Spotlight: Advisory Board Member David Berkowitz

David Berkowitz (@dberkowitz) is Vice President of Emerging Media for 360i, the digital marketing agency labeled one of the Best Places to Work by Advertising Age (2011) and Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Advertising Companies. David is partially responsible for these accolades. His weekly breakfast brainstorms, fondly referred to as “Bagels with Berky,” provide common ground for employees to collaborate and discuss the latest trends. David, like 360i, is committed to staying a step ahead of the digital era and helping leading brands gain competitive edge through social media and mobile marketing programs.

Not only does he inspire colleagues to search for the latest and greatest, he openly shares his knowledge through regular contributions to 360i’s own blog Digital Connections and Advertising Age’s DigitalNext. His personal marketing blog, Marketers Studio, is filled with witty observations and cutting opinions, serving up a refreshingly honest take on all things digital, trending, and social. David’s writings are respected, mentioned frequently in places like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, and Mashable. With numerous published columns in MediaPost’s Social Media Insider and speaking engagements at places like SXSW, Web 2.0 Expo, Blog World Expo, ThinkMobile, MIT Sloan School of Business, and the Yale School of Management, we had to ask David how it’s done.

You are so busy! What is your secret to keeping it together?

I read a ton, travel when I can, and work out with the Kinect.

What do you love most about your work?

It may sound hokey, but I learn so much from the clients I get to work with. I love being able to converse with them to make sense of all the changes unleashed by digital media.

What do you read for inspiration?

I like reading books relating to places I’m about to travel. For instance, when I went to Africa this year, I read about thirty books relating to the continent, including a number focused on South Africa and Zanzibar, both areas I visited. [You can find his complete reading list here.] Topics ranged from Nelson Mandela’s autobiography to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s dark modern fiction “Petals of Blood.” I read relatively few business books, but I have recently discovered some classics like “Good to Great” and “Influence.”

You can invite one person to coffee. Who is it?

Salman Rushdie

Assemble a Dream Panel. Any topic. Go.

Topic: “What excites you today?”

Panelists: NYT’s David Pogue, Kraft SVP Marketing Dana Anderson, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Colicchio

Moderator: James Earl Jones

Suddenly you find yourself with an extra $1 million in the bank. How do you spend it?

Donate part of it. Save a chunk. Travel the world. And finally buy from that squatter.


From Sideline to Byline: Unleashing Social Media on the Sports World

Matt Wurst is Manager of Digital Communities at 360i. You can follow him on Twitter @mwurst.

The sports world has always been defined by lines.

Some lines are visible for all to see. Games are played within the lines. Scoring in football or soccer means getting the ball across the goal line. Basketball shooters are rewarded with more points for hitting a shot from behind a three-point line. In tennis, the line is in. In volleyball, the line is out. Lines keep runners in their lanes. Batting orders are written on a lineup card.

Then there are the lines that exist outside the field of play. The rules of the game are defined by lines in a rule book. Even off-the-field/court conduct is restricted by rules to prevent athletes from going “over the line.” Bettors make wagers based on lines. Athletes even feed lines to the media that later show up as quotes in lines of print articles. Fans and media watch the games from the sidelines.

Unleashing Social Media on the Sports World, today’s panel discussion hosted by the New York Times, featured the perspectives of league official, blogger, beat writer and fan to discuss how the non-linear rise of social media is blurring some lines while hardening others.

In the hour-long Q&A session, die-hard New York Jets fan and “wine guy” Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) and the panelists shared examples of how social media has blurred the line between spectator sports and participation sports yet strengthened the lines of communication from athlete to fan.

Michael DiLorenzo (@NHLdilo), the Director of Social Media and Business Communications for the National Hockey League, discussed how the league and teams use Twitter to “satisfy the emotional craving fans have to be directly connected” to their favorite teams.”

“Social media is the sunshine and water that helps grow the passion of fans,” DiLorenzo said. “It also provides the shortest distance between, in our case, league and fans.”

Michael DiLorenzo starts the conversation early via Twitter.
Michael DiLorenzo starts the pre-event conversation via Twitter.

Of course, whereas sports used to be a world where athletes played and fans watched, the access that some athletes grant has its pros and cons. If done right, the benefits far outweigh the risks. However to do it right, athletes need to really invest in it and be authentic.

“If they aren’t authentic, this new era of transparency will run right over you,” said Jim Bankoff (@bankoff), the Chairman and CEO of SB Nation, a sports fan blog network.

With so many parties – the athletes, teams, leagues, agents and representatives – all having a vested interest in the message, the issue of control remains. But it is an issue that is being worked out across different sports and with varying degrees of success. Remember, access to athletes has been carefully managed for decades. There are pre-determined times before and after games when athletes can and cannot talk to the media. The NBA has implemented a similar rule about tweeting before and after games.

For Matthew Cerrone (@matthewcerrone), the founder of, social media has blurred the line between journalist and fan. The site started in 2003 as a hobby, but he now covers the team on a daily basis and serves as a conduit between players and Mets fans.

Sports journalism is changing as reporters adopt a more digital mindset. Writers and broadcasters are breaking news on Twitter. Game recaps are secondary projects after in-game live blogging or tweeting wraps up. But where is the line between journalist and fan now that anyone with an opinion and enough money to pay web hosting fees can become a blogger.

According to the Focus “State of the Blogosphere 2009,” 41% of bloggers describe their style as ”journalistic.“ But do they conduct interviews, research a topic or fact-check like journalists of yesteryear?

Vaynerchuk believes that the best, no matter the medium they use, will stand out for being capable storytellers. For New York Times baseball writer Tyler Kepner (@tylerkepner), journalists present multiple angles and perspectives, painting a fuller picture of how and why.

“As a journalist, you have to stand behind what you write or say,“ Kepner said. “When breaking news, you can tweet it out first, then get to work on the rest of the article or blog.”

