Like social media itself, the Social Media Week conference has evolved to worldwide adoption; from scores of people gathered in ad hoc New York locations -- conference rooms at Nielsen or the old Razorfish -- to multi-day meetings at the Sheraton in New York, the Broad Stage in Santa Monica and even the Movenpick Hotel in Nairobi. Toby Daniels, the Founder and Executive Director of Social Media Week, has grown as well -- from work in web development to developing this hub of knowledge and connections. For Episode 32 of Insider InSites, I spoke with Daniels on the 10th anniversary of the conference. We started by first looking back at the industry of social media in 2009 ... "when Facebook already had hundreds of millions but not its current billions of users, the energy was optimistic and people were also aiming to use it to create a positive impact on the world." We fast forward to how now, as Daniels describes it, "we're obviously in a really interesting place -- at an inflection point where people's relationship to social media has shifted."
Here's a topline of takeaways from the full version of the podcast, which is available here, but please subscribe and listen anywhere you get your podcasts: Spotify, iHeartRadio, GooglePodcasts, Apple, Stitcher and TuneIn.
But, don't miss it all because as Daniels notes, "Now, in 2019, there's never been a more important time for us to come together and convene to tackle some of the most pressing issues about the role of social media in our lives and the opportunity it presents us as marketers." Plus, he made us a very generous offer: Get a $100 discount off the price admission to the 2019 New York (April 30-May 2) or Los Angeles (June 12-13) conferences with promo code MediaVillage100.
In addition to Social Media Week events in more than 20 countries, the New York and Los Angeles versions alone have diverse speakers that hail from the publishing side -- like CNN and HBO -- to the agency and brand side, with heads of marketing and social for Fender to Oreos, R/GA to GroupM. Daniels smiled when I mentioned the draw of keynoters like Seth Godin and speakers like Bonin Bough and Cindy Gallop -- his "social media OGs" that have participated from the beginning.
Like the industry's evolution, Daniels' own interests and experience foretold why he'd be drawn to create such a conference for such a medium. "I did my graduate thesis in relationship marketing, which was really just looking at kind of the role of technology and its impact on marketing and in particular technologies," he recalled. "Then I moved into web development ... including building products for the education space. But I was always interested in the role of technology in enabling us as human beings to connect and communicate." Now, along with Daniels, the thousands that attend the conference weeks are interested in understanding our shifting relationship with technology and the positive impact social media can have.
Daniel's voice sounds deferential in describing the theme for this year's conferences: that with great influence comes great responsibility. "It speaks to this idea that we are all storytellers, we are all creators of content," he said. "If you look back over the last 10 years, we've been afforded this extraordinary opportunity to be able to reach and engage not just millions but in some cases billions of people around the world. Whether you're an individual storyteller, a brand or publisher, or even one of the platform companies, you have a responsibility today in regard to the content that you put out into the world or responsibility in terms of how that content gets distributed. Because we are a product of the stories that we are told; we are a product of the content that we consume. It shapes who we are and ultimately how we evolve as human beings, so it's important that we recognize that responsibility."
Listen as we also discuss in Episode 32 of Insider InSites:
Enter the code MediaVillage100 for $100 off the New York or Los Angeles 2019 Social Media Week pass.
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