge is that everyone is mapping their own data and we need to pull together,” she said. 

To get more tricks on how to glean social intelligence from digital data you can read the rest of Carys Thomas Ampofo’s (@carysampofo) blog here