But perhaps the greatest impact that social media has had in sports is how it strengthens the lines of communication between fans.

The immediacy of information is staggering and the volume of conversation is overwhelming. Social tools make it easier to connect fans of the same team and find communities to join. And we’ve really just scratched the surface, too. Geo-targeting will facilitate fan connections between friends and strangers on living room couches and inside stadiums. Enhanced filters will reduce the clutter and noise of extraneous conversations and better mobile devices will guarantee that we can always have a voice.

Except for the bicyclist sitting directly in front of me, there were no athletes to speak of in the room. NBA and MLB league execs? Sure. More sports bloggers than I could read in a lifetime? You bet. But despite what our business cards said, we were just a small community of sports and social media fans tweeting to each other from across the room, re-tweeting handles, sharing quotes and direct messaging.

And I know I’m not the only one who took part in today’s dialogue that is looking forward to the NFL’s own foray into social… the first ever official Super Bowl hashtag on Twitter, #SB44, kicking off this weekend!

“Sports exists for conversation,” Bankoff said. “And there has never been a better time to be a sports fan than right now.”

Digital Culture NYC: Breaking Down the Walls at MoMA

Amanda Bird is Brand Manager at 360i. You can follow her on Twitter at oiseau678.

I was really looking forward to last night’s event at MoMA and the panelists did not disappoint. As a hard core public radio listener and an art lover and with memberships to most of the major museums on the panel, I was excited to hear first-hand from those who are helping me and other art/music/literature/knowledge lovers connect with the inspirational content coming from these world-renowned institutions. The panel was moderated by Tina Roth Eisenberg of and featured panelists included:

  • Karen Karp, The Metropolitan Opera
  • Victor Samra, The Museum of Modern Art
  • Benjamen Walker, WNYC Radio
  • Shelley Bernstein, Brooklyn Museum
  • Josh Greenberg, New York Public Library
  • Amanda McCormick, Film Society of Lincoln Center

The first half of the session focused on learning more about each institution’s forays into social media. Some of the programs I was already familiar with (if you don’t follow @brooklynmuseum, I highly recommend you do!), while others were new to me. There were six panelists so for the sake of brevity, I’ll just provide a few of my own personal highlights from what I learned about their current efforts in social media:

  • MoMA on Facebook and Flickr – MoMA’s social media presence is not limited to just these two channels, but their Facebook and Flickr presence stood out to me because they both revealed an important lesson – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em (or have them join you!).Victor recounted his story about getting MoMA on Facebook. Before setting it up a few years ago, MoMA had previously wondered “Why should we do it just because everyone else is on Facebook?” Once convinced it would be a worthwhile effort, they set up a Facebook page only to discover shortly thereafter that a MoMA page already existed on Facebook…and had roughly 12,000 fans. Turns out that while MoMA was debating whether it’d be worthwhile, fans of the museum answered that question for them, devoting time and effort into setting up a page themselves. So in the beginning, the official MoMA Fan page was competing for traffic and fans with the older, more established Fan page. Victor got in touch with the admin of the original fan page (a college freshman without much free time on his hands) and was granted admin rights to control and add content. Later he worked with Facebook to combine the two pages seamlessly, resulting in a page that currently has over 240,000 fans, including yours truly.Similarly, fans were already contributing content about their experiences with or at the museum on Flickr. MoMA has established a Flickr group where people can contribute their photos from visits to MoMA directly to the group and draws from these to find images to feature on its own Web site.
  • The Brooklyn Museum on Building Community – “Community” was a prevalent theme during the panel. Who is the community you’re trying to engage? Accordingly to Shelley, for the Brooklyn Museum they are focused on building a community around the people who are physically local to the institution (aka Brooklynites). For MoMA, their community is lovers of design, photography and modern art globally. To build up your presence in and among the community you have to both listen and proactively participate in the dialogue regularly – dialogue means both responding to your community and providing valuable information to them. Shelley pointed out that having a sustained conversation with your community does not translate to a 9-5 M-F job – she tweets on weekends, in the early morning, late nights – as often as she can in order to quickly and readily answer the community’s questions or put out the insights that they crave from @brooklynmuseum. In addition, the tweets are always from a “person,” such as Shelley herself or one of her colleagues and they make clear that there is a person with a unique POV behind their tweets.
  • The New York Public Library on their Blog – The New York Public Library recently relaunched their site, which they chose to build in Drupal to more effectively aggregate and link their various content sources across their site architecture, according to Josh. He mentions that only 5% of their site visitors are going to the blog, yet those that do are spending twice the amount of time on the site. To keep folks engaged when visiting, they’re getting some serious new blogging efforts off the ground. Josh’s goal is to have all of their staff trained and contributing content to their various blogs. No small feat for an institution with hundreds of staffers.
Shelley Bernstein, Josh Greenberg and Amanda McCormick (from right to left) discuss how they’re using social media to connect people with their institutions.

These are just some of the highlights and there were valuable insights from all involved. I’d recommend visiting or participating with any of these institutions and, of course, they’re all on Twitter at @NYPL @WNYC @filmlinc @brooklynmuseum @MuseumModernArt and @MetOpera respectively.

Reporting on Reporting: The Evolution of Journalism at Mashable’s NextUp NYC

Matt Wurst is Manager of Digital Communities at 360i. You can follow him on Twitter @mwurst.

If video killed the radio star, is Internet killing the print and video stars? And if so, how should current journalists adapt and current journalism students prepare?

These are questions that newspapers and television networks are grappling with on a daily basis. They were also among the many topics discussed at Mashable’s “NextUp NYC – The Future Journalist” event last night at the 92YTribeca as part of Social Media Week here in New York.

A year ago, TIME magazine predicted that a journalism crisis was approaching “meltdown proportions” and that “some major cities will no longer have a newspaper.” The alarm bells rang even louder when The Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer shut down for good and The Philadelphia Daily News and Minneapolis Star-Tribune filed for bankruptcy soon thereafter.

