Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Dublin Web Summit emerges from MiCandidate’s Ashes

October 7th, 2009 · 5 Comments · Social Media

It was announced yesterday that MiCandidate has been acquired in a management buy out for ‘an undisclosed sum’ by one of it’s former directors Paul Healy. Former directors Paddy Cosgrave and Oisin Hanrahan are moving to other projects.  No idea where the fourth director has gone. You may of course remember the focus of this blog and others on MiCandidate and it’s appearance during the Local and European Election this year.  You can find my posts on the subject here and there are also posts by myself and Mark Coughlan on and by Alexia Golez and of course the videos of the blogger launch of the product.

So back to the buy out

Irish political media start-up, MiCandidate, has been acquired in a management buyout for an undisclosed sum. MiCandidate organises political media into a single platform, compiling information on politicians policies, background and experience. That information is then syndicated to news websites across Europe. MiCandidate launched on the back of the 2009 European Elections.

The back of? No mention in the press release of all the local councilors/candidates who were harassed during the Irish local election to sign up.  No mention either of how many candidates who bought the full package got elected.  Or any mention of the fact that RTE and the Irish Times didn’t enter into business with them either.

Curiously enough Micandi, as I affectionately call them, seem to have missed the German, Norwegian, Portuguese and Greek Elections which have all taken place since June but in the buy out announcement say they are focusing on national elections throughout Europe in the years to come.

Scheduled national elections in Europe in 2010 include the UK, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Latvia. The Irish General Election is scheduled for May 2012.

By the way I still get contacted about MiCandidate even now with former staff contacting me recently about their difficulties with the company.

One of the projects to emerge from the ashes of MiCandidate post ‘buy out’ by a former director is the event previously known as Digital Democracy which claimed to be

‘an international conference on the technologies and trends that are reshaping the worlds of campaigning, governance, democracy and elections. Leading thinkers and practioners [their spelling] from across Europe will discuss the latest changes and challenges, trends and technologies, lessons and opportunities in an interesting and interactive environment. The first annual conference will be held in Ireland, in Trinity College’s new state of the art Science Gallery on Friday 30th October.’

Last week Digital Democracy relaunched as the Dublin Web Summit with a new website, same date, new venue, new partners and lower prices.  Mark Little has also come on board as the MC for the conference – the newest Old Media user of New Media will be a draw to the event of that there is no doubt. I hope he’s done his homework on the history of the event and it’s ancestors!

Gone are the pitches about reshaping the worlds of campaigning, governance, democracy and elections.  The ticket prices have been slashed by at least 66% and now the organisers say that the event is

about helping you learn from the very best in the business. Whether you are starting out or run a large company and have an interest in getting the most out of your online presence then this Summit is for you.This is the first time that this many top experts have converged on Dublin for a single conference. It’s a very real opportunity for business people, and for organisations in the citizen and public sectors, to question, learn and benefit from a whole range of leading figures in the online space.?

Now given that there have been a whole load of similar conferences, seminars, training days  (many for free) which have discussed these issues for people in business, political parties, NGO’s and none of the above the event is not a first. How a one day event with a whole host of mainly international speakers is going to be able to teach people practically about social media, twitter, facebook, blogging, SEO and analytics in a few hours I don’t know.  But maybe that is what the partner organisations are hoping to do in the business they may pick up on the day?

There are no Irish bloggers (business or political or otherwise) speaking during the day and I don’t see names from any of the leading PR companies or agencies I’m aware of that run online divisions.  Where are the names of any people working with Irish NGO’s or brandnames who have successfully used social media to progress their cause?

There are big names speaking who are involved in some Irish companies, and of course people who head the online divisions of Sky, the European Parliament, the London Independent, an International Twitter Expert (!!!) and of course speaking spots reserved for the people involved in the events partner organisations, The Communications Clinic and Digital Marketing Institute.  Twenty speakers in one day?  Many of these speakers were signed up to come speak at the original event.  Many of whom I’m sure would be very interesting speakers from their perspectives in media, advertsing, business and politics. (Iain Dale the sole blogger (politics and football) from the UK is a great speaker.)   However now the event has changed ….changed utterly.

Cheap tickets were hawked on twitter yesterday to get the ball rolling (and retweeting!) and I’d say they are hoping to have several hundred punters present and will get them also.

Regular readers will know I’m tired of all this magic wand waving stuff around ‘social media tools’ where people are not encouraged to learn themselves or from others or just to sit back and read a bit before they jump in.  Big promises are made that money can be made or votes obtained without truly imparting the knowledge because it can’t be handed over at a summit in a day.

Fools and their money are soon parted they say however there is enough snakeoil being sold that will have people queuing out the door thinking they can make a fast buck, get the biggest number of followers on facebook, shout the loudest on twitter and pay someone to write their blogs for them.

When I was told about the relaunch last week the news came at the same time as Markham Nolan’s excellent script and animation on Social Media Guru’s.  It’s heavy on the f words but so worth watching.



5 Comments so far