Reading Between The Dots: A Story for Well-Rounded Digital Kids

Digital natives flourish in the online world. But what of those just getting the hang of their multi-media playground? What skills and practices will help a first grader get off on the right foot when it comes to tech? Randi Zuckerberg’s picture book Dot. recommends a balanced regime of digital and physical recreation.

Dot, a fashionably-sketched tech savvy young girl, is first seen as an all-digital all-the-time type: “She knows…how to tweet and to tag.” She’s fluent online and unprejudiced in her choice of devices. Digital knowhow keeps Dot well connected and endlessly adventurous. In this way, Dot is in lock step with her creator-author Zuckerberg, known for her roles as Facebook’s first marketing lead and now CEO of the Zuckerberg Media production company.

Dot has a dog — a conceit perhaps for Dot’s spirited side — and the two can’t stay put. The loyal and expressive dog loses patience waiting for Dot and bounds out of the house for a little recess. Not long after, Dot becomes thoroughly exhausted with her digital life. And, she’s shooed outside, thanks to a cameo appearance by her mother’s clapping hands.

Immediately, Joe Berger’s illustrations suggest that life now is much more colorful and visually boisterous than it was online. Once outside, Dot is all about DIY and hands-on and interactivity, playing with her peers. And in the end, she seamlessly blends her digital life with her in-person interests.

Dot is smart, well-rounded and a nifty poster child for tech-life balance. And without being cautionary or saccharine, Zuckerberg’s first picture book nudges young readers toward an idyllic childhood in the digital age.

It’s not just children that need this balance. Make sure you join SMW NYC this SMW14 for a host of events on how tech can help bring you back to a balance. Also read our previous post: Social, Mobile, Digital, Livable: A Review of Randi Zuckerberg’s Dot Complicated

Deanna Utroske is the Social Media Brand Director for New York Women in Communications and writes on women’s career issues, lifestyle topics and more. Follow her on Twitter @DeannaUtroske

What You Really Need To Know About Privacy on Facebook (Infographic)

With the scope of NSA surveillance unveiled and an focus on curbing digital abuse, taking a good look at our privacy and security is increasingly common. With Facebook remaining the lad for American user engagement for a SINGLE web site (it rakes in around 6.75 hours per user per month — which seems a bit low to most of us…), do we really know what we need to about our privacy on the site? We spend a considerable amount of time there, and that means we’re revealing info to the company and their partners — and to people we may not even realize have access.

This is a topic we’ll be looking at during SMW14, particularly in regard to teens. We’re bringing in researcher and expert danah boyd to open up the conversation. danah’s research focuses on the intersection of technology, society, and policy. For the last decade, she has examined how American youth incorporate social media into their daily practices in light of different fears and anxieties that the public has about young people’s engagement with technologies.

So, before you join us and danah for a deeper look in February, here are some stats and some recommendations to keep you safe and get you started.

Facebook Privacy
Source: BestComputerScienceSchools.net

Make Good Shit Happen at SMW NYC

In just six weeks, Social Media Week will kick off and we’re excited to share some of what’s happening.

Building Essential Products, with betaworks' CEO John Borthwick
To many of us, our work is our life. But what if we did it slightly differently this year? betaworks’ John Borthwick joins us at SMW NYC to talk about new approaches to product creation and the process, like how to allow ideas that might have once fell to the cutting room floor get picked up, tested and put into beta.

Why The Future of Innovation Belongs To Artists & Designers, with The New Museum
This year, many of us are being challenged to live more presently and actively. That’s where The New Museum can help. The collaboration between artists, designers, and technologists is increasing to help devise tools that are more human, social, and creative. The New Museum will explore these new partnerships and showcase how it’s making a more cohesive life experience for us all.

Making Good Shit Happen, with Nancy Lublin, CEO of DoSomething
Then, let’s use our power to create change. Join DoSomething’s Nancy Lublin as shares how she and a bunch of old people are getting youth actively involved by turning the standard activism model on its head, using creative marketing and collaborations.

Join betaworks, The New Museum, and DoSomething, along with hundreds of other amazing speakers and partners, February 18-21, and help us explore the future of our always on, always connected world.

And as a bonus, we’re extending our 20% Early Bird Discount until January 15th, giving you more time and more savings!

Get your pass to see the action and our discount here now.

Taking the Pain Out of Event Check-Ins: ColorSync

If New Yorkers can agree on one thing, it’s that we universally hate standing in lines. We want to be where we belong — and we want it now. Planning SMW NYC, we completely understand this. While QR codes seem to be making waves, lines still persist and require a bit of skill in scanning quickly. So, event planners make due with what we have and try to make it as easy on attendees as possible.

Well, event planners can now rejoice. Peatix, a mobile-centric ticketing platform, is coming to help, with their launch of ColorSync. ColorSync is an innovative new mobile check-in system for events that removes the need for physical tickets AND QR codes.

“We’ve helped out with check-ins for many events, and have become experts in checking in tens of thousands of QR code tickets at a time. It’s an acquired skill; varying conditions with light, and different devices make the operation very difficult at times,” said Taku Harada, co-founder and CEO of Peatix. “We realized that a method that relies on an acquired skill just doesn’t cut it. With ColorSync, anybody can intuitively check in hundreds of attendees in a matter of minutes with no training at all.”

So, how does it do it? Their video elaborates:

You, the attendee, start up the app. Your ticket will show a random color. When near the event organizer’s app, it will automatically detect your details and instantly check you into the event. This is done by syncing the color sequence, which is flashing on the Peatix mobile app. This basically means organizers can now check-in large crowds effortlessly.

The downside is ColorSync isn’t readily available to all users until later in 2014. But the fact that innovation is happening in this space only bodes well for us — as organizers and as attendees.

A Reason to Unplug

The Future of Now looks at the balance we all need in life, using tech to enhance our humanity and reconnect. And the holidays remind us of the need for this.

We’re thrilled to be hosting numerous sessions during SMW14 that are geared directly toward this. We have Erica Dhawan sharing on connectional intelligence. When almost everyone has at least the capacity to link up with people, power, ideas, information and faraway resources, how do we connect better, faster, more efficiently. It’s a deep look at the power of our relationships.