Video coverage of Wednesday’s panel:

But according to last night’s panelists, Sree Sreenivasan (@sreenet), the Columbia Journalism School Dean of Students, and Vadim Lavrusik (@lavrusik), one of Professor Sreenivasan’s Digital Media graduate students, journalism isn’t dying. It’s simply evolving. Even as many traditionalists feared the end of beat reporters, in-depth coverage, investigative reporting and newsmaker/celebrity accountability, the sounds of their struggles are being drowned out by the sound of keyboards clicking, video streams playing, Twitter feeds refreshing and RSS feeds updating.

With upwards of three hundred journalists, PR gurus and social media aficionados filling the lofted space in lower Manhattan, the teacher and his student optimistically agreed that a new era of “tra-digital” journalism, the surface of which has barely been breached, is upon us. They astutely compared where we are now in a digital age to where radio was in 1912 and television was in 1950. (You can view their shared presentation at

As a veteran of the news industry and well-connected social media insider, Sreenivasan navigated through the multiple uses of new and emerging platforms and how they can apply to the “old world.” (He doesn’t get GoogleWave yet, but who does?)  He emphasized the need for today’s journalists to learn multiple talents while retaining a specialty that distinguishes them from their peers. Working together, Sreenivasan and Lavrusik also explained how to become a multimedia storyteller, “learning and understanding what media is right for what story.”

Some other required qualities and skills for experienced and news journalists alike are to become reliable “pointers,” helping cut through the noisy clutter and sharing good content from across the web. They stressed the value of “community managers” that listen and interact with readers/viewers and don’t simply broadcast their messages in one direction. Additional “best practices” encourage newshounds to think about their own brand and adopt an entrepreneurial spirit.

The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism is a top, if not THE top, journalism program in the country. Yet the curriculum taught just a decade ago is already an antiquated relic of a lost era. Faced with advances in technology and expanded use of the Internet, the next generation of journalists is training for professional opportunities in a changing media landscape that might be very different in another ten years down the road. Meanwhile, the journalists of today must reconstruct their skill sets for the growing world of online media.

It is imperative that journalists of today and tomorrow develop a “digital media mindset”—how to think about news stories and packages from an online perspective. Look no further than our hosts for the evening.  Mashable plays an important role in the publication of digital news, trends and technologies. (In fact, Mashable has become such an institution in my own daily diet of fact-gathering that it now holds the fourth spot on my iGoogle home page, batting clean-up behind my Gmail inbox and RSS feeds from CNN and ESPN.)

Throughout the course of the discussion, a number of the journalists in the room were taking notes, some even sticking around as the crowds dispersed to learn more, dig deeper – clear indication of a reporter’s nose for information, if you will. And that, as the professor noted throughout his presentation, is just one of several skills that will never be rendered obsolete, along with the ability to observe, ask questions, process thoughts and write.

Leave Your Smartphones at the Door: Humanizing Social Media with IDEO

Amanda Bird is Brand Manager at 360i. You can follow her on Twitter @oiseau678.

This post was co-authored by Mae Karwowski, Community Engagement Specialist at 360i. You can follow her @maekar_wow_ski

IDEO is a self-described global design consultancy that uses human interaction as inspiration for their designs. They’ve designed everything from seating configuration concepts for Chrysler to folding tables for Akira to a transcutaneous immunization delivery method for Intercell. And for Social Media Week they hosted an event designed to bring the “human” back to social media. The description for the event, with its claim that communication via technology has had “the effect of sterilizing human communication and leading to social media offerings that can be shallow,” provided little insight into the type of experience we were about to have. But we were intrigued…

Upon first arriving to IDEO’s Soho office, attendees were required to check their coats and relinquish all non-analog devices in order to fully appreciate the experience without the pull of the outside world (but seriously, no @ing or txting for 2 hours!?!?).

Scattered about on a table were several hundred brightly colored buttons marked with various words and phrases – ‘nerd,’ ‘brooklyn,’ ‘us weekly reader,’ ‘artisanal cheese.’ We were instructed to choose four buttons and given a white shirt to wear for our newly gathered ‘pieces of flare.’ As if the white t-shirt uniform and buttons weren’t enough to get the 70 or so of us interacting, IDEO provided a delicious food spread and open bar as an added social lubricant.

For forty minutes we mingled and noshed only to start wondering if perhaps this was the great social experiment. Finally our hosts took the mic and let us in on the real experiment for the evening – do pretty much we we’d been doing (mingling, asking about each other’s button selections) but with an added twist. A few blank buttons and sharpies were thrown into the mix so that we could all make custom buttons and pin them on the backs of the folks we’d just met.

In just 60 seconds, you could meet someone and “tag” them with a label you felt was befitting. A bit nerve wracking, but that just made it all the more fun. The buttons worked naturally into conversations, eliminating the need to blindly seek common ground with a total stranger and accelerating the dialogue.

Image via PSFK

At the end of the night, we spoke about how it felt to be untethered from our electronic communication devices, yet tethered to this group of people and only a few buttons for self-identification and definition. Perhaps most enlightening was the way the event facilitated a brainstorm process. We’re always seeking new ways to spur group dynamics, creativity and the ideation process. In trying to translate the mores of one form of communication into another (in this case social media’s “rules” into a real-world cocktail party), we began to more deeply question our inhabited assumptions about the way social media “should” function. Are tags and bite-size descriptors opening us up to build deeper relationships – or are they allowing us to feel as if we’re connecting, even if all we’re doing is acknowledging similarities?

This same brainstorm activity might be applied to any challenge. Its effectiveness lies in forcing us to rethink and even question the success of our current approach.

All in all, the event was enjoyable, and it didn’t feel that weird or unfamiliar, except maybe for the phantom blackberry syndrome we kept experiencing. At the end of the night we all gathered up our belongings and (not surprisingly) whipped out our mobile devices to tweet, text and email about the experience we’d just had.

