Ideas Wanted: Event Inspiration & Tips

Social Media Week is driven by the community. Here in NYC, we know that creativity, insight and opinions are never in short supply. So, we are looking to you to help us make SMW13 an unforgettable experience.

Last week, we announced our global theme of Open & Connected. We hope this provides a framework for you (and your organizations) to develop some incredible content, ideas and discussions around this, tackling everything from disaster relief efforts with SuperStorm Sandy to how viral marketing has changed the advertising business to how social media has revolutionized donations and giving. Your opinions and thoughts are valued- and we want them!

Make It Better- Event Tips for You

If you’re finding you need just a little inspiration on how to frame your event, we have some things to help.

Make sure you consider doing something that serves the greater good, pushes the boundary a little, shares fresh insights, and has a fresh shelf-life. You’re just like us; we all prefer topics that are slightly provocative, facilitate two-way dialogue, or feature an interactive discussion or heated debate. Most of all, give us something that we can use! Actionable and applicable ideas that can be implemented are really sought after. Show us you know your stuff, and don’t be afraid to integrate technology or multimedia into your event in fun ways.

Still need some tips? We strongly discourage self-promotional events, content that we’ve all seen before or offers nothing new or unique. Traditional panel discussions typically offer little audience participation, so try to include more than one view, opinion or perspective to shake it up. Finally, please help us steer away from panels with four white dudes talking about boring sh*t. We like diversity- it is New York, after all.

Drawing Inspiration From the Best

New York has hosted more than 1000 SMW events in the past 4 years. And over the past few years, there have been some events that have been especially of note. For example, in partnership with digital agency Beyond, we hosted discussions in New York, San Francisco and London on the Future of Sharing. The sessions coincided with a research study and infographic, which Beyond published with Mashable during the February 2012 event. It was timely, interactive and most important provided highly useful information for attendees.

Then there’s Lizz Winstead’s How to be Funny in 140 Characters. She gathered 2 other comedians and writers to talk the constraints of humor online, while encouraging the audience to take a stab at it. The result? #RejectedGroupons went viral during the event, and we all enjoyed reading the tweets from the event.

We also loved what design firm IDEO did. For Humanizing Social Media, check-in required attendees to leave their mobile devices at the door, setting the stage for an experiment in human interaction. Definitely thinking outside the box.

Varying up the traditional panel model, She’s the First brought in quite the diverse group. A model, 2 NGO founders, a PR expert and a socially-minded retail company all fleshed out how social media has changed the playing field for social impact- and they gave the group a nice sugar high by giving away cupcakes.

Deciding not to shy away from opinionated speakers, 7 Deadly Sins debated what tops the worst things you can do online. They capped off the event by presenting the results of a survey from JWT that highlighted just what you should avoid doing at all costs.

Finally, there was COMMON Pitch NYC. Pitting 10 social entrepreneurs against each other for top prizes, we heard who had the best ideas for how to promote collaborative consumption. All with a little humor from a judging panel and some musical entertainment after.

These are just a handful of some of the inspirational events we’ve seen. We can’t wait to see what you come up with this go round. See our full Event Guide (complete with inspiration from around the globe and more tips for you in planning), and don’t forget to submit your event well in advance. Submissions close January 11th and you don’t want to be left out.

Social Media Week Event Guide from tobyd