It’s time: Pitch us your best sessions for SMW New York

Calling all brands, agencies, startups, authors and marketing thought leaders – We’re opening up our call for submissions for SMW New York in 2017. Get your session pitches in EARLY for consideration!

Here are some #protips for submitting:

  • Make sure your session is actionable: Let us know what exactly the audience will learn, as well as how they can apply these learnings to do their jobs better.
  • Focus your topic: Pick a specific area of focus and make it abundantly clear which audiences in particular will benefit from the panel or talk.
  • Draw outside the lines: Marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum and neither does Social Media Week. Consider compelling panelists from other industries who can add color to industry-specific conversations.

As you develop your submission ideas, keep in mind our global theme for 2017, “Language and the Machine,” which will look at how algorithms are changing the way we connect, communicate both online and in the physical world.

Why become an event partner?

  • Engage your organization in the conversation that is relevant to your cause or industry
  • Gain recognition as a thought-leader or influencer in your field
  • Position your organization on a global stage to gain exposure and credibility for your work
  • Develop valuable relationships with new prospects, partners, and clients

Once you submit, don’t forget to grab your passes to attend. HQ and Connect Passes are currently 30% off through Dec 2. Claim yours today!

Events That Pop: Event Submission Tips

We’re planning some exciting changes for SMW13, including hosting all official events in February at a three-floor 50,000 sq.ft. Campus at Highline Stages. Campus will feature three stages on innovation, advertising & marketing, and society & culture; several masterclass and roundtable breakout rooms, an exhibition, and collaborative workspace for attendees to connect at the conference.

As with every SMW, we want you to be a part of it. Event submissions are open until December 6th, and we’re looking forward to some incredible sessions from the SMW NYC community. To ensure you have the best chance of getting your event approved (and increase the likelihood we’ll feature it at Campus), you’ll need some tips and guidance.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when organizing your event and what we’ll be looking for at The Future of Now NYC campus:


Trends & Predictions, Early Stage Innovation, Emerging Technology, The Collaborative Economy, Open Innovation, Internet of Things and Open Data

Big Data Analytics, Realtime Marketing, Mobile Advertising, Second-Screen Advertising, Storytelling & Content Marketing. Native Adverting, Platforms & Tools, and Future of Media & Publishing

Open Government, Nonprofits & Social Enterprise, Education & E-Learning, Health & Quantified-Self, Design, Art & Film, Fashion, Lifestyle & Food, Music & Entertainment, and The Future of Work


+ CONTENT: Plan event content that pushes boundaries, provides thought leadership and shares fresh insight.
+ THEME: Focus on themes, topics and conversations that serve your audience needs. No sales pitches.
+ STRUCTURE: Encourage interactive discussions and debates through balanced & objective assessment.
+ FORMAT: Consider creative event formats that promote openness, collaboration & inclusivity.
+ SPEAKERS: Select speakers and participants who have proven credibility in their respective fields.
+ MODERATORS: If you have a panel, make sure someone with a strong opinion is driving the conversation.
+ DIVERSITY: Support cultural, ethnic and gender diversity, as well as differing opinions, in your programming and speaker selection.
+ HUMOR: Try to inspire the audience with a bit of comedy. Lightly poking fun at a topic or brand is entertaining.
+ VISUALS: Integrate technology and/or multimedia into your event in value adding ways.
+ PACING: Keep it moving. If attendees are not given something compelling, interactive, or creative, you’ll lose them.
+ TAKEAWAYS: Practical takeaways, instruction, and arming attendees with a skill provides a lasting memory of the event and your brand.

These topics, formats, and devices are just a starting point to organizing your own event, and we’re always excited to see ideas that are outside of what we had anticipated.

Be sure to submit your event here soon and indicate if you would like your event to be considered for our Official Campus. Again, we are considering submissions for Campus on a first-come, first-servce basis.

Event Submissions Open: Your Invitation to Join Us

Over the past 5 years our mission has been to capture, curate and share the most meaningful ideas, trends, and best practices with regard to technology and social media’s impact on business, society and culture.