We also have Upworthy’s Eli Pariser sharing how you can encompasses using community to truly effect change with content. As the king of viral, he understands the distinct reasons we share and the revelations that has for us and our networks. We’re even getting a little granular during the week with a Masterclass that looks at how tech can help us combat the health and physical aspects of staring at a screen all day.

We know the week holds something for everyone. And we want you to be there with us, our creative partner MKG, and Nokia at Campus at Highline Stages.

Our 20% Early Bird Discount is still in effect (only until January 8th, though!). Plus, if you purchase on Tuesday, we’ll donate 20% of all our Pass sales to benefit Bpeace, an organization that helps entrepreneurs expand and scale their businesses to lead to stability and peace in post conflict countries.

This means you save $80 off your Insider Pass, give $80 to help entrepreneurs, and score a $50 gift card to BOND with your Insider Pass on Tuesday.

We wish you a wonderful holiday season and hope to see you in February!

Social, Mobile, Digital, Livable: A Review of Randi Zuckerberg’s Dot Complicated

A 360-degree perspective on the dot that is the dot-com era is hard to come by—the digital is terrifically vast. Which may explain why books aiming to be how-to guides for the digital age inspire advice of religious proportions: recall the Ten Commands For A Digital Age that Douglass Rushkoff inscribed in his 2010 book Program or Be Programmed. And now Randi Zuckerberg in Dot Complicated, a memoir-esque title on “tech-life balance,” offers up guidelines such as, “Repost unto others as you would have them repost unto you.”

Opiate of the masses aside, Randi’s view of the wired media space is panoramic. Having been Facebook’s first marketing lead, now CEO of the Zuckerberg Media production company and all the while coming of age, establishing a career, and having a family in the dot-com era, she’s a consummate professional shaping and parenting the future of tech. And, she’s giving us a 360-degree tour. Dot Complicated has something for readers at every level of social media savvy.

For those newly enchanted or simply curious, Randi recommends waiting no longer: “If you haven’t yet learned to tweet, blog, or upload photos to Instagram on your own, get on that.”

Dot Complicated isn’t a user’s guide to any platform, but once you’ve read it, you’ll be reassured to know that common sense is virtually all that’s necessary to participate effectively in social media communities.

If you prefer looking at the big picture of digital media, Randi’s ideas about the potential for media content to extend well beyond the medium will be inspiring. She gives us a glimpse of her vision for creating live social TV events that are not defined by any platform. And, social media experts will enjoy a behind the scenes look at silicon valley, the beginnings of Facebook and plenty of diverting celebrity encounters.

Randi’s advice for living well in a digital world centers on the social and the human behind all things tech, addressing etiquette and lifestyle issues, as well as spotlighting the social good that can come of modern media. Given the space Randi devotes to family and relationships topics in Dot Complicated, it’s no surprise that this project, which began as an online lifestyle community and blog, has also led to the children’s book Dot.

But perhaps the most valuable contribution Dot Complicated makes is an analysis of the “public, private, personal” boundaries that social media has rendered delightfully permeable. Randi defines each of these concepts as they exist in contemporary culture and offers useful guidance for navigating a world where “today, everyone is a broadcaster as well as a receiver.”

Randi seems to be every bit a brainchild of the Internet age, and as a result says she is “a passionate believer in the power of authentic identity….We are both the artists and the curators of our online one-person shows. Our digital selves are quickly becoming reflections of our actual selves.”

In Dot Complicated, she describes how to find tech-life balance as much as she models for the reader what it looks like to share faithfully and exercise discretion. The text is an old media template for a life well lived in the new media landscape. In the telling of Dot Complicated, Randi Zuckerberg demonstrates the very authenticity that she advises us to embrace.

 
Deanna Utroske is the Social Media Brand Director for New York Women in Communications and writes on women’s career issues, lifestyle topics and more. Follow her on Twitter @DeannaUtroske.

Cyber Monday Special: Giving You a Gift to Share

Thank you.

It’s a simple expression that carries great weight. And we think it can get lost in the mix. So, this holiday season we want to thank you, and help you pass it on. So, as our holiday gift to you, the next 150 individuals who purchase their SMW NYC Insider Pass will receive a $50 gift card to BOND.

But that’s not all. In the spirit of Cyber Monday, today only, we’re offering a special 40% discount! Just go here, select your Pass and redeem your 40% discount and BOND gift card!

This means a gift for you and a gift to share.

BOND is a new New York-based startup and iOS app that helps us remember the important touch of a thank you gift and card. They want to make gift giving fun and easy. Pairing tech with traditional gifts, BOND lets you send unique gifts, accompanied with a handwritten note, to someone important to you. All from your phone or computer.

With our focus on really connecting and examining what it means to be always on and always connected with our global theme, BOND caught our eye. It’s a great example of tech used to better our lives. And we want to share this with you.

Don’t wait too long and miss out on this. So, when you purchase your Insider Pass, in addition to joining us this February, you’ll receive $50 credit at BOND to brighten someone’s day.

Download the app or visit the BOND website to view all the gift options.

Thank you again for helping us make SMW NYC what it is. We can’t wait to celebrate the week with you in February. Until then, share your BOND gift giving stories with us using #SMWNYC.

Cyber Monday Holiday Giving

Need a Hand in the Kitchen? Plated To the Rescue

It’s Thanksgiving week, which means many of us are busy preparing food, getting ready to host friends and family, or traveling to celebrate. All the shopping and preparations can be tiring, though well worth it. So, we want to reward you.

We’ve partnered with Plated to make cooking easier. Founded by Harvard Business School alums Nick Taranto and Josh Hix after they realized the need for budget and time friendly food options, the Plated version of a dinner box was born. Compiling recipes from noted chefs such as Michael Mina, Plated delivers all the ingredients necessary to make a home-cooked meal, including spices, produce, and proteins, with easy to follow recipes.

“We believe that most people want better, more nutritious, less greasy food, and they’re willing to put in 20-30 minutes of work in order to get it — if given the choice,” Nick says.

But Plated hasn’t stopped with delivery. They have also created a new social aspect, “Social Recipe Pages.” Social Recipe Pages are like Pinterest for home cooks, a place where you can share photos and cooking tips.

“With thousands of customers cooking the same meals on same night any given week, this will be a place for them to connect and engage with each other,” Nick said. “They can talk about what they’re doing, share their personal takes on the recipes, talk to the chef who designed the meal, and ask questions.”

