16 Events Exploring The Intersection Of Technology & Togetherness At #SMWNYC



Learn from Viacom, VaynerMedia, Suzy and more at Social Media Week New York. Time is running out to secure your pass!

From data and creativity and paid media models to the future of brands and publishing, our curated tracks are designed to provide you with a deeper understanding of what tools, strategies, and tactics you should be investing in to advance your career.

This year’s global theme is “Closer,” which explore the intensifying conflict between community and individualism. At SMWNYC, speakers from brands like Grey, Viacom, VaynerMedia, and TBWA\CHIAT\DAY will discuss this topic explore and the modern definitions of togetherness—and social media’s role in bringing us together.

Fewer than 32 passes remain. Claim yours before they’re gone!

Here is a preview of what you can expect:

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

Hosted by Grey

In a 5,700-word status update in early 2017, Mark Zuckerberg announced that a change in Facebook’s purpose: once peddling a social network connecting friends, the new vision is to create a one-stop global community. Keenly aware that many are quick to condemn social media as intrinsically anti-social, social media leaders are working to improve tech’s ability to forge togetherness, bringing about the next phase of digitized community-building. Luckily, tech leaders aren’t the only ones adept at tackling this challenge; the advertising industry has always been a force for building community and bringing people together, aware of the potential that technology brings to that goal.

In this session, Suresh Nair, Global Chief Strategy Officer at Grey, presents the agency’s Famously Effective Business of Togetherness research, speaking to new, modern definitions of togetherness—and social media’s role in bringing us together and/or dividing our culture.

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Social Media & Close Culture

Hosted by Viacom

The making of Mass culture used to feel far away and Close culture is the experience that humans have had throughout most of our history. Now we live in a world where the lines between mass and individual culture and close and crowd culture are blurred. The ease with which we can now communicate changes how we feel and what we feel connected to. Everyone feels close to everything leaving us with the power to influence a broader set of topics. This new level of intimacy affects not only the way we talk to people but what we share and, what we expect to be shared back. With social media amplifying close culture and brands leveraging close dialects what are the new frontiers of closeness?

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Conquering the You-niverse: Branding on the Individual Scale

Hosted by VaynerMedia

Less than two decades ago, targeted, individualized advertisement was the stuff of science fiction. But yesterday’s sci-fi is today’s real life, and marketers need to adapt. Consumers expect personalization from brands, and that means that they cannot continue to adhere to rigid definitions of brand voice. Brands are perceived differently by each and every individual, so why not advertise that way? In this session, VaynerMedia CCO Steve Babcock will discuss how data allows us to create content for—and with—the individual consumer.

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Brands Are People, People Are Brands: An Intimate Conversation With Rev Run & Matt Britton

Hosted by Suzy

In this unique session, marketing entrepreneur Matt Britton, Founder & CEO of Suzy and an early innovator in influencer marketing, will host a wide-ranging discussion with Rev Run exploring the origins, current state, and future outlook of celebrity influence.

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Social Networks vs. Humanity: An Honest Look at Social Media’s Impact On Society & Our Minds

Hosted by Center for Humane Technology

In this session, you’ll hear from Max Stossel, a former marketer and internet entrepreneur who now serves as the Head of Content & Storytelling for the Center for Humane Technology. Join this session and learn why some of the most respected pioneers of the internet era are banding together to better solve for the dehumanizing tendencies of today’s digital platforms and how marketers and technologies can help the cause.

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Why Meaningful Stories Matter More Than Ever: A Conversation with National Geographic

Hosted by National Geographic

In this special headline presentation Executive Vice President Brendan Ripp will discuss why storytelling is so foundational to the Nat Geo brand and how the company is using technology to drive connectivity in an increasingly polarizing cultural climate. He will share why mission-based brands are so revered at this day in age and why meaningful stories matter more than ever.

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When Inclusiveness Trumps Divisiveness: How Brands Can Bring People Together vs. Tear Them Apart

Hosted by Craft & Commerce and Upworthy

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.

How should brands and organizations with a forward-looking, unifying message respond?

In this session, we’ll deconstruct why divineness is such a powerful communications tool, and share real-world lessons from campaigns that have not simply paid lip service to togetherness, but truly galvanized diverse communities around a message of inclusion.

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


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. Williams will share her experiences as a public figure living in this world and provide advice for people and brands who get on the wrong side of anonymous angry mobs online. 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.

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Building a Future-Proof Business: In Conversation with Diageo North America CMO James Thompson

Hosted by Diageo

Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol that counts some of the largest and most celebrated spirits brands in the world in its impressive portfolio. During a point in time in which nearly every industry is facing increased pressures to be more efficient and relevant in the eyes of consumers, Diageo is making significant strides to future-proof its organization.

In this intimate fireside chat, James Thompson, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer of Diageo North America, shares how the company is leaning on data and insights to bring its brands closer to their consumers. By monitoring trends, evolving processes and best practices, and reimagining creativity for a new era, he will share how Diageo and its brands are complementing the cultural landscape without defying it.