For more takes on the IDEO event, check out @kylecameron’s post over at

The Future of Space and Time: Techies, Normals and the Location-Based Revolution

Danielle Nuzzo is a Digital Publicist at 360i. You can follow her on Twitter @dailynuzzo.


Wednesday’s panel on The Future of Space and Time engaged the audience to reflect on the past and envision the future.  The panel took place at the Conde Naste building in Times Square, and yes, I checked in to Foursquare as soon as I took my seat.

Moderator: John C. Abell, New York Bureau Chief for; @johncabell


  • Tony Jebara, Associate Professor Computer Science, Columbia University & Chief Scientist at Sense Networks
  • Chris Dixon, Co-founder, CEO at Hunch; @cdixon
  • Dennis Crowley, Founder and CEO of Foursquare; @dens

As we all know, Google can now follow your every move – does the thought make you cringe or cry out in glee?  Do you find the forced serendipity of Foursquare to be enchanting?  Or does opting-in to a service to let strangers know your exact location seem down-right creepy to you?  This panel discussed the evolution of lifecasting and how location-based services are going to shape the future of social media.

“We live in a world where if we forget our smart phone at home or if Twitter or Foursquare are down we have a nervous breakdown,” admitted Dennis Crowley to the panel’s audience.   He called out that 33 of us had already used Foursquare to check into the panel and another 40 were on their way from Grand Central.  Hmm, he might have a point…and we agree that location-based services are not going away anytime soon.

Panelists discuss location-based tech tools and services at Wednesdays Future of Space and Time event.
Panelists discuss location-based tech at Wednesday’s Future of Space and Time event.

Location-based services are here to stay

There is no more denying it. Twitter is impacting the way we communicate with the world, just like Foursquare is changing the way we socialize and connect with friends.  People are logging on to the internet to find out what their friends are up to on a Thursday night, as opposed to picking up the phone and calling them.

We trust Web sites like Yelp and Hunch to help us make informed decisions about life – where are the best vacation spots?  What are the best haircuts? What about the best vacation spots to get haircuts for someone with my personality?

The guests on Wednesday’s panel unequivocally and unanimously agreed: There’s no turning back now.  2010 will be the year that mobile takes control.  With a number of technologies already available, location-based services are only going to become more ubiquitous.  Dixon even mentioned a rumor that Facebook will be unveiling a geo-targeted check-in system within the next few months.  And we all know that when a “trend” finally hits Facebook, it’s here to stay.

Techies vs. Normals

Dixon divided the audience for users of these new technologies into two categories: techies and normals.  Techies are the early adopters, the ones that were using Foursquare last spring when it first launched.  The “normals” constitute the general population, or as he puts it, “the ones that use Facebook on a daily basis.”  While techies are already on the bandwagon with location-based services, it’s not yet the norm among the normals.  But when will it eventually trickle down and find its way into the mainstream?

The tipping point will be when average people (your aunt in Michigan as well as your colleague in Jakarta) start depending on the information that these location-based tools provide on a daily basis.  When these cool gadgets become a necessity and not just another iPhone app.  For instance, when was the last time you looked up a number in the Yellow Pages?  Can’t remember?  Well that is exactly their point.

Why do big companies miss “the next big thing?”

Even as Twitter is slowly becoming a part of the normals’ daily lives, there are still a lot of skeptics.  Just a few days ago, The New Yorker’s George Packer referred to Twitter as “crack for media addicts.”  The panelists debated why these new technologies continue to be dismissed by major corporations and mainstream media.

Dixon said it best, albeit bluntly: because they seem more like toys.  “One of the key characteristics of new disruptive technology is that it starts out looking like a toy. That’s so often why big companies ignore and dismiss it.”

However, once the normals start adopting and playing with these “toys” on a daily basis, big companies start paying attention.  By that point, the techies have usually moved on to something  else.  To illustrate this point, whenever Facebook was mentioned during the panel, the majority of the audience (myself included) rolled their eyes, anticipating a quick change of topic.

Opt-in vs. Passive Tracking and the Impact on Marketers

But why are people voluntarily telling strangers where they are, what they are doing and where they are headed next?  Perhaps it’s to better connect with friends.  Or maybe it’s to learn about nearby deals and not waste any time by heading to a lame party.

According to Crowley, it’s the opt-in nature of Foursquare that’s changing the game.  Passive tracking technologies, such as Google Latitude (formerly known as Dodgeball, which was also invented by Crowley and sold to Google in 2005) seem a bit more creepy and Big-Brotherish.

For marketers, this is a pivotal moment in time.  People are opting-in to let strangers (as well as companies) be aware of their every movement.  When individuals start voluntarily sharing personal information about their locations and activities, they are also signing themselves up to serve as personal ambassadors for the places they are going and for the services they are receiving.

Having access to this information as it comes directly from the horse’s mouth, as they are living it, is intrinsically more valuable for marketers than the standard practive of making assumptions that a certain demo might like a product or brand based on their web browsing habits.


End Note

Throughout the panel, one thing that Jebara mentioned kept resurfacing in my mind.  He explained that GPS technology is shrinking our hippocampus, the region of the brain that controls spatial navigation.  He informed us that the people with the largest hippocampuses in the world were London cabbies – as they exercise this muscle on a daily basis to help navigate those confusing and windy London streets.  So the more we use location-based services to help us “remember” the places we like to visit and the friends we like to see, the smaller our brain becomes.  But then again, it’s all part of human evolution, right?

Check out the full Twitter conversation about this panel with the hashtag: #smwwired.

SGO is Coming! Social Graph Optimization, Sponsored by Meebo

Amanda Rykoff is a NYC-based sports fan, TiVo junkie and social media enthusiast. She shares her observations, commentary and diatribes on these and many other topics at The OCD Chick. You can follow her on Twitter @amandarykoff.

