Deanna Zandt is an activist, consultant and author living in Brooklyn. Her book, “Share this! How You Will Change the World through Social Networking,” gives insight into how your voice can become an important part of the global conversation about things that truly matter. She’s also been a long-time advisor to SMW. A strong believer in social justice and the importance of non-profit organizations, there is a lot for her to be excited about this Social Media Week!
Below, Deanna’s shares with us the 6 SMW events (and a couple of extras) that she is most looking forward to:
The Digital Street: Beyond Protest
This is a great opportunity to workshop a strategy with some incredibly bright folks working at the intersection of nonprofits, philanthropy and digital strategy.
If you run into Deanna at any of the events above, we are sure there will be plenty to discuss! Get your pass here for Social Media Week, and if you are an employee of a non-profit organization, you qualify for a chance to win a scholarship to SMW, powered by Nokia. Can’t wait to see you there!
Deanna Zandt is a media technologist, the author of Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking, the creator of a killer TEDxBerlin talk and an all-around bad ass. Chatting with her is always fun and informative — plus, we got hearing Samuel L. Jackson singing Taylor Swift out of it… She’s emceeing Day 2 of Ideas Connected at Global HQ, so swing by and see her in person. In the meantime, read on!
1. What is your or your organization’s greatest success with social media to date?
In early 2012, the Susan G Komen Foundation decided to no longer fund Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer initiatives. Outrage erupted, and while many advocates were focused specifically on the funding and financial issues, I wanted to focus on stories. I thought about the women who didn’t have money with which to speak their minds by donating or taking away donations; these were the women who would be most affected by Komen’s decision, and lose access to low-cost and free breast cancer screenings.
I created a Tumblr blog called Planned Parenthood Saved Me, where I asked people to submit stories of how Planned Parenthood had changed their lives. It caught fire; in 4 days, 300 stories were collected and shared, and mainstream media outlets like Rachel Maddow and the New York Times were referencing posts and sharing excerpts. But the real story lay inside the social numbers: More than half the traffic — 29,000 unique visits in 4 days — came from social media, and before any major media mention. The fire came from us sharing our stories with one another.
2. What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the emerging technology and/or new media space right now?
The tension, and possibly an erupting battle, for the open web and web standards is pretty exciting. We see increasingly bolder moves towards silo-ed information and walled gardens, and that’s just not sustainable. The web yearns to be free, and I feel that we’re on the cusp of those starting to break down. Remember when AOL was the end-all-be-all Internet service? And how that model fell apart as both users and technologies became more sophisticated? This, too, will come to pass with the social web.
3. What speaker or event are you most looking forward to at SMW NYC?
I probably sound like a lush, but honestly, the parties are always fantastic during SMW NYC. Not just for going-out-fun-value, but for connecting and reconnecting with good people. I’m looking forward to spending offline time with my communities!
4. What do you think is SMW’s greatest value add to the tech/media space?
I’ve loved SWM’s ethos with regards to wanting to make the world a better place, and I welcomed the opportunity to bring the networks that I’m a part of– social, gender and racial justice communities– to the table to help shape the content. Those voices are often missing in the technology and media spaces, and I’m thrilled that SMW wants to dig deeper there.
5. What is the most creative way you’ve seen social media used?
Honestly, anything with a little bit of humor generally gets my attention– to be funny on social media, you really have to have an extraordinary combination of skills: timing, wit, writing, some tech savvy, etc. From the old meme games we used to play on Twitter (I’ll never forget #unseenprequels and #SamJacksonSlowJams [NSFW]), to fake accounts and image macros (the Willy Wonka series almost never fails to deliver), to the White House responding to the Death Star petition… yeah. It’s a nice reminder that we’re all human and can poke at each other a little bit.
Deanna Zandt is a media technologist and the author of Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking (Berrett-Koehler, June 2010). She is a consultant to key progressive media and advocacy organizations, and her clients have included The Ford Foundation, The Daily Beast/Newsweek, and Jim Hightower’s Hightower Lowdown. She is contributor to Forbes.com via her ForbesWoman “Prospect: Tech” blog, and a social media advice contributor NPR’s flagship news program, “All Things Considered.” Zandt specializes in social media, is a leading expert in women and technology, and is a frequent guest on CNN International, BBC Radio, Fox News and more.She works with groups to create and implement effective web strategies toward organizational goals of civic engagement and cultural agency, and uses her background in linguistics, advertising, telecommunications and finance to complement her technical expertise. She has spoken at a number of conferences, including TEDxBerlin, SXSW Interactive, Personal Democracy Forum, Netroots Nation, the National Conference on Media Reform, Facing Race, Web 2.0 Expo, Bioneers, America’s Future Now (formerly “Take Back America”), Women Action & The Media, and provides beginner and advanced workshops both online and in person.
This blog post is a contribution from Daniel Teweles, the VP of Business Development and Marketing for Personal Democracy Forum (@pdfteam). You can follow him via @dteweles and www.danielteweles.com.
Personal Democracy Forum (PdF) has been experimenting with and documenting how politicians and governments are using social media long enough to appreciate having the term “social media” to describe these technologies!
In our role as conveners abroad and domestically (PdF’s annual conference in NYC is the world’s leading conference exploring and analyzing technology’s impact on politics and government), PdF regularly gets to interact with, learn from, and promote social media innovators and applications. In our editorial role on techPresident.com (the web’s leading blog covering the intersection of technology and politics), we regularly analyze, dissect, and explore the implications of the growing role social media plays in affecting change.
On December 3rd, noted cyber-libertarian John Perry Barlow tweeted:
Internet freedom activists using distributed denial of service attacks to shut down websites say they’ve invented a new kind of online civil disobedience. Critics worry that the tactic can backfire, and moreover, that the internet is more an ally of authoritarian regimes than we think.