Sound interesting? All of our Insider Pass-holders can enjoy a free week of service from Plated.

That’s four meals designed by chefs and delivered to you to wow your family, friends, or self. Plus, there’s still time to also receive 20% off the standard Insider Pass rate.

Learn more, then grab your pass here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpffF2SqKHw

The Age of the Conscious Consumer: Soraya Darabi & Maxine Bédat of ZADY Join SMW NYC

Zady, Fashion, Soraya Dorabi

Gone are the days when tech isn’t glamorous. Honored as two of the most fashionable people in tech, Soraya Darabi and Maxine Bédat are merging the two fields. Founding ZADY.com, they have created a shopping platform for socially conscious fashion consumers. With the goal of doing what Whole Foods has done for the organic food movement, ZADY is helping consumers know exactly where their products come from and make more informed choices. And they’re going about it pretty impressively. ZADY is the first online retailer to merge commerce, media and social media into a smooth and dynamic shopping experience. You hear the story of what you’re buying and the behind the craftmanship.

How did it come about? Soraya and Maxine have been long time friends and share a passion for socially conscious endeavors. Maxine is founder of The Bootstrap Project, where 5% of proceeds from ZADY purchases are designated to helping artisans. Maxine and Soraya merged their backgrounds to create something amazing.

Soraya has long been a strong player in the tech sector. Starting out as Manager of Digital Partnerships and Social Media at The New York Times, she transformed the NYT into a digital global news leader and taught journalists and chief executives alike how to best use and leverage social media. Think it’s overblown? Renowned Times columnist Nicholas Kristof credits her as being “the only reason why he has [millions] of followers on Twitter.”

Soraya also served time helping launch drop.io, followed by Foodspotting. And she’s a regular feature on the tech scene’s listicles, being included in Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business,” Brandweek’s “Hot Digital,” Inc. Magazine’s “30 Under 30,” and AdAge’s “25 People in Media to Follow on Twitter.”

“It’s all part of the movement of the ‘conscious consumer.’ In the past decade, our collective buying decisions put enough pressure on the food industry to make major waves in revolutionizing it. We’ve opened our pantries for examination and have demanded better — now is the time to open our overflowing closets. We’ll look and feel better if we do.”

Co-founder Maxine (Kaye) Bédat is another trailblazer. Maxine brings to the table an impressive background in diplomacy and the United Nations. In addition, Maxine is the force behind The Bootstrap Project, an organization dedicated to changing the lives of artisans in developing countries. The Bootstrap Project was borne out Maxine’s experience in Tanzania for the United Nation’s International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. It was there that Maxine broadened her understanding of economic development in underdeveloped nations.

In a powerful example, Maxine shares a story from her travels in Swaziland. There, she met Thembenkile, a local craftswoman who made beautiful, meticulously carved wooden dishes. The trade had been passed down through Thembenkile’s family, from father to father to her. When Maxine inquired why she stopped passing down this legacy, the response resonated: “No one will buy my things,” Thembenkile said. “My people can only pay for plastic that comes to us from far away, so my kids don’t have a reason to learn.” Thus, The Bootstrap Project was born.

We’re thrilled to have this dynamic duo taking the stage this February. Grab your pass to join us here.

The Power of Connecting Offline: Scott Heiferman at SMW NYC

Few people have been as instrumental in using the Internet to enhance our ability to connect offline than Scott Heiferman, founder of Meetup. With over 50,000 Meetups being self-organized by millions of individuals around the globe, Scott’s helped people find communities that share what is important to them.

In NYC, it has led the way and provided the platform for the growth of the New York’s tech renaissance, in part by hosting NY Tech Meetup.

“Startups die of indigestion, not starvation. If you have a good idea and it’s a basic human need, then you should have the patience see it play out.”

The ability to connect offline and create meaningful relationships is inherently connected to our Future of Now global theme for 2014. It is an important part of finding resources and teams to develop ideas and products, as well as enabling new discoveries that can benefit society.

Earlier this year, the organization celebrated its 100 millionth RSVP. “One hundred million is a nice number but it only represents a few million people a month being active. We really want to see the world be a little different,” Scott has said.

With Scott’s passion of using tech to help people connect offline and his vision for the power of community, we can’t wait to hear what he has to say at SMW14.

Join us. Grab your pass now.

An Interview with ChatLingual’s Founder, Justin Custer

JCGrowing up, Justin Custer’s family moved often, introducing him to many different cultures at an early age. In high school, he learned a second language and began to realize the benefits of understanding different perspectives.

At university, Justin studied engineering and interned with French and German companies. His professional experiences fostered his interest in an international lifestyle. After graduating, he worked with Accenture for 5 years in 9 countries, helping global organizations solve complex problems. Often, these problems involved many languages, and resulted in complex, expensive workarounds.

Now at 29, Justin has traveled to 35 countries and worked in 11 of them. He experienced the challenges of language barriers personally and has designed professional solutions such as ChatLingual. You can reach Justin via Twitter @thinkjc. Learn more about him and ChatLingual with us below:

 
What was your inspiration for ChatLingual?
My impetus to build ChatLingual developed from a few things, though it was ultimately was inspired by a lifestyle I wanted to live. I wanted to run a company, and the quickest way to do that seemed to be starting my own. I had some experience in software development, and decided an internet company made sense.

At ChatLingual’s inception, I was living in Buenos Aires with two close friends who are ambitious entrepreneurs. Many late night chats led to a few business ideas that seemed to make sense on paper.

While researching their market potential, I took a trip to Panama. Through a series of events, I tried talking with someone who didn’t speak English, German or Spanish and thought: “This is dumb. It’s 2012. Language shouldn’t be a barrier.” That moment motivated me to build ChatLingual.
 

What is ChatLingual?
At the highest level, we’re on a mission to challenge convention. For now, we’ve decided to focus on the barrier of language.

ChatLingual is an instant messaging platform that enables you to communicate with anyone, anywhere regardless of language. Imagine chatting with someone, always reading and typing in English – it’s easy. The person you’re chatting with thinks the same thing, only she’s reading and typing to you in Japanese.

We’re excited about ChatLingual. We also know that chat is only the beginning. Taking that a step further, we’ve built a platform to improve machine translations by crowdsourcing feedback from our users.

