Social Media Week, NYC 2012 Recap

Social Media Week 2012 in NYC proved to live up to its hype, and then some. In case you missed any of the action, here’s the complete recap, day-by-day, of some of the week’s most engaging sessions as well as a stellar infographic that highlights visually some of the weeks’ outcomes. 

DAY 1: Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 1 of Social Media Week NYC 2012 was literally a buzz with engaging keynotes, panels, and networking session, far too many for one person to cover. Therefore, the best SMWNYC attendee strategy, from my experience, is to pick your spots for the in-person show-ups, and cover the rest vis a vie LiveStream feed. Accordingly, I was able to hit three Day 1 sessions, hashtagging and tweeting up a #smwnyc storm along the way. Here are the highlights:

  • Managing Social Media on a Global ScaleThis first Opening Day session found hosts Syncapse andAmway discussing, debating and sharing their best practices for managing a global social media presence across multiple countries and languages, with multiple stakeholders, distributors and marketers involved. The key takeaway centered around the idea that ”social media fosters horizontal collaboration” within businesses. The speakers affirmed their tremendous support for this idea, and conceded that – while it’s an ideology that can be difficult to embrace at first – in the end is for the better good of the company.
  • Keynote: Valerie Buckingham on The Importance of Authenticity followed by Panel: Beyond Borders: Impact of Social Media in a Global EconomyHead of North America Marketing for Nokia Valerie Buckingham kicked off this noon event by focusing on the importance of authentic voice, asserting the idea that what you bring to the social media conversation can be enhanced by examples from around the social sphere. The panel that followed aimed to explore key trends, cultural behaviors and opportunities beyond American borders, especially in light of the accelerated pace of both innovation and appetite for interacting with brands in emerging markets. The key takeaway from this discussion was that – from a marketing perspective – as you move from market to market, you ought to ask yourself one question: do the digital tools you are utilizing tap into the regional social venues of interest? If so, then proceed.
  • Social Media Week’s Opening VIP Reception Hosted by Nokia: Crowdcentric, title sponsor Nokia, and SocialVibe hosted this lavishly awesome kick-off, invite-only opening party at the trendy Greenwich Village Country Club. Passed appetizers, complimentary libations from Heineken and Bulldog Gin, and – most importantly – exceptional conversation with engaged thought leaders made this the ideal way to properly kickoff the week.

DAY 2: Tuesday, February 14, 2012

There was much to love (pun intended) about the Valentine’s Day edition (Day 2) of Social Media Week NYC 2012. The events throughout the day brought attendees much of the same excitement that defined Day 1, with an array of diverse offerings to choose from. Here are some highlights from the three in-person sessions I attended:

  • Global Brand Management: Best Practices in a Social WorldHost Efficient Frontier led a panel discussion – with other key digitally-focused executives from Hyatt and Live Nation – on the challenges and best practices for maintaining a global social presence – one that is authentic, centrally governed, locally relevant, and engaging. Key takeaways from the session centered around success stories and challenges faced by each of the panelists, specifically on how to localizing content in various markets and leveraging more user-generated content (UGC).
  • Beyond the Like: Using Real People’s Real Stories to Drive Brand AwarenessMicrosoft Advertising General Manager Jennifer Creegan kicked off a jam-packed session with a discussion about opportunities that let advertisers deliver word of mouth to their target customer in an interactive, powerful, and measurable way – focusing on creativity, connection, and relevance as the key dots to connect. The ensuing dialogue continued along this path, emphasizing the fundamental belief that “we [as social advertisers] have to bring consumer authenticity into advertising – we think that’s what these ratings + reviews do.”
  • The New GhostwriterThis Hearst Magazine sponsored session focused on addressing the issues that arise when third party ghostwriters curate messaging on behalf of others, and what implications this reality has on brands that embrace social media as a means to create conversation and extend their reach. The ensuing conversation touched upon ethical concerns related to trust, authenticity, and transparency involved with ghostwriting – and addressed the convoluted question of whether ghostwriters can ever be a valuable, nuanced asset to a brand. There was no catch-all, resolute answer to this question, but the dialogue around it was both spirited and engaging.

DAY 3: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Social Media Week 2012, NYC hump-day edition continued the momentum built up during the week’s first forty-eight hours of events, featuring an exceptional keynote from Behance‘s CEO, as well as two spirited, highly interactive discussions around creating community and social engagement. Here were some of Day 3 highlights:
  • Keynote: Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, followed by GOOD Panel: Beyond Crowdsourcing: Using The Community To ReportBehance CEO, and Cornell grad (Go Big Red!), Scott Belsky kicked off the full-house session with a keynote addressing many his company’s initiatives to organize and empower the creative world to display and find talent every month. Named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business”, Scott kept packed audience compelled by sharing dynamic examples of how companies can harness their creative energy to yield the optimal output. The ensuing “Crowdsourcing” panel was a more broadly focused discussion on media’s relationship with its community – addressing media’s failures and successes to get authentic, meaningful anecdotes from its communities directly.
  • Creating community around your blogSavvy self-promoting bloggers and freelancers alike came out in droves to the quirky Gershwin Hotel to enjoy an animated and refreshingly candid debate, hosted by Blogads, addressing ways bloggers can build strong communities. The discussion benefitted from each of the panelists’ divergent backgrounds and their keen willingness to offer very specific, actionable advice to the hyper engaged audience they were speaking to. Big kudos to the bloggers at, and for a job well done.
  • A Quizzical Evening in Social Media, hosted by BuzzFeedClosing the day at JWT meant an early evening of light-hearted panel banter, a highly entertaining, rapid-fire game of Pub Quiz, and free T-shirts, food and booze to boot! Relevant thought leaders from BuzzFeed, OMD Word, GE and AdAge engaged the audience with a brief debate on how good social content is almost always surprising, unexpected, and – of course – quizzical.  The open bar and prizes that followed were just delicious icing on top of a very scrumptious #socialmediaweek cake.

