The latest edition of Social Media Week reached its grand finale. Hosted in 11 cities around the world across five continents, this Social Media Week was truly a remarkable event. More than 30,000 individuals physically attended the global conference, consisting of 1,000 events and over 2,500 speakers. This Social Media Week reached so many parts of the world, yet everyone involved connected to one other through our global theme, “The Future of Now: Always On, Always Connected” in many ways.
In this theme, we all explored how communication technology unites us, relays news equally with opinion, transports us to worldwide events, and shrinks distances between our relationships. We’re experiencing each other and events around us that we’ve never before been able to access and see unfold in real-time. From panels with industry leaders and innovative masterclasses, to interactive work-pods and celebratory parties, let’s look back at September’s Social Media Week highlights.
This year’s roster of speakers brought industry leaders to the center stage. We listened to Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy Group UK’s Vice Chairman, discuss new, less asymmetrical exchanges between buyers and sellers via social media. In Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel explained the city’s relationship with its tech scene, and how its attracting creatives to the Windy City. Rome’s Stefano Cigarini, Ferrari’s SVP Entertainment and Events, offered advice on storytelling in a social context, especially as a way to unite multiple communities. And in Sydney, Michelle Lucia of MTV Australia explored how social media has redefined the music industry, and changed the way artists release their music for fans.
Our global partner, Microsoft, shared a desire with Social Media Week to explore, understand, and maximize new levels of connectivity, bringing unbelievable installations and innovative content to the global conference. In London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, and Sydney, Microsoft’s OneStudio allowed attendees to learn from creative experts and influencers about stop-motion animation, short video production, Lumia and Surface devices, and much more. Perhaps the most talked about part of Social Media Week were the Skype Pods in Los Angeles and London, which invited curious attendees to remain productive and connected throughout the week.
Some of the week’s best events from across the Social Media Week globe were accessible to anyone and anywhere through our live video feeds. Both attendees online and in-person saw a fireside chat in Los Angeles with Nancy Frates and Anthony Carbajal, advocates for ALS who discussed the power of social media to drive awareness and action behind the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. In Chicago, BuzzFeed’s Chief Revenue Officer, Andy Wiedlin, examined the science behind creating shareable content for the social web, and in Sydney, speakers from Fox Sports and Twitter TV took a deeper look into the new audience behaviours and innovations from the perspective of broadcasters, producers and the social platforms themselves.
Social Media Week also served as the global launch partner for an award-winning film called, “WEB”, which showcased in Berlin, Johannesburg, London, Miami, Mumbai, Rotterdam and Rome. The film, which chronicles children in remote villages in the Andes Mountains and Amazon Jungle gaining access to laptops and the Internet for the first time, is a poignant embodiment of our global theme, “Reimagining Human Connectivity.” The seven “WEB” events empowered attendees to discuss digital literacy and Internet access in all pockets of the world.
There was so much to talk about throughout Social Media Week, with 113,736 tweets mentioning #SMW14 during the conference. We saw futuristic Skype Pods in Los Angeles and London, special edition SMW ice cream in Sydney, branded vehicles in Rotterdam and Rome, and so many more incredible experiences. Attendees formed new relationships, sessions inspired people, and the our global community united as one for an entire week. That’s why Social Media Week exists, to connect each with each other through technology and innovation. Thank you for making it what it is — and special thanks to our Global Headline Sponsor, Microsoft, for helping make it all possible.