lee bryant: object centred sociality

Lee Bryant is giving a presentation about Motor Addicts, a project his team at Headshift has been involved in creating and implementing. Their process involved working very closely with the client (Castrol) and their employees, sharing everything (including the process outline) on a wiki, then rolling out an “Insiders Blog” early on to test ideas, tone of voice, etc.

What did they find? People preferred community over branding, and content over look and feel.

Early in the presentation, Bryant mentions a conversation he had recently with Jyri Engeström about the notion of object centred sociality. The idea, at least according to Bryant’s quick on-stage distillation of it, is that people need to have something in common to bring them together, and objects such as photos on flickr or videos on youtube are the objects that help to do that. It is, says Bryant, much easier to have a conversation around small pieces of content like this than out of thin air.

I think Bryant would agree that the best way to build community, online or off, is to give people something easy – an object or piece of content – to talk about. It’s a shame that the mass networking sessions earlier today didn’t use that approach…

[Website forBlogs and Social Media Forum 2, London, 05 June 2007.]


  1. Hi Robin – interesting point. I’d be really interested to hear how you think we could have used that approach. What sort of objects would have worked for you?

  2. Hi Lloyd. I’m not sure. I’m not very good at group activities, in particular forced ones. It’s not that I’m not sociable or shy, I just don’t like anyything that comes across as a cajoled group activity. Having a simple piece of content, most likely an image, would really help me get over that. But nothing concrete by way of advice from me I’m afraid…. Many people, by the way, did appear to really enjoy and get value from your activities.

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