This popular event, hosted at the spectacular midtown offices of JWT and sponsored by Meebo, attempted to answer this potentially multi-billion dollar question: with so much choice in how consumers tap into their social graph, how do media and brands reach, connect and influence these networks at scale?

An outstanding panel took on that question and many more, and engaged in an entertaining, intelligent and extremely informative dialogue about this new and evolving topic.  Here’s who shared their insights and opinions with an engaged, constantly tweeting crowd:

Berkowitz led the panel through a practical (and slightly aggressive) agenda, including: What techniques will work? How can marketers maximize the audience? And what’s next in this new and constantly evolving world of social graph optimization?

Social Graph Optimization Panel at JWT
Social Graph Optimization Panel at JWT

What’s a Social Graph?

But before we even get to those questions, there may be a few of you out there who want to know what a social graph is. And just in case you need to know, you’re in luck. When people use the term “social graph”, they’re referring to an online representation of our relationships (personal, family, business) on social networking sites.

Social Graph Optimization

Social graph optimization is just the term for how to maximize a presence in a user’s social graph (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).  Or to put it another way, for people that run websites and brands, how to get SEO optimization and lots of visibility in all the feeds in the social graph?

Simple, right? Not so fast.

We’re in a new, constantly evolving social media world, both as consumers and marketers. The social graph and the ways to reach consumers constantly changes and grows. As consumers are provided with seemingly infinite networks, marketers need to be creative, sensible and practical about ways to connect with consumers. Social media and social graph optimization represent important new tools to be explored, but aren’t the so-called magic marketing bullets.

Tale of the Tweets

What follows is my recap of the panel, which I call the Tale of the Tweets. It’s a collection of live tweets from the event which provides an entertaining, unfiltered and real-time look at what the panelists discussed.  For more insights from the Twitterati (and there were a lot of people live-tweeting the event), Twitter Search #smwgraph.

Just Getting Started

Aaand like every #smwny event, we’re starting a half hour late.

Panelists: @dberkowitz of @360i, @annaobrien, @sethjs of Meebo, @MarkGhuneim, @HashemBajwa. #smw #smwnyc #smwgraph

Search v. Social Graph

Search has been great traffic driver. Now social media drives and needs to be optimized (@sethjs). #smw #smwgraph

Social graph optimization = increasing your visibility in social graph, like SEO optimization does for search. #smwgraph #smwnyc

This is the wild wild west. #smwgraph

What is a Social Graph?

Ok, let’s take a step back: what the hell is a social graph? #smwnyc #smwgraph

P.S. I wasn’t asking what a social graph is. That was asked at the panel! #smwgraph

How to Optimize the Social Graph?

Social graph optimization: study users that are already fans. Do things that make them want to tell their friends. @sethjs #smwgraph

Most important part of any business is to listen and understand what your customers, competition is saying. What you should be saying. (@annaobrien)

Listening to consumers isn’t new to marketers. It’s just way more complicated today. @HashemBajwa #smwgraph

How to Encourage Sharing?

Bottom line: if you do something well, it will be shared. Quality gets shared. @MarkGhuneim #smwny #smwgraph

RT @db: Someone relatively small that’s connected to a lot of other big influencers is just as influential. -@annaobrien #smwgraph

ET @CatherinVentura: If you get 1% of daily use visitors to share, you are doing well (@sethjs of @meebo ) #smw #smwgraph

Sometimes it’s not that complicated: make it easy to share. @sethjs #smwnyc #smwgraph

People love to share videos and photos. @sethjs of @meebo. #smwnyc #smwgraph

I may have a blackberry, but thank god I have a black MacBook to help save my credibility at #smwny.

RT @CatherinVentura: Words that work in promoting buy in to shared content are “play with me” and “help me” @sethjs #smw #smwgraph

RT @dwag29: Create natural messaging for your users to make their friends want to click. @sethjs #smwgraph

What Does SGO Mean to Your Business?

Did I make you more $, did I save you more $, and did your brand grow? Nothing else really matters. @MarkGhuneim #smwgraph

BTW, @MarkGhuneim is founder of Wiredset and Trendrr. He’s built products to listen to the conversation real time. #smwgraph

Meebo bar: 3 goals: more users, more engagement w/content and revenue. Work to move all 3 metrics via social graph @sethjs #smwgraph

Location-Based Applications in the Social Graph:

Aha! Hot question: where do mobile location-based applications factor in to the social graph? #smwgraph

Your Twitter stream and your Foursquare streams are very different and achieve different goals. @HashemBajwa #smwgraph

RT @dwag29: @Foursquare adds value to the environment we’re in. – @HashemBajwa #smwgraph

Sharing: How much? How little?

To share or not to share: that is the question. @annaobrien #smwgraph #smw #smwnyc

Social media has created a new term: “oversharer” (used by @dberkowitz)  #smwgraph #smwnyc

RT @db: “How do we stop amusing ourselves to death? The conversation needs to evolve” -Mark Ghuneim, Wiredset / Trendrr #smwgraph

RT @db: “Where’s the line w/ sharing? There’s going to be people that cross the line but that needs to happen” -@annaobrien #smwgraph

Digital and Social Media Education

Education is key. We’re failing to teach the tools that are necessary to succeed in this new media environment. @sethjs #smwgraph

There are people who know how to consume information and those that don’t. @sethjs #smwgraph

RT @dwag29: Massive audience doesn’t know diff btwn web page & application. Need digital education. -@sethjs #smwgraph

What’s Next in Analytics?