Right now our team is focused on product – building one our customers love. ChatLingual doesn’t require annoying downloads, people can sign up via Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, and we support group conversations, translating up to 5 languages simultaneously. ChatLingual enables people to communicate across languages more efficiently than in our entire human history.
 

How do you see CL influencing global collaboration?
Many of the challenges discouraging global collaboration have already been solved.  We’re able to communicate with anyone anywhere for a relatively low cost. I propose that our next biggest hurdle is language.

The approach most people take is to simply avoid talking with someone who doesn’t speak their language. If you only speak English, how often do you communicate with someone who doesn’t? It’s tough to do and fairly inefficient.

ChatLingual makes it efficient, and opens opportunities to share ideas in ways that haven’t been explored, especially on a global scale.

In the near term, we see some straightforward applications, such as enabling cross-language communication for businesses, nonprofits and travelers. We’re excited for that, and we’re also excited for the long term potential:

Can we improve business operating strategy? What if people could collaborate with anyone in their company, regardless of what language they speak?

Will ChatLingual help provide a better understanding of international events?  What if anyone could connect directly with someone in Syria who only speaks Arabic?

Can we help NGOs make the world a better place? What if we can make it easier to sort out logistics and project planning before teams arrive to aid a foreign country?

Until recently, instant cross-language collaboration wasn’t a realistic option. Now, it is.
 

What are your target markets
Global businesses 
Knowledge transfer and internal communication. Consider the merger of an American company recently acquired by a Brazilian company, or a fashion designer in Copenhagen who can now collaborate with suppliers in China and her sales associate in France.

Multinational NGOs
Organizations with more than one voice, like Médecins Sans Frontières, Rotary Club and the United Nations have millions of people all over the world working together for one cause. The challenge now is that communication is limited to those who speak the same languages.

Travel industry
English seems to be the common language for travel. Non-native English speakers travel to foreign lands and both both parties attempt to communicate in broken English. The conversations are short, questions aren’t asked and great recommendations become lost in translation.
 

What are the applications for CL in social media (ex. A Small World (aSW), Couchsurfing)?
Firstly, I love www.CouchSurfing.org and the fact that they’re now registered as a b-corp. We want to use ChatLingual to help make the world a better place, and are looking at models like CouchSurfing that can meet our needs.

Being able to understand someone who doesn’t speak your language instantly is still an emerging concept. Facebook is now offering this through their use of Microsoft Bing, which is fantastic. The reality though is that people need a reason to want to connect with people who speak a different language. If you don’t speak that persons language, how do you know you want to connect with them in the first place?

The biggest submarket in the social networking space will be travelers and expat communities. These groups have similar interests; they want to connect.

Conversations within global, private social networks, such as InterNations and A Small World usually take place in English. Though many will understand English at some level, most people are far from fluent and would prefer to communicate in their native language. Enabling that will create a more engaging experience and increase participation.

Your company, Social Media Week is also a great example. Last year, I believe you had more than 60,000 people speaking at least 9 different languages, all coming together for the same reasons. I am curious to know how many of those people collaborated across languages, and how ChatLingual would have helped improve results.
 

What are some of the challenges?
In the near term, we see three major challenges: connecting with our early adopters, managing user expectations, and continually improving translations.

In learning to speak a language, it can take a year of living in the country to become conversational, three to become proficient and fifteen to learn every nuance. Many people who speak another language fall between the conversational and proficient range, which is enough to feel comfortable, but far from understanding everything.

ChatLingual provides a far better experience than that. Our early adopters are tech saavy and understand that proficient translations will meet their needs. Now, we just have to connect with them.

Helping users understand how to get the most of our services will also be challenging. Many users approach ChatLingual by typing the same way they would to their friends, using slang, colloquialisms and idioms. We are focused on enhancing natural language translation; until then, the best experiences will be through proper grammar and vocabulary learned in the classroom.

ChatLingual crowd-sources feedback for future translations. We are focused on improving the quality of translation, and translating more natural language. Another challenge will be designing an experience that encourages users to provide relevant translations, and engaging people who are as passionate about we are about removing the barrier of language.
 

Can you provide me with some use cases?
Imagine a billion dollar US-based company is acquired by a Brazilian enterprise. ChatLingual can dramatically improve knowledge transfer, reducing costs of the merger. Additionally, ChatLingual can enable more integrated operations and help build a better connected company culture.

A multinational nonprofit has decided to eradicate a treatable disease. Members are located in many countries throughout the world, and are all working together towards the same cause. The challenge is that many of the members speak different languages, and collaborating is highly limited to others who also speak the same language. In effect, any one person may only be able to communicate with 10% of the nonprofit, significantly limiting their ability to deliver the most effective results.

University students in France and Italy are interested in studying the technologies associated with autonomous vehicles. Students at Stanford have findings they’d like to share. With ChatLingual, the three groups could collaborate in real-time, each typing and reading in their native language.
 

When do you launch?
We’re live now!

Feel free to check us out at www.ChatLingual.com!

Local to Global: Social Media in the Markets of New York City

New York City is known for many things: Broadway, art, crowds, music, fashion, tourism, etc. But, the core passion of every New Yorker is our dedication and passion for food. Delicious food.

It was of great interest then for Karen Seiger  (Author/ Founder of Markets of New York City) to moderate a panel discussion with local, food entrepreneurs on their use of social media to cultivate an audience – Local to Global: Social Media in the Markets of New York City. The five food artisans in attendance were:

Fany Gerson, chef and owner of La Newyorkina
Liz Gutman, co-founder of Liddabit Sweets
Simon Tung, co-owner of Macaron Parlour
Susan Povich, co-founder of Red Hook Lobster Pound
Allison Robicelli, chef/author/blogger/co-founder of Robicelli’s

Developing an Online Voice and Personality. While each purveyor differed in their preferences for a social media platform, the general consensus was the need to 1) develop the right tone that best reflected the personality of their brand as well as 2) the right interaction to engage their online audience. Social media has greatly hastened and cultivated our current need for transparency. Now, customers want to know the full 360 who is behind the product, what is the owner’s personality and background, what happens on a daily or weekly basis, etc. Fany Gerson, whose paletas (Mexican ice pops) are highly popular in Manhattan, noted that she tweets in both Spanish and English as a nod to her cultural roots and diverse clientele. Allison Robicelli recounted she began with the oft-started professional tone. But when she finally let her true personality/voice take over, posting comedic and entertaining accounts of her life via stream-of-consciousness thinking, her online audience increased dramatically not only locally, but internationally as well.

