SMW Chicago Advisory Board on live streaming, top digital trends and hot topics

Social Media Week

Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas and insights into social media and technology's impact on business, society, and culture.

With Social Media Week Chicago quickly approaching, we sat down with some of our advisory board members and asked them what they think of live streaming and their predictions for future digital trends.

Between TED Talks and Apple launches, now more than ever we see events, discussions and panels being live-streamed to the public. With the ease of live streaming and its popularity on the rise, we asked our board members how they believe live streaming will change the relationship between brands and consumers. Director of Strategic Programs and Outreach at University of Illinois, Rhiannon Clifton, compared live streaming to a concept we are all familiar with, retweeting. Clifton explained that, “brands can retweet their consumers to give them access to a larger audience… [and] live streaming allows brands to highlight their consumers in meaningful ways, in real-time.” She added that live streaming allows brands to tell their consumers, “we see you, we support you, and we want to help you however we can.”

A common point of agreement throughout most of the advisory board was that live streaming creates a more personal and authentic experience. Alicia Johnston from Sprout Social added to this idea, referring to live streaming as a tool that “humanizes the brand” and “drives loyalty.” While live streaming does have the opportunity for positive engagement, web content coordinator for Chicago Public Schools Christine Mallari did not let us forget that live streaming leaves no room for mistakes.

Looking into the future, no one can ever be sure where technology and social media will take us next, but our board members have a few guesses. From ad blocking to instant photo and video coverage, the possibilities are endless. Andy Sternberg, manager of social and digital media at Rotary International, believes that within the next year, “10-second video promos” will become the most successful form of marketing and messaging. Kristin Barrett, director of partner relations at the Chicago Innovation Exchange, sees wallets being eliminated and a surge in the growth of payment apps.

As digital trends continue to develop, Tracy Schmidt, founder and CEO of Socially Authentic, believes 2016 will be the year of “digital detoxing,” adding that, “we all need it.”

Up next week: a look at the blocks of programming content that will be featured at SMW Chicago. For more SMW Chicago updates, follow us on Twitter at @SMWChicago – or on Facebook at

Jordan Troy

Junior Account Executive, JTPR

Jordan joined Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications (JT) after completing an eight-month internship at the firm. She has experience conducting strategic research and grassroots outreach, assisting in event planning and management, and providing media relations for clients. She contributes to work on a variety of clients including After School Matters, the Chicago Innovation Exchange at the University of Chicago, Midtown Educational Foundation, One Million Degrees and the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Want to write for Social Media Week?

We're looking for individuals around the globe to contribute articles on marketing, media, technology, and more.