Who are my real friends? Various levels of relationships. It’s no longer “everybody is friends.” @annaobrien #smwgraph

RT @dwag29: Moving from “everybody is friends” in SM to diff types of friends and groups that need to be targeted. -@annaobrien #smwgraph

Data. There is so much data out there. Need to figure out what to do with it. That’s the key. #smwgraph #smwnyc

Facebook Connect

Ah, we have a Facebook Connect sighting. @MarkGhuneim: it removes a giant barrier of entry and is effective that way. #smwgraph

RT @CatherinVentura: “I just commented” and “I just rated” work well with Facebook Connect (@sethjs) #smwgraph

You can’t just add the Meebo Bar or Facebook Connect onto your site. It won’t work. There needs to be strategy. @sethjs #smwgraph

Companies are trying to become “identity management systems” rather than social sites. @annaobrien #smwgraph #smwny

You want to publish where your users are, but don’t give up your own home. @sethjs #smwgraph

RT @CatherinVentura: Balance publishing on other publishing platforms (eg Facebook) & publishing on their own (@sethjs) #smw #smwgraph

On Customer Service

The 759th time I’ve heard it, but it bears repeating: social media can be a huge key for customer service. @MarkGhuneim #smwgraph

Quote of the Day

“When I lose a follower, I consider that optimization. They weren’t listening and weren’t relevant.” @MarkGhuneim #smwgraph

Want to read more about Social Graph Optimization? Check out this article.

This was a great panel. And stay tuned. We’ll soon be talking about “SGO” in the same way we’ve been talking about “SEO” for years.

Fashion Goes Social at #SMWNYC

Orli Sharaby is a Senior Social Marketing Strategist, Lifestyle at 360i. You can follow her on Twitter @orlibeth.

The fashion industry isn’t generally known for being on the cutting edge of technology, communication and media, so it was an interesting scene at last night’s Social Media Week panel The Devil Wears Prada and Tweets About It, as well as the subsequent Digital Divas party. While undoubtedly the best dressed crowd so far (though the week is still young!), it was clear from the panel discussion and audience questions that the fashion industry is still grappling with how to adapt to today’s changing media landscape and consumption habits.

The panel and party were hosted by Emily Gannett of, Peg Samuel of Social Diva, Yuli Ziv of My It Things and Rachel Sklar of Mediaite.

The discussion was led by moderator Andrew Cedotal of Mediaite and the soon to be launched Styleite, and panelists were:

Conversation topics focused on the small (how can an aspiring designer use social to compete?) to the large (is luxury dead?) and even included a little eye rolling (was Tavi’s hat too big?). Here’s a sampling of the best nuggets from the night (note: all commentary below is paraphrased, and does not represent actual direct quotations by panelists).

On aspiring designers using social media to promote themselves:

Yuli: It’s easy for designers to build a fan base online, but fashion is not adapting to the potential of social media platforms like music has. Possibly because they still have this fear of being copied or having their ideas stolen.

On ensuring that the talented ones, and not the “Tila Tequilas,” will rise to the top:

Orli: Social media is a natural weeding system, where true talent will be recognized. Also, established design houses can and should use social to source their talent, which ensures the integrity of designers and stylists who rise to the top in this way.

Yuli: People will not last in the fashion world unless you actually have talent, and unless you are creating things that people want to buy, because fashion fans will not stand for it.

On the value of creativity and uniqueness:

Yuli: The real path to success for aspiring designers is for the designer to focus on their identity and making something unique and different.

Deirdre: Big brand days are over, people want luxurious unique design. Something with good craftsmanship. A clear branding message and identity is important early on.

Orli: Etsy is a good example of how this can play out extremely successfully, the fashion industry has yet to see major success in this area but it’s a huge opportunity.

On the changing definition of luxury in today’s world, especially as knockoffs are so readily available:

Yuli: Bottom line, brands need to educate the public on what they are buying. People are more interested now in where and how their products are made, and small and luxury designers can capitalize on that by educating consumers.

Orli: If a brand is scared of educating its customers, they have a bigger problem.

Yuli: Social is a great medium for putting yourself out there and letting consumers know exactly why luxury matters.

Deirdre: Dedicated fans talk to each other online and through this conversation they weed out the lesser quality items.

On blogger integrity and the grey line between journalism, PR and marketing:

Yuli: As a blogger, I have a new policy that I don’t accept gifts from brands. The brands need to be responsible when it comes to gifting and not make bloggers feel uncomfortable.

Orli: Traditional media, especially magazines, have been deceiving consumers for decades by not being clear about the gifts, products and incentives they receive, and by graying the line between advertisements and content. Bloggers are actually more transparent, not less.

On what is missing right now in fashion & social media, and what the current leaders could be doing better:

Deirdre: Conde Nast should invest in technology. They have the voice, but aren’t using it to move forward into social media.

Yuli: There is not currently a successful social network for the entire fashion industry and fashion consumers, which is a miss. Also, the link to the commerce aspect is completely missing from editorial.

On bloggers in the front row of fashion shows:

Orli: The recent front row appearance of bloggers at the Dior show was nothing more than a PR stunt, they did it for the news. They’re not forming authentic, lasting relationships with these bloggers which is unfortunate.

Yuli: Those bloggers were in the front row because of celebrity status, no different than inviting Penelope Cruz to sit in your front row.

Andrew: If I were a designer, it would make more sense for me to invite the blogger who’s built up a half million person a month readership from scratch, than to invite the assistant editor of a magazine with the same circulation. Obviously the blogger who’s built it from scratch is going to be better at promoting your brand.


As we look forward, 2010 has the opportunity to be a major turning point for the fashion industry in social media. With so few fashion and luxury brands having the entered the space in earnest, and so few of the major publications/media companies investing heavily right now, there’s an apparent white space just waiting to be filled. It will be exciting to see who rises to the occasion and who is left in the dust – and how that might impact what’s on the racks and in the closets of tomorrow.

A Tweet for a Vote? The Role of Social Media in the Bloomberg ’09 Campaign

Katie Perry is Corporate Marketing Coordinator at 360i. You can follow her on Twitter @katieeperry.

Social marketing programs have proven their worth in driving sales (@DellOutlet), building loyalty (Coca-Cola’s Facebook page) and improving customer service (@comcastcares) – but in the throes of a complex political campaign, what is the worth of social engagement?