More Content Than Advertising. A beginner’s faux-pas that each panelist stressed should be avoided was the assumption that every post and tweet focus on advertising the product. You want to be a conversationalist, not a commercial. A majority of online actions should be focused on interacting with your customers (answering questions, commenting on their posts/tweets) and providing content (industry-related topics or news, photos, events, personal opinions).

Crowdsourcing Ideas and Feedback. Social media is instantaneous and real-time, so business owners can immediately receive feedback on their customer needs, preferences, and requests. It’s the improved, straight-from-the-source, focus group model. Simon Tung relayed an experience when he received customer comments regarding an issue with one of his baked goods. He quickly examined the product, confirmed the validity of his customer critiques, and immediately removed the product from the shelves. Allison Robicelli continually asks her customers for cupcake flavors as well as recommendations for past cupcake flavors that should be reintroduced.

Crowdfunding for Business Growth. Not only does social media provide audience engagement and communication, but it can also be used as a vehicle for raising capital. Both La Newyorkina and Red Hook Lobster Pound suffered great loss during Hurricane Sandy as their kitchens were located in Red Hook. Fany Gerson, of La Newyorkina, created a Kickstarter campaign to raise capital ($20,000) in order to rebuild her entire kitchen. Gerson’s strong community of fans and peers mobilized as fundraising ambassadors on her behalf via social media networks, resulting in La Newyorkina over-exceeding the initial $20,000 goal within one week.

Handling Customer Complaints. Most of the panelists handle customer complaints through Facebook and Twitter, but mention Yelp and everyone lets out an exasperated sigh. Yelp seems to be the bane of any food-related business owner. While there are valid criticisms, a majority of the negative reviews are from privilege-minded individuals who expected special treatment  during their visit or from individuals who leave negative reviews to receive future special treatment. Business owners must learn to ascertain and identify which reviews are legitimate in order to conduct follow-up. Susan Povich of Red Hook Lobster Pound reviews Yelp for dissatisfied customers and sends them a specially coded gift certificate. When someone shows up with said coded certificate at any of the locations, employees ensure that specific customer has an exemplary second experience. Additionally, this allows Povich to track conversion rates for customer service.

Your Peers Are Also Your Community. It’s a small world and in the food entrepreneurship industry, it’s even smaller. Each of the panelists stressed the importance of authenticity and relationship building not only with customers, but also with fellow peers within the field. Working in silos was never an option to them, nor was it a mentality they wanted. The panelists and their peers became secondary family, helping one another during various markets, providing advice on business matters, brain-storming ideas on culinary initiatives, and sharing kitchen space and resources when needed. This community spirit, carried over on to social media platforms, indirectly helped increase customer engagement and followers. Customers would read online interactions between the business owners; begin following the companies they were previously unaware of; involve themselves within said business conversations; visit the recently-followed food establishments to taste the products; and most importantly, the customers would then provide reviews and endorsement of the products/companies through their own personal social networks of friends.

For the burgeoning food entrepreneur, the major takeaways to heed are: find the right platform; create your online voice/persona; interact with your audience AUTHENTICALLY (talk with them, respond to them, ask for feedback); don’t be a commercial and hard-sell your products; always provide content through your social media platforms; and create a community with your peers.

Success takes time, but community support is what carries you to the finish line.

Lisa Hoang is an arts administrator who is now immersed in all things digital media, tech, and healthy eating. She is currently the Assistant Director for NYU-SCPS overseeing academic programs in Digital Media Marketing, Digital Publishing, and Leadership/Human Capital Management. Lisa has a B.S. in Fine Art/Illustration from Towson University as well as an M.P.S. in Arts and Cultural Management from Pratt Institute. She spends a majority of her time testing the limits of her metabolism. You can find more about her at: www.vizify.com/lisa-c-hoang.

Music Lovers Rejoice: SMW NYC Partners with SoundCtrl & DMW Music

This year, we’re excited to have DMW Music is an official event partner for SMW NYC. What does that mean? DMW Music is 2 day event with 500+ of the most influential music and digital media leaders gathering to socialize, share ideas, do deals and learn about new technologies and services. This two-day event features a music-tech crawl at Pandora, Spotify, YouTube/Google, and iHeartRadio; classroom style presentations; interactive pit sessions, a music awards dinner; and executives from companies such as Sony, YouTube, Warner Music Group, Shazam, VEVO,Universal Music Group, Pandora, and more.

And we want you to be able to take part! We have 20 complimentary passes to distribute to our community. Interested? Just tell us why at #SMWDMWMusic

Now, we want you to learn more about SoundCtrl, the team that helped pull the partnership together. Learn more about Jesse Kirshbaum and SoundCtrl!

Jesse, SoundCtrl is a regular partner for SMW NYC. Why is the convergence of music and tech so important and how is SMW fill that need for SoundCtrl?
Technology is advancing at an exciting pace, with innovators who consistently challenge and evolve our conceptions of how music can be created, shared and consumed. Now more than ever, this is a sensation felt across all industry lines and creates opportunities for us to learn both from each others’ successes and missteps. Social Media Week provides a great context for us to discuss this interconnectivity and as this year’s theme suggests, illuminate the principles for a more collaborative world.

Last February, SoundCtrl produced a special music day for SMW NYC. What do you have in store this year?
Last year was truly a blast. We worked with SMW to created the first ever Music Hub satellite event at Dominion Theatre, with a full day of panels from groups like NYC Nightlife, elektro Magazine and Translation LLC. The discussion was kept lively all day with speakers that included Nick Jonas, Beverly Jackson, Asher Roth, Maura Johnston, David Sonenberg, & Junior Sanchez.

This year, we’re bringing back a very successful part of our hub – a conversation hosted by Zev Norotsky (Executive Publisher, elektro Magazine) about the role of social media in the growth of electronic music in the US and what trends we see developing nationwide. This year, the invite-only event will take place at the SoHo House on Friday, February 22nd and Zev will be joined by Joe Rosenberg (Director of Marketing and Partnerships, AM Only), Tommie Sunshine (DJ, Producer), and others TBA.