This February 17-21, together with Nokia, we’ll be bringing SMW14 to multiple cities around the world to explore our new global theme for 2014 The Future of Now. And today we’re inviting you to join us in New York for our 6th annual event.

There are four ways for you to get involved:

  1. Attend & Add to your calendar
  2. Submit an event
  3. Apply to speak (or nominate someone)
  4. Become a brand partner


What does getting involved really mean?

It means that you have an opportunity to join thousands of other leading industry practitioners to help design the SMW experience — as an event partner, speaker, or brand partner. More than 600 organizations hosted more than 1,000 incredible events last February.

THIS is your chance to join the world’s most important event that explores technology’s cultural and economic impact. We want to see you on stage, taking an active role in our February event.

Submissions to host an event or speak will close December 6th — and the earlier you apply, the better chance you have to be approved. You’ll even have the chance to apply to be considered to be hosted at our new Official Campus.

If you need some inspiration or guidance on what we’re looking for, review our Event Submission and Speaker Guide and take a look at this year’s Global Theme “The Future of Now.

We know SMW14 at NYC will be incredible, and we’re looking to you to help bring some of the best ideas forward! Help us take SMW14 to deeper levels.

How to Become a SMW Top 10

This is a guest post from She’s the First volunteer Andrea Bartz. 

Last February, the non-profit She’s the First (STF) had the opportunity to host an event for Social Media Week, in the official Social Good hub. STF, a social media-loving organization that funds girls’ educations in the developing world, started with all of the usual event ideas: Should we do a presentation? A regular ol’ panel? A (snooze) Powerpoint presentation?

Thankfully, we were struck with the idea we could shake things up with a talk show-style event featuring the most genius talking heads in social good, a DJ, Twitter cupcakes, and the best live studio audience ever. The presentation was, literally, standing-room-only, and the campaign around our event landed us a spot in the top 10 moments of Social Media Week worldwide.

Here are the three ingredients that made the event, dubbed “The New Face of Social Good – How to Create Your Own Social Media Magic,” such a blast:

A solid theme

Call it a shtick if you must. Sticking to the talk show theme, we booked a live DJ, gifts for every attendee (one-week yoga passes and some free app downloads from AppTerrier), and delicious cupcakes courtesy of Sprinkles. The organizing principle turned an ordinary panel into a party.

A cool campaign to spread the word and—more importantly—do good

In one night, we changed an entire year in the life of Eli in Tanzania — we encouraged fans to tweet #SMWMagic, and for every tweet, The Think Cloud generously donated $1. Thanks to the magic of social media, we sponsored her senior year of high school—an example, in real time, of how She’s the First’s work can directly empower young women to become the first in their families to graduate.

A killer line-up

Mashable’s (@mashable) managing editor, Emily Banks, introduced four dynamic and charming guests—Tammy Tibbetts (@shesthefirst), She’s the First Founder and President; Adam Braun (@pencilsofpromis), Founder and Executive Director of Pencils of Promise; Mike Padparvar (@HOLSTEE), Co-Founder of HOLSTEE; and Susan McPherson (@susanmcp1), Global Marketing VP of CSR/Fenton Communications—who each shared little-known stories on how ONE social media status update created a spark or started a ripple effect that ultimately launched huge movements and programs, changed lives, and achieved meaningful social change. Attendees (online and in person) were encouraged to tweet in their questions using #stfmagic; they walked away with solid techniques and tips for creating their own social media miracles.

International fashion icon Alek Wek (@TheRealAlekWek), the legendary Sudanese supermodel who had just turned to Twitter and Skype to be a stronger advocate for refugees in Sudan, introduced the event. The star-studded speakers were insightful and passionate, and by casting a wide net, the event drew in journalists, social entrepreneurs, and techies of all stripes—even the ones with an interest in fashion!

Check out the Storify recap of the campaign and event here. See you at SMW again in February!

Andrea Bartz is a STF volunteer and a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Brooklyn and can be found on Twitter at @andibartz.

