I had the great pleasure of speaking at the annual MindTrek event in Tampere, Finland. I have many stories I have to tell from the event, including the wonderful keynote delivered by my close friend and former colleague from my Nokia days, Lauri Kivinen – who has a few months ago left Nokia’s top management to take over the job of CEO of the Finnish national broadcast company, Yle [Yleisradio] – which is kind of like the BBC of Finland, they run four TV channels and many radio channels and of course do the full digital suite of services that a modern broadcaster would do in an advanced member nation of the information society. Lauri’s presentation was very revealing and insightful and I will write about it separately when I get a moment.

But what I have to celebrate today is a true world’s first moment. The MindTrek event likes to surprise its audience with world’s first types of digital innovations [and they had several awards ceremonies of major Finnish and international digital industry awards as well]. The event that is a major milestone for all who share our philosophy is the print publication of the world’s first full novel [i.e. book] that was completely co-authored by volunteers on Twitter.

The 143 page book, entitled ‘Todellisuudesta Toiseen’ [From Reality to Another] was edited and put together by a team of collaborators Esa Nikkila, Ville Haaraoja, Antti Vuento, Einari Stylman, Sauli Rusanen and Mikko Karppi. The actual story comprises of 1016 individual tweets by 39 Twitter members [out of a total submission set of 2,455 tweets] and obviously the whole book is in Finnish, so it doesn’t really help me to quote parts of it here, ha-ha.

So first, as a fellow author, my great congratulations to Esa, Ville, Antti, Einari, Sauli and Mikko! A first novel is a major milestone in any aspiring author’s writing career, and I share in your delight of seeing your project finally in a finished printed book and wholeheartedly congratulate the team [as well as all Twitter contributors who sent material to the book].

Secondly, being now a massively addicted Twitter users – this is ultra cool as a Twitter phenomenon, and I hope it will get the deserved attention in Twitter – and the concept is rapidly adopted in other languages and on other social networks too.

And from Alan and me representing the ‘Communities Dominate Brands’ mindset, my best thanks and best wishes, this is yet another case of evidence that nobody is as clever as everybody, as Alan so aptly puts it – this [meaning user-generated content i.e. social networking] is the ‘defining aspect of humanity for the next 20 years’ as Google CEO Eric Schmidt says. You have produced a commercial literary contribution, in a legacy mass media channel [print] while using one of the newest and youngest members of the social networking digital media space, Twitter. Brilliant! 

I do think this is one pioneer in what will become a very ‘normal’ way of collaborating among authors in the very near future. And once again Finland gave us another commercial use of social networking. Wonderful. This alone, made the whole trip to MindTrek worth the long haul travel and I have many more stories to tell about the event as well. Did I ever say I love my job? [Yes, you did. And I would not have it any other way… Ed.]