The Age of Conversation 2: A Tribe of 237 Leading Change

AOC2–Double the flavor, double the fun! (quick, name that ad!)

The ever prolific Seth Godin of Purple Cow fame (yes, I’m proud to be one…moooo!) has a new book out called “Tribes” reinforcing the notion that if you give a loosely connected group a way to communicate, a leader, and an idea, entire movements can take shape with substantive outcomes. I’ll say. Welcome to the Age of Conversation...

Under the leadership of Drew McClellan and Gavin Heaton, our “tribe” of authors for The Age of Conversation book last year earned $15,000 for Variety, the Children’s Charity using social media fusions of marketing with meaning, collaborative context and solid content, which this year is doubly good.

Each contributor has donated a chapter in their field of expertise in a participatory probono effort between people around the world who had never met each other face to face. My chapter last year for AOC1 was on ethics and accountability in advertising, titled, “Mommy, why is that lady licking a beer bottle?”

This year we’re “back in black,” (cover kudos to David Armano) bigger and better working on behalf of kids internationally, more than doubling from 103 authors in 10 countries and 24 states to 237 authors in the U.S. and 15 countries…you can help us help kids NOW! This time the book expands the premise from “one conversation” split into several sub-themes under the conversational umbrella: “Why Don’t People Get It?”

And just like last time, not a penny to be earned by ANY author or editor. Not even a free book or download copy.

We’re all in this tribe for the kids. yay!

The way that Seth Godin describes the premise of HIS bookTribes is a picture perfect case study of Drew and Gavin’s Age of Conversation book creation…back when it was merely a glimmer of an idea.

As Godin blogs, “Tribe management is a whole different way of looking at the world”…describing  “permission marketing” that turns strangers into friends and friends into colleagues, customers, or cause-marketers.

That’s essentially what happened with all of us…we turned into Drew and Gavin’s “tribe.”

In the case of OUR nonprofit, Shaping Youth is a tribe of disparate voices from all walks of life, united in one simple common cause…the physical and emotional well-being of children.

That means our tribe ranges from kids, teens and youth activists to parents, educators, corporations and nonprofits using the power of media and marketing to achieve a more positive social influence…A healthier worldview.

Our Shaping Youth conversation consistently asks “Why don’t people get it” because we just don’t ‘get’ why people think profiteering should trump public health.

“We reap what we sow”…Junk in, junk out. Name your cliché…

It’s ALL valid to illustrate that conversations taking place in humanity need to go beyond hawking widgets and selling out childhood pumping vapid values into a fragile ecosystem of impressionable kids.

I’m enrolling those in our Shaping Youth ‘tribe’ to explore a media and marketing conversation about what our world would look like if we tweaked the messages into POSITIVE pursuits rather than shallow, appearance-based consumption cues and soul-eroding sexualization of wee ones that objectify and productize human beings themselves. (yah, I know, never one to mince words)

Why is The Age of Conversation so important? It’s just a book, right?

As I wrote before with the first edition (at left) this global social media movement to benefit children’s charity embraces the power of the internet today’s kids are growing up with, which parents truly need to understand.And they NEED to ‘get it.’

Blogs. Chat rooms. Forums. Social networks...all 21st century digital conversations that youth embrace as a ‘given’ when parents may still be at the inquisitive ‘huh?’ stage.

Parents must ‘get it’ to preclude any accusation of slippage into the Pleistocene era, for it’s key to open communication and being able to understand your own child! When I talk about youth’s potential to mobilize a digital dialogue in a nanosecond, I’m speaking of the exact same social media phenom that’s transpiring here for our book.

Think about it. Drew McClellan and Gavin Heaton had never met each other, lived in opposite parts of the world, and shared a few commonalities that seeded an idea…and in three months time, these agents of change brought a top quality book to market and a fully published probono project to fruition, uniting a cacophony of views and voices into a digital conversation that sparked new thinking among communicators everywhere!

Once upon a time, traditional marketers focused only on brands by scale, page-views and mass, whereas The Age of Conversation has proven that one voice, with a strong tribe can make a HUGE impact. (sometimes even inadvertently, since my chapter in the latest AOC2 is about what happens when conversations “veer off target” talking about the huge blogosphere brouhaha that landed our Shaping Youth brand in the social media viral buzz bucket totally unintentionally)

So why does “tribal influence” matter?

Shaping Youth’s grown in leaps and bounds in the two years since I started this little blog, to the point where I’m reassessing “brand” direction and next steps based on becoming “media” ourselves. (in this little Wikio top blogs snapshot, Seth’s #2 and I’m #68, but hey, I’ll take it for now, as I don’t understand how they even rank them since we’re listed/tracked under ‘business?’ Hmn…)

Again…it’s the QUALITY and passions of the tribe that create momentum for sustainable change.

As Seth Godin says, “Brand management is so 1999. Brand management was top down, internally focused, political and money based.”

Whereas tribes are the futurescape of businesses, “transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change.” I believe this wholeheartedly, look at Alex Steed…a man and a mission. (Millennials Changing America tour)

Look at Britt Bravo’s growing ‘Changebloggers’ network on ning.