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

Hosted by The Verge

Casey Newton is The Verge’s lead editor covering Silicon Valley. In addition to digging up scoops on startups and their founders, he maintains an active (and hilarious) Twitter presence, a Facebook community (Casey Newton’s Maximum Content Zone) and curates a daily—yes, DAILY—email newsletter on the tenuous relationship between social media and democracy. In this special fireside chat, we’ll dive into the trends Casey is predicting ahead of 2018 and explore how Facebook and other social networks are recalibrating their strategies for the common good.

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The Trust Protocol: How Blockchain will Revolutionize Social Media, Business and the World

Hosted by Blockchain Revolution

The technology likely to have the greatest impact on the world of business has arrived and it’s called the blockchain. Blockchain’s first killer application was Bitcoin, the decentralized cryptocurrency that enables trustless transactions without a centralized intermediary like a bank. But the technology is capable of much more. Indeed, Bitcoin has set off a spark that has caught on like wild-fire and captured the imagination of entrepreneurs all around the world who see the underlying blockchain technology as an opening to build nothing short of a new internet. One that is decentralized, censorship-resistant, where privacy is protected and identity secured, and where value is shared more equally amongst those who use it.

In this talk, Alex Tapscott will demystify this new and radical technology and explain why the blockchain revolution is here to stay.

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The Life-Saving Power of Technology: How Crisis Text Line Harnesses Tech for Good

Hosted by Crisis Text Line

Born “out of the rib” of, Crisis Text Line is an innovative company and technology platform that provides free, 24/7 support to people in crisis via text message. By putting human and automated processes to work to connect with (and calm) humans in need, Crisis Text Line is changing lives in every area code in the U.S.

In this fireside chat, Crisis Text Line CEO Nancy Lublin will share Crisis Text Line’s founding story and explore how the company is using a combination of human compassion and strategy alongside AI technology to scale its ability to help thousands of Americans in crisis each and every day.

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You Are What You Tweet: How Social Purpose is Defining Brand Success

Hosted by The Economist Group

More than ever, a company’s character defines its business success and its place in society, rather than metrics like financial performance and reputation. How can businesses stay ahead of the needs of the individual while still maintaining the drive of the corporation? As conversations in social media shape the agenda across politics and business, companies are expected to conduct themselves authentically on the world stage. Some are embracing this authenticity, showcasing how they integrate social purpose into everything they do. Others fear the potential backlash customers may have if they choose to support a given social purpose and inhibit any action beyond their current norm. But in 2018, does opting out of being a purpose-driven organization do more harm than good? Based on the latest research from The Economist Group, in association with Salesforce and Genuinely, this panel discussion will explore the benefits and business case for operating with genuine social purpose.

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Blockchain and The Decentralized Web

Hosted by Decoded

In this session, Decoded will examine the “decentralized web,” also known as Web 3.0. Constructed utilizing blockchain technology, the decentralized web offers vast improvements in privacy and security. By decentralizing user data, hackers will no longer be able to tap vast ‘honeypots’ of information currently stored in corporate and government data silos. Furthermore, users can be assured a far greater degree of privacy, as they will be the only ones possessing their own data.

The past year has taught us two things in particular about the digital universe: 1) Hacking isn’t going away; if anything, it’s getting worse, and the stakes have never been higher; and 2) Unprecedented demand for Bitcoin has proven there is huge interest in digital decentralization. Clearly, concerns over privacy and digital autonomy have struck a nerve with the public. Web 3.0 is knocking on the doors of centralized internet models everywhere.

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Gen Z: Redefining Intimacy in a Social Media World

Hosted by MTV

Young people are using tech and social media to redefine what intimacy looks like when it comes to their relationships and friendships. Join Nev Schulman, from MTV’s hit docu-series “Catfish: The TV Show,” alongside Alison Hillhouse, Vice President, Youth Culture and Trends at MTV, for a timely discussion about Gen Z, intimacy, relationship, and self-esteem cycling. The panel will incorporate key takeaways from MTV’s recent study, “Gen Z Teens: Out Loud & Unfiltered.”

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Building a New Electorate: Can Digital Media Save Democracy?

Hosted by Axios

One of the most prominent cultural conversations over the past year has been the role of digital platforms in the last Presidential Election. Digital and online social platforms are taking heat for allowing misleading ad campaigns to reach voters and creating so-called “filter bubbles” that have contributed to an increasingly divisive electorate. But what about the potential for digital to build and nurture and more engaged electorate? The opportunity is massive: 65 percent of Americans do not regularly vote in congressional elections. If new media can be used to upend the mattress and eyewear industries, why can’t we use these same tools to improve civic engagement and voter turnout?

In this fireside chat, Suraj Patel, an aspiring Congressional candidate from New York, joins Axios’ Sara Fischer to discuss the tenuous relationship between the media, digital technology, and politics, and how we move forward in 2018 and beyond.

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Join us at SMWNYC April 24-27 to hear from 150+ leading thinkers who will explore our global theme, “Closer,” which navigates the increasingly tenuous relationship between community and individualism. Fewer than 53 passes remain, so don’t wait.

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