Introducing #SMWONE: A Virtual Conference Series
#SMWNYC (May 5-7) & #SMWLA (June 17-18) will merge to become #SMWONE, a virtual conference series for 2020.
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We are experiencing an extraordinary moment in history. COVID-19 has changed the fabric of our lives, potentially forever, and today I am here to provide you with an update of how we are navigating things at Social Media Week.
The past two weeks have been a dizzying experience, however, I am very fortunate to be part of an incredible community of over 200 conference, tradeshow and event organizing CEOs around the world. I have personally watched as their businesses have been decimated by having to either cancel or postpone their events, some small, some very large. The impact has been and will continue to be devastating.
Being Transparent about our Process
As we have tried to navigate through the past few weeks ourselves and as the scale and impact of what was happening has become more of a reality, we have attempted to provide regular updates, offering as much transparency as possible while consulting with attendees, partners, sponsors and our venues to figure out what to do about our May conference in New York and June conference in LA.
As we considered every imaginable option and possible scenario, my team and I have worked night and day to ensure that whatever decision we ultimately made, we would do so with the best interests of our most important stakeholders in mind: our attendees, sponsors, speakers and content partners.
Last Friday and over the past weekend, New York Governor Cuomo and Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti put in place temporary bans to stop public gatherings of large volumes of people (in NY the rule was set to 500+). This week, we’ve seen an even more strict set of rules put in place that reduce these numbers even further. NY has partnered with New Jersey and Connecticut to ban gatherings of 50 or more and Los Angeles has mandated that gatherings of this same size be canceled or postponed.
Pivoting to #SMWONE in 2020
It is because of this decision and with no end date in sight that we have made the very difficult, but also very exciting decision to pivot our New York and LA conferences to one single virtual experience that we are calling #SMWONE. #SMWONE will be a first of its kind conferences series that will deliver live content, talks, panel sessions and workshops, together with on-demand content, product demos, attendee hangouts and networking experiences that will span a 4-week period.
When we first announced our theme for this year, HUMAN.X, it was because we had a deep conviction in the ability of technology to unite people—not divide them—and help businesses put humanity at the center of their strategies.
In these uncertain times, our belief in the capacity of technology to bring us together has never been stronger. #SMWONE is a new concept that embodies this idea at its core.
Rather than postpone our events, which was proving to be an almost impossible option for us, we feel there is a meaningful opportunity in this moment to prove the theory that technology holds the keys when it comes to helping businesses better engage with people and bridging divides to foster a sense of global community.
#SMWONE: A Virtual Conference Series, will kick off on May 5 and include a significantly enhanced set of program elements, including:
- 150 sessions including live talks, panels, interviews, and workshops
- Access to over 300 speakers through live chat and facilitated Q&A sessions
- Ability to schedule meetings and engage with technology vendors in live chat rooms
- Network and connect in live chat conversations with other attendees
- Watch sessions live, on-demand with the ability to download and share content
- Downloadable reports, session recaps, and speaker presentations
Looking Ahead and Welcoming Changes
Ever since we hosted our first conference in 2009 we have embraced the tools and technologies that enable us to create a hybrid experience that encompasses both in-person and digital experiences. We have led this charge as a digital and social-first conference for more than a decade and will continue to do the same with our latest iteration, #SMWONE.
If you are already registered to attend either SMW New York or SMW LA, or if you are a speaker, content partner or sponsor you will likely have a ton of questions and we are fully prepared to respond to each of them and engage with each of you over the coming weeks to reassure you that #SMWONE and future SMW conferences are going to be even bigger, better and more connected experiences than ever before.
If you are not registered for either conference or if you are interested in exploring sponsorship opportunities, please register your interest in learning more here.
We are so excited to come together with our community, and welcome new participants in the conversation, at our revamped event in May including our local city organizers. Stay tuned for updates here, along with more details in our FAQ. We welcome your feedback, questions, comments, and suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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