If done right, it just might be the difference between victory and defeat.

The evidence? Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2009 mayoral campaign, in which he won by just over 50,000 votes. Jonah Seiger (@jonahseiger), Chief Online Strategist for Bloomberg ’09 and Managing Partner at Connections Media LLC, shared the social strategies that ultimately bolstered the then-incumbent’s road to re-reelection at a Tuesday SMW event hosted by ClickZ and the Personal Democracy Forum.

Victory Tweet: @mikebloomberg responds to the win.
Victory Tweet: @mikebloomberg responds to the win.

Seiger admits that social media, though not necessarily the linchpin component, played a crucial role in Bloomberg’s eventual victory. To illustrate this point, he walked us through a series of calculations:

  • According to what Seiger calls “conservative” estimates, there are +/- 3 million people in New York City’s social media sphere.
  • Seiger estimates his team’s efforts had a 10 percent share of voice during the campaign – that is, 1-in-10 people using social media saw someone they knew say they were voting for Bloomberg.
  • 10 percent of the +/- 3 million estimate totals 36,720 voters, per Seiger’s estimates; however, he argued that people active in social media, these “online political citizens” tend to participate at a might higher degree than average voters.
  • Based on this, he estimates that social media drove roughly 85,000 votes for Bloomberg on Election Day.

“From the top of the campaign [Bloomberg] down to the volunteers, digital was embraced in a way I’ve never seen before,” Seiger said. “There was an awareness of the importance of digital as a communications and engagement channel.”

Seiger, who also worked on Bloomberg’s 2005 mayoral campaign, said his team weaved social media into a broader digital strategy that encompassed web design, display media and paid search. These components, in turn, were “integrated within the larger campaign strategy,” he said.

  • Campaign Web site – Infused rich media and included a “bottom bar” that provided an engagement option on every sub-page. The site provided more opportunity for engagement via Facebook Connect. About 40 percent of site traffic was organic (funneled from social media and natural search).
  • Display media – Included rich content and links the Mayor’s YouTube channel. Seiger said YouTube plays totaled 224,000 during the campaign, or the equivalent of about 450K views of 30-second TV spots.
  • Paid search – Search ads appearing on the engines drove traffic to the Bloomberg’s Twitter feed (@mikebloomberg) and Facebook page.  For example, if someone searched “Twitter” from the NY metro area, they would see a sponsored ad promoting @mikebloomberg.

The social aspect of the digital program was especially impactful.  The number of people fanning and following Bloomberg on Facebook and Twitter reached 40,000 by campaign end (that number is nearly 42K at present). Though this number pales in comparison to Starbucks’ count of roughly 6 million between the two social networks, it is staggering when compared to that of Bloomberg’s competitor, Bill Thompson, whose combined total was about 6,300.

Supporters engaged with the Mayors team via Facebook.
Supporters engaged with the Mayor's team via Facebook.

Here are some key takeaways regarding the campaign’s use of social media:

*Tweets and Facebook updates came from the campaign itself (not Bloomberg personally) and Seiger’s team “made no pretenses that mike Bloomberg was personally tweeting.” That aside, Seiger said Bloomberg’s personal interest in technology and social media led to times in which the mayor himself tweeted from the account: a designated day during the campaign and on Nov. 3.

*Seiger’s team estimates there were 31 million second-degree followers of @mikebloomberg (followers of his followers). Of this number, they calculate that 11 percent were NYC residents. For Seiger, these geographical insights were key. “The intelligence garnered from Twitter traffic shows what themes or trends are bubbling out of certain communities,” he said. “Twitter is moving more toward geo-location, and this will become important for the execution of social media in politics.”

*The campaign utilized hashtags (like #yankees, #brooklyn and #jobs) to tap into relevant conversations already occurring among NY-based Twitter users.

*A “Tweet Out the Vote” push allowed Bloomberg supporters to voice their advocacy with the ease of a click. Re-tweets of this message by Twitter power users like @jackdorsey and @craignewmark added further momentum. This strategy was mirrored on Facebook by inviting people to donate their status to Bloomberg’s cause.

*A core component of the strategy was inspiring and maintaining two-way conversations on Twitter and Facebook. “Social media is as much about listening as it is about talking,” Seiger said. “Talking back is especially important.”

*Seiger also noted the importance of supplementing organic/word of mouth promotion for a Facebook page with paid advertising. When asked if he would agree that advertising should be utilizing to gain fans, Seiger was in “adamant” agreement. “Any legitimate social media strategy necessarily includes online advertising as a component,” he said.


ClickZ’s Kate Kaye , who spearheaded the launch of the site’s Politics & Advocacy section, also contributed to the discussion. For further reading check out Kaye’s recent analysis that breaks down the Bloomberg campaign’s digital spend in the context of overall media spend.

#SMWNYC’s Crystal Ball Panel: What’s Next in 2010

About this Social Media Week Guest Blogger: Though Rebecca recently graduated from The University of Texas at Austin’s Advertising program, she has been a social media enthusiast for years, and is honored to guest blog at #smwnyc. To learn more, visit her blog and follow her on Twitter @rebeccaweiser.

What’s Next: Social Media in 2010
Panel at the Roger Smith Hotel, NYC

Panelists: BL Ochman, Howard Greenstein, David Berkowitz, Brian Simpson.

What expectations, measurements and results do we plan on seeing in 2010?

There is a lot of buzz surrounding the way Social Media will shape the business and communication landscape. Addressing these speculations, the panel outlined expectations, measurements and results we can hope to see in 2010.

Expectations: “Big companies need to take it seriously.”