Look at the traction of the hub for virtual worlds uniting educators and virtual explorers in a community hub conversation about ethics, benefits, innovation, and youth!

Look at social media gurus like Chris Brogan and Beth Kanter as the King and Queen of tribal “Twitterfluence” —both extraordinary humanists and leaders in the nonprofit sphere of new media tribal followings. Or Robert Scoble and Guy Kawasaki in the techno guru empire of influential voices changing the way we view the world…

Point is, we follow conversations. We act upon them.

We trust and believe in those we have formed community with, even among internet strangers (Facebook, Twitter, blogs) that have now become friends.

This SEO Book review of Tribes explains a lot about quality versus quantity, and why Shaping Youth has grown in voice and vision:

“Creating a tighter tribe and/or “transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change” usually leads to much more impact than trying to make a tribe bigger”…

In other words, it’s not about ‘bigger numbers’ anymore. It’s about the value and benefits of the conversation itself…going from “me to we” championing change into a mindshifting movement and social enterprise, much like with Free the Children.

Tribal action talks about viral umpf as less important than sustainable staying power, going “beyond public relations and awareness related benefits, measuring the breadth of spread of an idea is not as important as looking at the depth of commitment and interaction of true fans, who end up being the people who recruit most new members.” Yep, that about sums it up!

Similarly, Age of Conversation developed last year as a tribe of enthusiasts using word of mouth and momentum to make a difference collaboratively…

Now, it’s flourishing by bringing out many more of “the good guys” doubling in size and scope, to 237 authors from the U.S. and 15 different countries contributing to this effort…Proof positive that marketing and media can be used to expand, transform, and create new media tribes worth following!

Proud to be a part of The Age of Conversation…You can help Variety, the Childrens Charity buying the hardback, paperback or digital download here, and glean tips from the pros to use in your own life, whether the “tribe” is your family, your work environs, your nonprofit brand, or your neighborhood.

Participate. Share. Converse. Learn from each other. It’s the tribal way dating back to the very basic human life lessons and skill sets once shared person to person instead of via new media distribution channels. It’s not so different now. Playwright George Bernard Shaw once said,

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

Now, how about 237 of them?! 😉

Age of Conversation 2 At a Glance

What: 237 global bloggers from 15 different countries
Why: Generate funds for Variety, the Children’s Charity
How: Social media tools and conversational tribes that spread like wildfire
When: AOC2 launched Oct. 29, 2008, AOC1 launched July 16, 2007
Who: Authors are listed below alphabetically, writing on the general theme “Age of Conversation: Why Don’t They Get It?”

A Snapshot of Subcategories Include:

  • Manifestos
    The Accidental Marketer
    A New Brand of Creative
    My Marketing Tragedy
    Life in the Conversation Lane
    Keeping Secrets
    From Conversation to Action
    Business Models

Where? Buy it on HERE, via download, paperback, hardback to benefit Variety, the Children’s Charity (great holiday gift for board members, nonprofit pals! hint, hint!)

Age of Conversation 2 is a massive collaborative effort – here’s what you can do to help:

Author List For Age of Conversation 2: Why Don’t They Get It?

(You Can Get It HERE!)

A Adrian Ho, Aki Spicer, Alex Henault, Amy Jussel, Andrew Odom, Andy Nulman, Andy Sernovitz, Andy Whitlock, Angela Maiers, Ann Handley, Anna Farmery, Armando Alves, Arun Rajagopal, Asi Sharabi

B Becky Carroll, Becky McCray, Bernie Scheffler, Bill Gammell, Bob LeDrew, Brad Shorr, Brandon Murphy, Branislav Peric, Brent Dixon, Brett Macfarlane, Brian Reich

C C.C. Chapman, Cam Beck, Casper Willer, Cathleen Rittereiser, Cathryn Hrudicka, Cedric Giorgi, Charles Sipe, Chris Kieff, Chris Cree, Chris Wilson, Christina Kerley (CK), C.B. Whittemore, Chris Brown, Connie Bensen, Connie Reece, Corentin Monot, Craig Wilson

D Daniel Honigman, Dan Schawbel, Dan Sitter, Daria Radota Rasmussen, Darren Herman, Dave Davison, David Armano, David Berkowitz, David Koopmans, David Meerman Scott, David Petherick, David Reich, David Weinfeld, David Zinger, Deanna Gernert, Deborah Brown, Dennis Price, Derrick Kwa, Dino Demopoulos, Doug Haslam, Doug Meacham, Doug Mitchell, Douglas Hanna, Douglas Karr, Drew McLellan, Duane Brown, Dustin Jacobsen, Dylan Viner

E Ed Brenegar, Ed Cotton, Efrain Mendicuti, Ellen Weber, Eric Peterson, Eric Nehrlich, Ernie Mosteller

F Faris Yakob, Fernanda Romano, Francis Anderson

G G Kofi Annan, Gareth Kay, Gary Cohen, Gaurav Mishra, Gavin Heaton, Geert Desager, George Jenkins, G.L. Hoffman, Gianandrea Facchini, Gordon Whitehead, Greg Verdino, Gretel Going & Kathryn Fleming