DAY 4: Thursday, February 16, 2012

Penultimate Day 4 of Social Media Week NYC 2012 was an amalgamation of transmedia storytelling, social media anti-best practices, and social good discussions, all centered around the integral importance of collaboration. Here are some of the day’s highlights:

  • Collaborative Storytelling: Transmedia and Social MediaA panel of creators from Broadcastr, GMD Studios, Lina Srivastava Consulting, and host Storycode dove into discussion on how exactly the transmedia form enhances collaboration and innovation platforms, and what it means for the future of entertainment, activism, marketing, branding and business. Amidst the debate, the speakers utilized an interactive demo of an innovative digital storytelling tool to outline how social media storytelling in a variety of sectors can benefit from the practice of Transmedia.
  • How and Why We Share: The Seven Deadly Sins of Social MediaA fine group of panelists from various advertising, digital media, and publication backgrounds came together to address how social media vices and virtues drive our actions online — from cyber-bullying behaviors to blind re-tweeting and rampant over-sharing. The highly interactive conversation between the panelists and audience alike incorporated various trends, research findings and real life examples that added a layer of necessary concreteness to a largely anecdotal panel theme.
  • New Business Models to Convert Human Intent into Tangible Action (followed by free after party)The evening came to a close with a fascinating discussion – held at the very cool Brooklyn Brewery – from an expert panel addressing how new business models they have created leverage social media to unlock underutilized human intent for social good and convert it into tangible action. From living greener to hitting the gym more often, the diverse panelists from StickK, Purpose, Oceana, Opower,, and host The Mutual highlighted some very enlightening ways that social media can guide us to better lifestyle choices. The Mutual sponsored after party that followed – featuring an amazing open bar of Brooklyn Brewery drafts and enormous spread of appetizers – capped the evening off with perfection.

DAY 5: Friday, February 17, 2012

The final day of what was an exhaustingly inspiring Social Media Week NYC 2012 was fittingly characterized by informative, engaging sessions covering the LinkedInTumblr, and – of course – complimentary open bar bases. Here are the finals words from Day 5, capping off a tremendous week of activity:

  • The LinkedIn Difference: How Brands Are Building Deep Connections with ProfessionalsLinkedin Director of Eastern Region Marketing Solutions Dale Durrett led an enlightening panel discussion highlighting ways top brands are at the leading edge by marketing on LinkedIn to both businesses and consumers alike. Key takeaways from the session were that the LinkedIn space – which as of this writing has 150+ million users – is a largely untapped marketing opportunity for B2B and B2C outreach, and is ideal for companies to humanize their brands. “People buy from people!” was a tweet that was often re-tweeted during the panel, and its message is clear: with emerging tools available on the platform to carve out a significant presence, @LinkedIn truly allows brands to really add many faces to whatever they are selling through their employees.
  • Let’s Get Ready to Tumblr: Building community by reimagining and redistributing your contentIn what was surely the most cozily, “alternative” venue for a Social Media Week session – the Chinatown headquarters of start-up Record Setter – a group of panelists shared their various positions on Tumblr as a serious method for gathering and sharing information with communities. While the panelists universally agreed that millions of people are sharing more than ever on Tumblr, surely a direct reflection of the new ways in which people are engaging with entertainment, news, and fashion content, they were surprisingly hesitant to – and in fact steered clear from – endorsing Tumblr as the go-to blogging platform for brands to engage on. Until Tumblr is ready to take analytics more seriously, the look and feel advantages it provides over the WordPress platform far from outweigh the latter’s platform leg-up on its competition.
  • Social Media Week Closing PartyThe VIP invite-only closing bash of Social Media Week was characterized by much of the same Opening Party frivolities: an expansive open bar (thank you sponsors Bulldog Gin and Heineken for providing), lots of engaging conversations, and a terrific space (thank you District 36 for hosting). To top it all off, attendees were treated to music from an amazing DJ that expertly knew how to keep the party rocking all night; a memorable way all around to end what was a likewise tremendous week of activity.

Until next year folks…see you on The Twitter!


2 thoughts on “Social Media Week, NYC 2012 Recap

  1. Pingback: Stuff You May Have Missed: February 2012 « rsmithing

  2. Pingback: Stuff You May Have Missed: March 2012 « rsmithing

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