The music industry is currently undergoing great changes. What are the biggest factors for this and what trends do you see shaping the future of the industry?
It’s a great time to be in the music industry – the balance of power is shifting away from major conglomerates and towards young entrepreneurs who are in the trenches, seeing the opportunities taking shape in real time and have the flexibility to quickly pivot and execute plan B when plan A fails.

To that end, we’re likely to see increased partnerships between these individuals and their startups in 2013. Creating alliances between well established artist services will be key rather than each service extending themselves into areas where they don’t have a solid foundation (EX: Topsin’s integration with Artist Growth, Fireband, INgrooves Fontana and PledgeMusic).

SoundCtrl is producing your 4th Annual FlashFWD awards, set for this May. Can you tell us a bit more about FlashFWD, and what’s in store for the big event?
We’re very excited about the evolution of the FlashFWD Awards and what you can expect to see this year. To give a little background, FlashFWD is the premiere award ceremony highlighting and honoring individuals & organizations using and developing innovative technology in the music space.

Last year’s honorees included Best in Discovery – Spotify, Best in Live – Square, Best in Mobile & Tablet – Snibbe Interactive for Biophila, Best in Artist Support – BandPage, and our 2012 SoundWAV Influencer – Scooter Braun.

This year’s nomination period is almost underway and community voting will open on all categories (including new category, Best in Gaming) this April. For more information, check in with www.soundctrl.com/flashfwd

This year, NUE Agency, who produces SoundCtrl, has an artist up for a Grammy, one of the most social events in the world. SoundCtrl also helped connect Social Media Week to the Grammy’s both for NYC and LA. Can you tell us more about NUE’s incredible success in this area, and how the Grammy’s have managed to adapt so successfully to social TV and engagement?
We were so excited and proud to be at the GRAMMYS with Wale for his nomination in Best Rap Song for the chart topping single “Lotus Flower Bomb” ft Miguel… going for more nominations next year and the big win.

SoundCtrl was excited to be a part of Grammy Weekend as well where, on Friday, February 8th, we produced the Grammy Music & Technology Lab with The Recording Academy and Zuckerberg Media at LA Live. Participants in the lab included the startups Pheed, Pledge Music, Mixify, Buddy Bounce, and Amplifier (powered by SoundCloud) and we were thrilled to introduce the Academy to these entities and take steps to invest and cultivate these innovative services.

The social team for the Grammys are an amazing group lead by one of our mentors, Beverly Jackson. Their open-mindedness and ability to cultivate & capture the online Grammy chatter in meaningful ways is beyond impressive and it’s no wonder that the 55th GRAMMY Awards were the 2nd most social event of 2013 with over 15.4 million social interactions measured across Twitter, Facebook and entertainment check-in platforms such as Get Glue and Viggle.

SoundCtrl is partnering with DMW, as part of SMW. Can you tell us more about DMW and your relationship?
We’re very pleased that DMW Music and Social Media Week have decided to unite and join forces when it comes to music content for the week. Taking place February 20-21, DMW combines Digital Music Forum East and West into one large event simply named DMW Music. 500+ of the most influential music and digital media leaders will gather in Downtown New York to socialize, share ideas, do deals and learn about new technologies and services. This year’s event will be packed with great content, stellar people and a lot of companies that are new on the music-tech scene.

As a long time friend and supporter of both SMW and DMW, it seemed natural to us that these unique teams should know each other and cross pollinate. SoundCtrl was able to bridge the gap and provide SMW with special registration and access to the great lineup of music and technology industry speakers lined up at DMW this year. Check out the full list here: www.dmw-music.com.

What are you most looking forward to this SMW NYC?
We at SoundCtrl are excited about SMW’s Ideas Connected at the Global HQ. The lineup includes everything from master classes taught by companies like Tumblr & Google+, to an interactive exhibition called “The Internet of Things” which will feature new innovations in connect products and devices. You’ll see us around the HQ all three days and we’re already getting excited to hear from Internet entrepreneur, activist, investor and co-founder of social news website Reddit, Alexis Ohanian.

Zero-Distancing: The Collapsing Distance Between Fan & Celebrity

This is a Guest Post by MTV Insights’ Alison Hillhouse

It’s no longer unusual for the biggest pop star in the world to wish you luck on your math test, or for a reality star to forgo therapy and solicit advice from 8 million teen fans. The pedestal has been dismantled by social media tools in the hands of a generation that loves to flatten hierarchies. We indeed live in a flat world where fans demand not just a VIP pass to celebs, artists and entertainment experiences, but an eye-to-eye view.

This is the age of “Zero-distancing.”

As Julian, 21, says “Today, artists can be your best friends.” So conversations like this between Nicole (@trukardashfan) and Khole Kardashian about Nicole’s upcoming midterms aren’t unusual:

As Nicole says, “Khloé always makes time to talk to all of her fans. Whenever I get a tweet from her it makes me so happy because it feels like we are close since we communicate often.”

Millennials also crave intimate glimpses into the mundane daily activities of their favorite celebrities, such as Taylor’s cat claw clipping:

We hear from Millennials that they click through various social media channels to get different perspectives into a celeb’s life just like different video camera angles at a live performance. Each social media channel serves a distinct & unique purpose:

+ Facebook is the most “formal and official outlet” for tour updates and information
+ Twitter offers a “blow-by-blow feed” and highlights interactions with other celebrities
+ Instagram provides a direct line into their literal world-view, like “seeing the world through their eyes”
+ Tumblr is the most intimate glimpse into an artists’ psyche/spirit. Jessica, 25, explains that it allows fans to get an authentic glimpse into an artist’s creative inspiration and process… it “shows how artists express themselves, the aesthetic that makes them tick.”

@MTVInsights will be speaking more about “zero-distancing” on February 20th during New York’s Social Media Week. We’ll start with a teen panel who will speak about their virtually-intimate relationships with celebs in social media, and then be joined by Viacom stars who will speak about their experience interacting with fans:

+ Nev Schulman from MTV’s “Catfish: The TV Show”
+ Drita D’Avanzo from VH1’s “Mob Wives”
+ Cody Alan from CMT’s “Hot 20 Countdown” and nightly syndicated radio show, “CMT Radio Live with Cody Alan”
+ Ivy Winters from Logo’s “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

MTV is just one of over 300 Event Partners taking over SMW to help make SMW NYC a success. Sign up for their event here or for our other events here!

