8 Ways to Tackle Tech’s Biggest Challenges at SMWNYC



Our 10th annual event will explore the tenuous relationship between community and individualism—and where marketers fit in.


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The past several months have been a trying stretch for tech. As the platforms reflect on their role in creating an increasingly isolated and divisive world, we stand at the precipice of an important moment in our evolution as an industry.

Will we cower to the forces that threaten to pull us apart, or can we band together to revive our mission to bring people closer together?

Join the most astute minds in business and culture at SMWNYC (April 24-27) as we tackle the difficult conversations that will ultimately dictate the future of our relationship with technology—and with each other.

Get to know our global theme and browse a sample of what’s in store below:

The Zero-Sum Race: How Technology Hijacked Our Attention & How We Can Stop It

In early 2018, tech pioneers banded together to form the Center for Humane Technology. We bring the new organization’s Head of Storytelling and Content, Max Stossel, to the stage this April to describe how the coalition is working to hold digital platforms accountable for their dehumanizing tendencies.

In this session, Stossel will explain why optimizing for attention within social media platforms is not what’s the most productive for a healthy, strong democracy. Further, he’ll propose a new lens from which to assess the ethics of our content, thereby reshaping digital channels to make them more conducive to building relationships versus creating isolation.

Tuesday, April 24
2:00 PM – 2:40 PM
Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel: Stage 2

The Evolution of Togetherness: Quantifying Social Media’s Impact on Society

Grey’s Global Chief Strategy Officer Suresh Nair joins SMWNYC to present the agency’s new research quantifying social media’s impact on society. In particular, he’ll demonstrate when and where it’s appropriate to be vocal and stand out on social issues. Further, he’ll detail how the concept of togetherness has evolved in the context of the digital age.

For those looking for inspiration or general guidance on how to integrate notions of community and togetherness in content and campaigns, Nair will also offer actionable tips and insights that you can implement in your own role as a marketer or business leader.

Tuesday, April 24
10:15 AM – 10:35 AM
Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel: Stage 1

Building a New Electorate: Can Digital Media Save Democracy?

Don’t miss NY-12 Congressional candidate, Suraj Patel, and Axios’ Sara Fischer in an intimate fireside chat about technology and the future of civic engagement. A fundamental question central to the discussion will include what is the potential role of digital in developing and fueling a more engaged electorate.

Current research has determined that 65 percent of Americans do not regularly vote in congressional elections. In order to turn this statistic around and improve voter turnout, Patel will assert that media, digital, and politics will need to work together for humanity’s best interests, void of misleading information and “filter bubbles.”

Friday, April 27
12:15 PM – 12:35 PM
Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel: Stage 1

Facebook, Social Networks & Democracy: A Conversation with The Verge’s Casey Newton

In this session, Casey Newton, Silicon Valley Editor at The Verge, joins FirstMark Capital’s Managing Director, Beth Ferreira, to take a look at how social media platforms are addressing the growing pressures placed on them by brands and citizens alike to course-correct their platforms to be more responsible.

Aside from discussing the strategies unfolding today, Newton will also share what he predicts beyond 2018 with regards to social media’s role in influencing communities and government.

Wednesday, April 25
12:40 PM – 1:00 PM
Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel: Stage 1

When Inclusiveness Trumps Divisiveness

We can deride today’s caustic media environment, but we can’t deny its effectiveness. Polarizing tones are being used to strategically reshape global culture and politics, with no end in sight. Calls to bridge the divide and seek common ground too often lack the same potency as the messages that tear us apart, and we simply feel powerless against this rising tide of division. Join this special panel discussion, hosted by Upworthy and Craft & Commerce, to learn how brands can be part of the solution.

Tuesday, April 24
4:45 PM to 5:25 PM
Sheraton New York Times Square: Stage 2

Why the Truth is Worth Paying for

Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP & COO of The New York Times Company, joins SMWNYC to explain why The New York Times’ mission to produce fiercely independent, high-quality journalism is more important than ever, and how the company is delivering its iconic brand of journalism in new and innovative ways.

Thursday, April 26
9:30 AM – 10:10 AM
Sheraton New York Times Square: Stage 1

Redefining Intimacy in the Social Media World

The impact of social media on social development has been profound. How has smartphone technology changed our relationships with our peers, within communities, and with ourselves? In this session, Nev Schulman, creator of the hit TV show “Catfish,” joins Alison Hillhouse, Vice President of Youth Culture and Trends at MTV to discuss how social media is redefining the notion of intimacy among post-millennials in particular.

Friday, April 28
11:30 AM – 12:10 PM
Sheraton New York Times Square: Stage 1

Just added! When the Internet Turns Against You: Owning Your Truth in the Age of Cyberbullying

Last August, Fox News host Eboni Williams took to the airwaves to publicly denounce President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va. As a result of her candid commentary, she almost immediately became the victim of anonymous cyber-bullying, with messages spanning from hateful vitriol to unequivocal death threats.

In this fireside chat, Williams joins Doug Melville, Chief Diversity Officer at TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, to explore how individuals and brands can maintain authenticity in an age of rampant public shaming and cyberbullying. Moreover, she will share insights on how society can maintain its sense of reason when social media platforms are increasingly optimized for serving people with purposefully incendiary content.

Tuesday, April 24
4:45 PM to 5:24 PM
Sheraton New York Times Square: Stage 1

Don’t miss out on your chance to catch these sessions and 75+ more at our tenth-anniversary flagship conference. Only 500 passes remain! Save up to $250 when you register by March 16.

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