Switch It Up: New Event Formats for SMW NYC

Who doesn’t like a good idea? With our initial schedule going live December 5th (it’s just around the corner!!), we’re expecting some amazing ideas coming out of SMW13! However, we don’t want any of your ideas to get lost in the shuffle. Even the best content can get buried if not highlighted properly. So, to help your idea stand out, we think a little change of format will help it shine. This week, we’ll sharing our tips to step out of the mold and switch up the traditional event.

1. Go fast.
Channel a little Speedracer. Rapid-fire presentations keep the audience engaged and on our toes. For example, PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for only 20 seconds. It was originally devised because most of us- talk too much. So, by using this format, you get the best in a short time frame. The best PechaKucha presentations are the ones that uncover the unexpected — unexpected talent, unexpected ideas. For example, this one on our irrational fears, like our fear of sharks.

2. Get secretive.
Speakeasies are popular for a reason. Sometimes a little mystery and intrigue are all it takes to pique our curiosity. Keep some details undisclosed and consider planning a few surprises throughout the event. Consider asking attendees for personal likes and dislikes and then build that into how you plan out the session. Or even release the event location the day before. Small things can create big experiences. A little secrecy can make your event different, personal and memorable.

3. Turn the event on its head.
We love collaboration. Consider having your speakers present the topic and have the crowd do more of the talking- or even give attendees homework before they arrive. Our friends at Econsultancy did this. Bringing in Lee Huang of Barnes and Noble, attendees were presented a brief and developed ideas for how Barnes & Noble could innovate. This put them at the center and gave them hands-on lessons about the challenges of innovating for a global company in a struggling industry. Involving the attendees in an interactive fashion is a sure-fire way to make the learning stick and make it more engaging.

4. Duke it out.
We all don’t need to agree. Debates are lively and insightful. Don’t believe me- just think of how many of us tuned in to all three of the presidential debates. Few things are black and white, so consider putting people with opposing views against each other. One of our favorite events, 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media, did this regarding hot-off the-presses results from their own survey. After the exchanges, let the audience decide who won. You’ll have plenty to talk about and it won’t be dull.

5. Draw on our wanderlust.
Who says an event has to be in ONE place? Put it on the subway, a bus, a walking tour or somewhere we haven’t even imagined yet! We’ve been jealous watching SMW Toronto and SMW Rome host an intensive, intimate rail event for special attendees. It’s time we brought that to NYC. Now, it’s just a matter of who decides the route. It’ll create an intimate atmosphere and and experience to make the event go well beyond the average.

6. Get creative.
These 5 ideas are just that- 5 suggestions. Don’t limit yourself to these formats or any other one for that matter. Ask yourself what you would love to sit through and experience, and then add it! But don’t wait too long- event submissions closes in just 6 weeks. It’ll be here in no time, and you can capitalize on getting your event the most visibility by submitting it now to be one of the first on our schedule!

We’re looking forward to seeing all the pieces come together for a great week with you.

Top image by Peter Gorges. Final photo by Joe Thomissen.

7 Ideas for Creating a Great Social Media Event

This is a guest post by Lindsey Taylor Wood, Communications Specialist and Advocate.

Social Media Week returns to New York City for a fifth year with the theme Open & Connected: Principles for a Collaborative World. A platform connecting people,
content, and conversation around emerging trends in social and mobile media, SMWNYC is calling for the city’s most forward-thinking agencies, corporations, non-
profits, startups, schools (guilds, covens, freemasonries, priesthoods, sleeper cells) to submit their event ideas.

As the innovation capital of the world, home to leading thinkers, agents of change and media pioneers, we know there’s a wealth of creative ideation to be had. So, we are looking for the boldest, brightest, most rabble-rousing ideas you have never even thought of. Until now.

Need something to chew on while you are brainstorming? See below!

7 Ideas for Creating a Great Social Media Event:

1. Rip It From The Headlines
There are great potential hooks all around you – just look to the news cycle. What’s happening politically, culturally, in your industry? How is it playing out in social media? Who’s leading the conversation? Oh that’s right – you.