5 Minutes With Huffington Post’s Roy Sekoff

Yesterday, we helped get things moving towards SMW NYC with our partners, HuffPost Live. Covering how safeguarding free expression and an Open Internet is still a critical issue, they hosted a dynamic exchange on the current issues facing both our country and the global community, with leading thinkers, including: Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Andrew Rasiej of Personal Democracy Forum, and Christine Chen of Google and moderated by Ahmed Shihab-Eldin.

Not only was it engaging and get you thinking, but it also displays the professionalism and innovation that represents HuffPost. With their use of Google+ On Air HangOuts, HuffPost Live does live integration of social media better than most.

And we’re thrilled to be partnering with them this year! SMW NYC is honored to have President and co-creator of HuffPost Live, and founding editor of Huffington Post, Roy Sekoff, join us. Before his event, get to know him a bit more:

Roy, this year, our global theme is “Open & Connected: Principles for a Collaborative World.” How does The Huffington Post embody or support this idea?
HuffPost thrives precisely because our staff is utterly committed to all three of these attributes. Openness and transparency are core principles at HuffPost – both culturally and editorially. We are obsessively connected – which is good, because collaboration is the lifeblood of what we do. Rare is the email or GChat that isn’t rapidly – and creatively responded to.

The publishing industry is undergoing change overall; and the Huffington Post has been a leader in that. Where do you see the future of journalism and publishing heading?
HuffPost has been around for almost 8 years. In that time, we have seen the rapid rise of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and so many other game-changing products. We adapted and incorporated them all into what we do, but can’t say that we saw them coming. So, in a time like this, one rife with innovation, trying to look into a crystal ball and divine the future seems like a fool’s game.

The Huffington Post has continued to innovate, making waves in social video. How is the development of HuffPost Live leading the way and where do you see social video heading?
With HuffPost Live, we have placed our bet on people’s growing desire to engage with the news – on the shift from presentation to participation. They want to help shape the stories – and the issues – of our time. HuffPost Live was designed as a platform for engagement – one that puts our users front and center in what we do.

What has been the biggest success from HuffPost Live?
Because of our commitment to engagement, we are proudest of our engagement metrics, which confirm that we have created a unique and addictive social and community offering. Over 6,500 guests have joined us from all over the world via Skype and Google Hangouts. Over 750,000 comments have been left on the HuffPost Live platform (with many more left on HuffPost stories that have HuffPost Live videos embedded in them). And our users are spending over 15 minutes on the site per visit.

As more news and media outlets rely upon citizen journalism, how can the issue of accuracy and accountability be adapted? What recommendations would you have for smaller outlets just getting started?
Accuracy and accountability are vital. For us, that means doing everything we can to assure the accuracy of what we publish, and moving quickly and transparently to correct any mistakes that are made.

Advertorials have come under scrutiny lately, and we’re seeing many outlets experiment with different revenue models. What trends are you seeing for media and entertainment outlets maintaining a profit?
As the old models plateau, brands are clearly looking for fresh ways to reach consumers. And it’s important for publishers to try to lead the way in that innovation – but it’s critical not to blur the lines. Consumers value high-quality content, whether it comes from publishers or advertisers, but they should never be confused about the source. Our key touchstones are authenticity and transparency.

What are you most excited about for SMW NYC?
Thursday’s session on “The Shift from Presentation to Participation.” It will be a great discussion.

We couldn’t agree more. A big thanks to Roy for taking the time to talk with us. Make sure you check him out in-person this SMW NYC or join via livestream!

Google+ Hangouts at SMW NYC: Live Tonight And More!

We’ve got some big news, and we want you to join us. Grab your laptop, and get ready for SMW NYC interaction on a new level…

SMW13 is partnering up with HuffPost Live

Today, at 5pm EST, our media partner HuffPost Live covers how safeguarding free expression and an Open Internet is still a critical issue.  Watch the exchange on the current issues facing both our country and the global community, with leading thinkers, including: Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Andrew Rasiej of Personal Democracy Forum, and Christine Chen of Google.

With their use of Google+ On Air HangOuts, HuffPost Live does live integration of social media better than most.  

Check it out and share your comments. The conversation doesn’t stop on HuffPost Live.

Join us today here, but don’t get too settled. That’s just the beginning of what we are doing with Google+!


Google+ Contest

We asked our community to come up, and then host, incredible Hangouts during SMW13, with the best one recieving a $5k prize! Over 40 events were chosen to participate! From chatting about education with girls in underdeveloped nations, to cooking tortillas, there is a wide range of Hangouts for you to chose from and participate in. Tune-in. Tell us which SMW user Hangouts you think are best, and we’ll unveil the winner following SMW13. See them all here.


Hangout During SMW NYC

In addition to the above collaborations, you can join in and watch during SMW NYC! We are thrilled to feature two incredible Hangouts:

Wednesday, Feb. 20th from 2:30 – 4pm: Daria Musk and Google: Social Media and the Rock Star
If you’re looking for a bit more fun, then you want to head to Hearst (or G+!) to see Daria Musk. An Internet sensation, she’s taken over Google+ to expand her reach musically. She may even give you a performance or two…


Warby Parker and Google+

Warby Parker: the latest business sensation. Google+: the stable but creative force. Together. From February 19 to 21, Ideas Connected at the Global HQ will feature an installation which allows users to interact via Google Hangout. Pulling in some surprise attendees, one thing you do know is it’ll be fun and spot-on. If you’re in town, make to check it out live.

Head over to Google+, and try out a Hangout as well. We look forward to seeing you online and in-person!

Unleash Your Inner Chef: Special Offer for Next 300 HQ Pass Buyers

Purchase a HQ Pass to Ideas Connected during Social Media Week and receive a one week trial to Plated.com

Recently profiled in the New York Times, Plated is disrupting the way we eat. They deliver all of the ingredients their customers need to cook fantastic top chef-designed recipes — plus beautiful how-to instructions. They are building the platform to create, share and monetize food experiences with social commerce.

As part of a promotion with Social Media Week, they are giving the next 300 people who purchase an HQ Pass to Ideas Connected a one week free trial of Plated — estimated value $60. Get your pass now!

“Unleash your inner chef — everything you need to cook a top chef-designed meal, delivered to your door.”