H Hillel Cooperman, Hugh Weber

J J. Erik Potter, James Gordon-Macintosh, Jamey Shiels, Jasmin Tragas, Jason Oke, Jay Ehret, Jeanne Dininni, Jeff De Cagna, Jeff Gwynne & Todd Cabral, Jeff Noble, Jeff Wallace, Jennifer Warwick, Jenny Meade, Jeremy Fuksa, Jeremy Heilpern, Jeroen Verkroost, Jessica Hagy, Joanna Young, Joe Pulizzi, John Herrington, John Moore, John Rosen, John Todor, Jon Burg, Jon Swanson, Jonathan Trenn, Jordan Behan, Julie Fleischer, Justin Foster

K Karl Turley, Kate Trgovac, Katie Chatfield, Katie Konrath, Kenny Lauer, Keri Willenborg, Kevin Jessop, Kristin Gorski

L Lewis Green, Lois Kelly, Lori Magno, Louise Manning, Luc Debaisieux

M Mario Vellandi, Mark Blair, Mark Earls, Mark Goren, Mark Hancock, Mark Lewis, Mark McGuinness, Matt Dickman, Matt J. McDonald, Matt Moore, Michael Karnjanaprakorn, Michelle Lamar, Mike Arauz, Mike McAllen, Mike Sansone, Mitch Joel

N Neil Perkin, Nettie Hartsock, Nick Rice

O Oleksandr Skorokhod, Ozgur Alaz

P Paul Chaney, Paul Hebert, Paul Isakson, Paul McEnany, Paul Tedesco, Paul Williams, Pet Campbell, Pete Deutschman, Peter Corbett, Phil Gerbyshak, Phil Lewis, Phil Soden, Piet Wulleman

R Rachel Steiner, Reginald Adkins, Richard Huntington, Rishi Desai, Robert Hruzek, Roberta Rosenberg, Robyn McMaster, Roger von Oech, Rohit Bhargava, Ron Shevlin, Ryan Barrett, Ryan Karpeles, Ryan Rasmussen

S Sam Huleatt, Sandy Renshaw, Scott Goodson, Scott Monty, Scott Townsend, Scott White, Sean Howard, Sean Scott, Seni Thomas, Seth Gaffney, Shama Hyder, Sheila Scarborough, Sheryl Steadman, Simon Payn, Sonia Simone, Spike Jones, Sreeraj Menon, Stanley Johnson, Stephen Collins, Stephen Landau, Stephen Smith, Steve Bannister, Steve Hardy, Steve Portigal, Steve Roesler, Steven Verbruggen, Steve Woodruff, Sue Edworthy, Susan Bird, Susan Gunelius, Susan Heywood

T Tammy Lenski, Terrell Meek, Thomas Clifford, Thomas Knoll, Tim Brunelle, Tim Connor, Tim Jackson, Tim Mannveille, Tim Tyler, Timothy Johnson, Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Toby Bloomberg, Todd Andrlik, Troy Rutter, Troy Worman

U Uwe Hook

V Valeria Maltoni, Vandana Ahuja, Vanessa DiMauro, Veronique Rabuteau

W Wayne Buckhanan, William Azaroff

Y Yves Van Landeghem

Age of Conversation On Shaping Youth

How It All Began: Drew, Gavin, and a Vision

Age of Conversation: eBook for Variety the Children’s Charity (4-07)

Launch of AOC: A Youth Social Media Primer (7-07)

The Age of Conversation Goes Ka-Ching! Using Social Media for Change (9-07)

Using the Age of Conversation For Social Good (3-08)

Visual Credits: Lead graphic via fellow AOC2 author  and new Facebook friend Luc Debaisieux of MindBlob out of Brussels, Belgium; and thanks to Kirstin Gorsky’s alphabetical author list. Drew & Gavin, our illustrious editors deserve our ongoing wishes, link love, and heartfelt thanks for their tenacity, babysitting, and patient coordination of 237 creative souls.



  1. Wow, great post, Amy!

    I agree, this is a great year end gift for board members. And with concise, well written chapters, it is easy to dip into when you have a spare moment (let’s put that cognitive surplus to work).

  2. Hi Amy!

    Thanks for such a great comment and also what a great blog and site you have!

    nettie h.

  3. and what do you think abnout ags crisis in Russia?

  4. amazing post))

  5. Good night, bloggers =)

  6. WhereI can to find blogs on this topic?

  7. Click the links above to take you to the main sources! Or google ‘Age of Conversation 2’ —Also, you can check the feeds for BuzzFeed, Technorati, WP, etc. to have all blogs mentioning it in one list…Hope that helps! 🙂

  8. It’s hard to understand..

  9. It needs better organization, I’ll grant you, but hard to understand? Nah…that part is pretty clear. Can you elaborate?

  10. So nice!

  11. Oh, it’s true, I know!

  12. Super! I’ll make similar post in my blog

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