2. Channel-Surf
Look no further than your trusty old TV – it is, after all, the original screen. Today, we watch our favorite shows over hashtags and revisit them over endless recaps. What would you be talking about over dinner? At the bar? Talk about that. The conversation will feel engaging and authentic. (P.S. When in doubt, just talk about Homeland.)

3. Meet Your All-Stars
Who in your industry are you dying to meet? Don’t pitch them yet another awkward coffee – invite them to join you on stage. And why stop at one? Stock your panel with the stars you and your community don’t normally have face time with.

4. Make It Servicey
People are more likely to join you if you can provide them with an ROI. Crowdsource what they want to know and then teach them!

5. Look To The Past
Forecasting is trendy and can be essential to the success of any organization, but it’s important that we also learn from the past. What are your greatest successes and failures? What case studies can you reference to underpin your point?
P.S. Everyone looks smarter talking about history. You already know how it ends.

6. Tap The Secret Power Brokers
Social media is an ever-changing landscape and it’s important to know who the outliers are. In the past it was Pinterest and middle aged-women. Who are the hidden influencers? Let your audience in on the secret – or let them tell you.

7. Discuss Dual Citizenship
It won’t be long before all of us are managing both our IRL and digital personas – and wrestling with the public/private divide. What are best practices? This can apply to virtually any areas of our lives. Go nuts.

Thinking outside the box is a surefire way to make your time at SMWNYC more memorable. Feel free to create something outside of the traditional panel format,
invite your community to co-create the program, and allow yourself to take risks.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Lindsey Taylor Wood is a communications specialist and advocate based in New York City. A champion of employing media to promote global citizenship, address human rights issues and galvanize social change, Lindsey has contributed to a variety of campaigns centered on conflicts in Central Africa; and The Enough Moment, a book by John Prendergast and Don Cheadle.

Ideas Wanted: Event Inspiration & Tips

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

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

Make It Better- Event Tips for You

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

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

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

Drawing Inspiration From the Best

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social Media Week Event Guide from tobyd

SMW NYC 2013: An Open & Connected World

Powered by Nokia for a third year, Social Media Week (SMW13) returns to New York February 18-22, 2013, joining Copenhagen, Doha, Hamburg, Lagos, Miami, Milan, Paris, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington DC.

With a new unifying global theme: Open & Connected: Principles for a Collaborative World, we’re inviting you and your organizations to Get Involved by submitting event ideas starting today, November 8th.

Since launching in February 2009, Social Media Week has served as a platform to discuss social media’s impact on major global events such as 2008 Presidential Election, the Haiti Earthquake, Arab Spring, The London Riots and now more recently with Hurricane Sandy. Each event has shown us that our society is united, connected and able to collaborate and self-organize in ways that we would never have been able to before.

Drawing on this our global theme Open & Connected: Principles for a Collaborative World, we will explore how we can further advance our understanding of social media’s role as a powerful and positive force in our lives.

“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy we have witnessed first hand the power of social media in helping people to self-organize to support those most impacted by the disaster.” said Toby Daniels, Founder & Executive Director of Social Media Week. “As a society we are united, connected and able to prepare, react and respond to catastrophic disasters in ways that we would never have been able to before. We hope our unifying global theme will help us explore how we can further advance our understanding of social media’s role as a powerful and positive force in our lives.”

Today, we invite you to join us. Using Open & Connected as a starting point, individuals and organizations interested in hosting their own events, talks, panel sessions, workshops, networking events and mixers in line with this global theme can get involved by submitting their idea here.

“The past week in New York has shown that social media is a real force in people collaborating, problem solving, and caring for one another,” said Jon Steinberg, President and COO of Buzzfeed. “It was the way we united last week and in the wake of the tragedy will fundraise and rebuild together. I look forward to this being the focus of Social Media Week 2013.”

Deadline for submissions is January 11, 2013, and you don’t want to miss out.

Top Photo by Linda Nylind