  • As explained above, one reason why big companies don’t engage in Social Media is because they are scared.
  • In 2010, the panel unanimously agreed that many more big businesses will realize how valuable of a communication tool Social Media can be. Not only is it challenging, interesting and fun, “but it has the potential to be very lucrative.
  • Every client wants long-term strategies, and the panel predicts that in order to achieve this, clients will begin investing 5-7 figures into social media campaigns.
  • Less about what we do, and more about the reason they talk. A good business practice uses social media as means for proliferation, not an improvement to the service/product. It’s easy to get carried away, but a successful business model has a truly quality offering, while providing the means with which to share the experience it provides. Social media allows others to talk about how great business-x is.
  • Measurement: “Social Media should come at the beginning.”

    • Traditional measurement will have to change, as Social Media carries different weight. For instance in the old model, 20 impressions were no big deal. However, now whenever 20 impressions are served through Social Media, they are each an invitation to interact and communicate with one another.
    • Each social media channel holds different weight. A YouTube video response has different implications than a retweet.
    • For more information, visit David Berkowitz’s blog post –

    Results: “Social Media should come at the beginning.”

    • Ideally, an increased focus on social media will result in an increase of sales. Howard Greenstein brought up an example of a local barber shop that, through social media, was able to successfully increase its customer base for next to nothing cost.
    • David Berkowitz explains the 4 major social media necessities for producing results: Goals, Assets, Rules and Volume.

    Networked News Gatherers Panel Share How Social Editors Work at #SMWNYC

    David Berkowitz is Sr. Director of Emerging Media & Innovation at 360i. You can follow David on Twitter @dberkowitz.

    Let’s meet our panel for today on Networked News Gatherers: Defining the Social Media Role, hosted by Time Inc:
    • Moderator: Melissa Parrish, Director, Community Strategy for Lifestyle Digital, Time Inc
    • Jennifer Preston, Social Media Editor, The New York Times
    • Rachel Sklar, Business/Project Development, QAbrams Research and Writer for Mediaite (and she admitted she doesn’t know what Farmville is… so embarrassing)
    • Cyndi Stivers, Managing Editor,

    Question: How are you involved with using social media across your organization?

    Jennifer (NYT): Twitter usage there started when one developer wanted NYT Twitter headlines on his phone. There’s a big team involved with a lot of different constituents across different departments.

    Rachel (Abrams Research): I’ve learned a lot. There’s not much of a filter in what I post as my own brand in this space.  “It’s very much an authenticity thing… and being conscious of the user experience as well.” It was funny watching Huffington Post get fully on the Twitter bandwagon – at the Democratic National Convention, all I had time for was checking what was happening on Twitter. We’ve gotten to the point where we can use the word Twitter without flinching.

    Cyndi: We have a really active community. We were on Facebook before it opened up. By summer of 2008 we were on Twitter – last year in January Twitter was 138 on the list of referring domains, and then by May it was number 7 (leveled off around number 5). We feel like a startup even at a huge company.

    Question via Twitter: How is social media changing relationships people have with writes?

    Rachel: You can update something very fast. Writers are called out publicly things.

    Jennifer: It’s made a big impact in terms of crowdsourcing. Brian Stelter has been a real leader in the newsroom, showing colleagues how to use Twitter in a very effective way. In the newsroom, many journalists use Twitter. Beyond crowdsourcing and engaging with users, we found there’s tremendous benefit in using social media just to get into the real-time web. When Fort Hood broke, we put up a Twitter list, and on our Lede blog, we took content from the Twitter list and put it in a module. An important thing about journalists is trust – Ann Curry mentioned this at yesterday’s panel. In breaking news situations you need to provide real-time information but you have to verify it.

    Question: What’s it like using social media in a crisis?

    Jennifer: My first month I wanted to hide under my desk. I was learning in a very public way. Through colleagues and friends in the space I found these incredibly welcoming, helpful, kind people.  … Instead of imposing many rules we’ve encouraged people to get out there and experiment and innovation.

    Question: If you’re hiring for a position called a Social Media Editor or Social Marketing Manager, is it more important that they have personal experience in social media or that they have an editorial/web/print background?

    Rachel: I’d say it all together would be perfect. The most important thing is enthusiasm. Understanding the rules of sharing is important but common sense is key.

    Question: How do you determine the line between editorial use and promotional use?

    Rachel: If we’re going to survive as an industry we need to figure out new models. Old models aren’t working. There have to be creative solutions. With the McFlurry scene in 30 Rock, I don’t know if it was paid for [it wasn’t – and it directly led me to buy a couple McFlurries – Ed.], but I didn’t care.

    Cyndi: Didn’t help that it was funny? It’s not traditional advertising by any stretch.

    Question: As editors, are you just as happy to get people talking even if it’s negative?

    Rachel: When Mediait launched there was some perceived backlash due to some misconception. That never came to anything and is not attached to the brand but it drove me bananas. You also have to be careful how you respond. Monitoring how your brand is being perceived is important.

    Jennifer: People have been talking about New York Times content for a very long time – the dinner table, water cooler, the horse and buggy. We want to be wherever that conversation is taking place.

    Audience question: How will NYT’s plan to charge for content effect things?

    Jennifer: The metered model won’t be put in place for another year. In that time, we’ll make sure the user experience in terms of the payment process will be frictionless. A lot has to be worked out. For people coming to our site through Twitter or Facebook or a recommendation that will stay open. [So that means just find what’s posted on Twitter everyone, and you don’t have to pay! Yeah, let’s see how long that lasts… -Ed.]

    Question: Is the social media editor role here to stay?

    Cyndi: Everyone needs to have those skills. Curiosity’s a trait of our business. It’s just another element in the toolkit, and I think it’s not going away.

    Rachel: I think both – you have to do everything, and you have to promote your own stuff, but it takes time. The bigger you get the more you need that person.

    Jennifer: [I missed the first part of her response due to my exceptionally loud sneeze. – Ed.] We’re turning over the keys to our different desks and they’ve done a fabulous job with Twitter, modules, etc. That’s the real challenge of a Social Media Editor – to push it out through your organization.