5 Minutes with Susan McPherson

(Photo: Susan McPherson, third from the left, at SMW NYC 2012)

Next up in our Advisory Board interview series is Susan McPherson, Senior Vice President and Director of Global Marketing at Fenton Communications:

1. What is you or your organization’s greatest success with social media to date?

With Fenton’s support, I’ve had the opportunity to launch and grow #CSRchat, a biweekly Twitter chat that focuses on a range of corporate social responsibility issues. Over the last two years, I’ve facilitated conversations with a growing group of extremely intelligent and engaged people who come to the CSR field from a variety of perspectives. Special guests have ranged from Microsoft’s Citizenship Team to reporting guru Elaine Cohen to the Inteland Cisco CSR teams to the Director of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. It’s amazing to see this community come together twice a month and take a deep dive into important questions, issues, and solutions that drive the CSR field forward. The more rewarding part is when I’m at conferences and events, I get the chance to meet #CSRchat participants in person—and they already feel like old friends.

2. What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the emerging technology and/or new media space right now?

There are so many exciting things happening in the technology space, but I’m partial to innovations that use new media to create social change. Social entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and corporations are doing amazing things to improve the lives of communities across the globe. For an example, check out 10×10, a groundbreaking global campaign that uses documentary film, photos, blogs, videos, books, social media, and strategic partnerships to deliver a single message: educating girls in developing nations will change the world. With Intel as a founding partner, 10×10 really exemplifies a storytelling-driven campaign that strategically integrates relevant media channels, relationships, and events—all with the purpose of changing the world.

3. What speaker or event are you most looking forward to at SMW NYC?

Fenton is co-hosting “Giving Gangnam Style,” an interactive ideathon with 92Y, Mashable, and the UN Foundation centered around #GivingTuesday, the new national day of giving that launched last fall. The success of the inaugural Giving Tuesday proved that social is transforming how people give and that it’s turning everyday citizens into philanthropists. At this event, we’ll invite participants to share ideas and announce plans for how to participate in Giving Tuesday 2013. Based on the current attendee list, I truly cannot wait to see what the audience comes up with. It promises to be an inspiring and unique event. Another event I’m particularly excited about is “Money, News & Sex: Stories of Challenging Three Industries from Cindy Gallop, Jessica Jackley and Katie Orenstein.” I count all three as amazing friends who have paved tremendous paths for women everywhere.

4. What prompted you to join Social Media Week’s Advisory Board? What do you think is SMW’s greatest value add to the tech/media space?

I believe social media is a wonderful tool for facilitating connections, generating engagement, building communities, and inspiring change. But we all have to remember that it’s just a tool. Without offline engagement and relationships, social media loses a lot of its value. That’s what I think is so great about Social Media Week. It celebrates what’s so great about social media, but brings us all physically together to do so, creating a unique space where offline and online engagement fuse together, and paving the way for true innovation.

5. What is the most creative way you’ve seen social media used?

It’s not the most recent, but I LOVE Tipp-Ex’s YouTube Tippexperience. Essentially, you watch a YouTube video titled “A Hunter Shoots a Bear.” The hunter in the video then reaches for the Tipp-Ex white-out tape (sitting in an ad to the right of the frame), crosses out “shoots,” and invites you to choose your own verb. Depending on what you choose (from “kisses” to “punches” to “eats”), the video will change accordingly. So cool and shareable. Check it out and try it for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/user/tippexperience

Susan McPherson is a serial connector, passionate cause marketer, writer and corporate responsibility expert. As SVP/Director of Global Marketing at Fenton Communications, she focuses on creating visibility for the firm running its CSR practice. She’s a regular writer and contributor for the Harvard Business Review, Triple Pundit and Forbes and has 20+ years experience in marketing, public relations, sustainability communications. Prior to joining Fenton, McPherson was vice president, CSR services at PR Newswire. McPherson serves on the board of Bpeace, an organization dedicated to assisting women in regions of conflict and post-conflict start businesses and Earth 2 Hub, a London-based innovative media platform for science and technology. She also is a member of Echoing Green’s Social Investment Council and Social Media Week’s New York Advisory Council. Additionally, she serves as an adviser to the non-profits: Girls Who Code, Plant A Fish, She’s The First, The Adventure Project and The OpEd Project. Recently, McPherson was selected as a Vital Voices global corporate ambassador.

 

Event Spotlight: Internet Zero to Rock Star Shero

If you didn’t think Google+ alone could make you a household name, think again. Singer songwriter Daria Musk went from internet zero to rock star Shero in the span of a 6.5 hour online concert.

To learn more about Daria’s remarkable story and the ways in which social media can double as a star making machine, join her along with iCrossing’s Vice President of Marketing, David Deal, and Google+ Business Marketing Manager, Caro McCarthy on Wednesday, February 20th from 2:30 – 4:00pm at Hearst’s Lifestyle and Culture Content Hub. Register here.

For a quick look at Daria’s back story, check out this video:

2013: A Bright, Collaborative Future

Today is the last day of 2012. It marks a number of triumphs for our team at SMW NYC, but it also marks the day before a New Year’s adventures begin.

One of those adventures, our 5th annual Social Media Week New York City, occurs in less than two months. And as you may have read in blogs prior, producing it is no small feat. It takes a number of talented individuals to pull together an event with over 11,000 attendees and more than 2,000 events. But the challenge is greater than logistics alone, it’s the thought, care and intellectual investment that goes into crafting something we hope you will enjoy.

As we develop the programs that underpin our theme Open and Connected in a Collaborative World, we continue to reflect on the new and exciting ways in which new media is created, landscapes affected, and industries impacted. You would be amazed at the conversations (yes, philosophical conversations about social media are possible!) that unfold as our staff shapes the programming. So, it‘s in this vein that we would like to invite you into these discussions: conceptual, comical and otherwise. After all, it’s you we are creating this content for!

From the Individual Industrial Revolution to Global Perspectives On Openness to Peer to Peer Economy and Crowdfunding, we are diving deep into the ways social media permeates our culture today. Starting this week, we hope to give you a front row seat into the making of SMW NYC. So please, feel free to comment, email, Facebook or tweet us. Let us know what you think of the events, speakers, and opportunities as they unfold. Make suggestions, give us feedback, or submit your own.

You should also be on the lookout for blogs by our Media Partners, Advisory Board Members, Sponsors and Speakers. We aim to include them in the conversation too!

Happy New Year from all of us at NYC’s Social Media Week team. We look forward to a bright, collaborative future ahead.