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I meet a couple of great guys the other day. Steve and Paul from Coup Media. Coup Media are a Social and Mobile Agency. Here is how they describe themselves:

Coup Media – Nice guys

‘We’re a group of digital specialists, social marketers, and technologists who know all about delivering business by harnessing our increasingly social web…’

As 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 we talked it suddenly struck us. Wales is really very ‘social’ these days.


Mark Schaefer at Oiconf 1 (Photo credit: Sarah-hoss)

Paul, the terribly clever CEO of Coup, mentioned that he feels like he and his team have been beavering away between Cardiff and London for a few years and have worked pretty much in isolation – yet over the last few months, and he accepts this might be only his personal perspective, Wales has suddenly ‘caught up’.

Oi Conference was actually another case in point. Back in September we had 200 people in a room in Newport taking part in one of the most sophisticated social media conferences to ever hit the UK much less Wales. And perhaps the most amazing part of it was the sheer appetite for the information on offer that the extremely knowledgable crowd had.

We covered everything from what platforms to be on, to how to make your business ‘social’ and all sorts of stuff in between. Mark Schaefer’s keynote was at another level as he discussed online influence and social media as the great ‘democratiser’.

The audience (including the guys from Coup Media) LOVED it.

So much so we are doing it again in June next year.

The audience was engaged and questioning, they missed nothing and sucked everything on offer straight up like some voracious social media monster! And they asked for more.

So a market that a few years ago could have been accused of being a little behind the times shall we say, is asking for a social media master class delivered by some of the leading names in the industry. Mark Schaefer, global blogging super star, will be joined by people like Tom and Tamsen Webster. Tom works for Edison Research and is a Big Data expert. This is the real, technical stuff people!

Mari Smith Social Media author and speaker

As well as those guys, this appetite has brought our star guest out of California and back to the land of her upbringing. Social Media legend Mari Smith who lived in the UK for 20 years and is of Scottish heritage, is headlining our gigs, and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to consider it was the reaction of the Welsh audience that day back in September that has convinced these guys to come over.

I know Mark himself was absolutely energised by the attendees and the vibe at the event and we almost simultaneously had the same idea to bring him back, and to make Oi conference bigger and better than ever!

But there are lots of other examples of how Wales is social I think. We seem to have zoomed from getting a decent level of broadband and 3G coverage (thought there is still clearly work to do in this area) right through to the same kind of thought leadership in the social media space that is coming out of the universities teaching social media in America – arguably the hot-house of the next social media generation?

Its seems to be such a growth area here right now. From agencies like Coup to ‘one man bands’ trying to grow their own businesses through the power of the social web, to the fabulous people at the Cardiff School of Journalism who are setting up to work with the citizen journalists of tomorrow. We seem to a fantastic energy for this stuff.

Graduates from Cardiff School of Journalism

As you’ll all most likely be aware I do a lot of ‘volunteer’ consulting for SME’s especially, through this blog and face to face, and everyone wants to know about social media. From Charities to Beauty Salons everyone wants to get in on the act. We have app makers and web developers coming out of ever nook and cranny. So much is going on in Wales that I am starting to think it might actually be because its Wales?

We are an incredibly social Country, in the traditional sense of the word. We have also always been famous for our creativity and content production. From ancient bards to modern TV production companies, Wales has always been a major centre for the creative industries in the UK.

And now that ‘creative sociability’ seems to be coupled to an unquenchable thirst for this thing we call the social web. We really want to understand it and do it better. That’s not unique in itself, but is it so powerful here because we are Welsh?

Is it because we’ve always wanted to be connected to each other? And have always been connected: within our towns and villages, communities and even industries. To reach out and help people and create things and influence others is a very Welsh outlook.

On line and off line, there seems to be a tremendous energy about us at the moment wherever you are, from Cardiff to Wrexham and all points east and west.

What do you think? Am I seeing something that’s not there? Or am I underestimating the ‘social’ movement? Whats your social story?

What’s your evidence of how Wales might consider itself among the leading nations in the UK in this sector?

Let me know in the comments below, or email me directly on [email protected]

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