A Student’s Perspective: The Guardian Interviews Alec Ross

Mehrunnisa Wani is a student at Columbia’s School of Journalism. She is one of ten students providing on the ground coverage of SMWNYC- all from the student’s perspective. She is providing her report from The Guardian Interviews Alec Ross.

“What does the Internet have to with foreign policy and diplomacy? In this day and age, if you care about human rights you have to care about the Internet,” said Alec Ross, senior advisor for innovation, Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As evident from the Arab (Internet) Spring, social media was an effective vent for the outrage and the wave of the frustration that swept through Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and, most recently, Syria.

Tweeples, Facebookers, and YouTubers worldwide were all proponents of this change. With their succinct slogans, videos, and blog entries they encapsulated the depth of the oppression. The revolution was filled with narratives of twitter handles and even fact-checking was a collaborative effort, or what veterans would call a crowdsourcing activity.

Some dubbed it as the greatest tools of this age and others went as far as crediting it for fermenting the chaos and subsequently, toppling regimes. Despite the divergent views on the platform, it catapulted social justice campaigns worldwide, abetting and enabling leaderless protests.

The role of technology is, of course, integral –and now becoming closely intertwined with diplomacy. With governments realizing this, some are constricting expression and others such as the United States are allowing its ambassadors, some 195 have twitter accounts and 170 have Facebook accounts, according to Ross.

Ross, however, doesn’t credit technology—wholly—for the toppling of dictatorship-based regimes, but he is finding solutions to the gravest health, economic, social problems in developing nations through social media applications. It’s a new wave – the social networking-diplomacy era, where fostering ties between nations is done through programs like Apps4Africa, bringing fifteen nations and discussing solutions which, in the end, will yield innovative methods in tackling economic development issues and paving ways for sustainable long-term projects.

The consensus is that it is a tool for civic engagement, where information is readily available and movements are accelerated, but what happens when people achieve their goal, when governments are overthrown? Who helps with picking up the crumbs? Are plan of actions created?

“Though social media has proven to be a tool for dissent, it has not yet proven to be a successful tool for governance,” said Ross. With tools set forth by the State Department, Ross hopes that governance connects with the governing and social media takes out the implicit elitism in governing. Two things for sure, social media is equalizing the world and creating a forum of communication between the governing bodies and the people. Social media has become the weapon of the first world, but what about the third world?

 

Mehrunnisa Wani hails from Kashmir, India. She is currently a masters candidate at the Columbia School of Journalism learning to report stories in various mediums, all the while familiarizing herself with the digital media boom so she can utilize those skills to connect the world one story at a time. In the future she hopes to cover conflict zones, learn to code and change the world – simultaneously. She resides in Queens, New York. Follow her on @mehrwani.

See You Friday! A Guide to Day 5

The end is near! One more day before SMWNYC closes out- and that means one more day for you to take part! Tomorrow hosts a powerful lineup and we're very excited to for you to be a part. Haven't registered? These events should get you in the SMWNYC mood.

8:30-9:30am at Bloomberg: Keynote: Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn on The StartUp of You: A revolutionary new guide to thriving in today’s fractured world of work

9-9:30am at Big Fuel: The Guardian Interviews: Alec Ross

9-10am at Hearst: Where is social media taking the travel industry in 2012?

9-11am at Thomson Reuters: Keynote: Jeremy Heimans, CEO of Purpose, followed by Panel: Building A Transnational Human Rights Movement

10-11am at Big Fuel: RAPP presents RAPPATHON- Hacking for Change: A New Way of Collaboration

10-11am at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Biomarkers & Technology: Can Age be Reversed?

10:30-11:30am at Hearst: Untapped Drive: How innovation and entrepreneurship is revolutionizing daily life through social media & tech platforms

12-12:30pm at Big Fuel: Digital Fireside Chat: David Hirsch on Venture Funding

12-2pm at Hearst: The New Role Models: Chefs, Cooks, Bloggers & You — An Interview with Amanda Hesser, Robyn O'Brien & Bun Lai, followed by Who is Kale's PR Agent & What Dictates a Food Trend?

12-2pm at JWT: The LinkedIn Difference: How Brands Are Building Deep Connections with Professionals

2-3pm at Quirky: The Freelance Revolution: Independent Worker Collaboration & Innovation Through Online Communities

2-3pm at NY Public Library: GAME/WORLD: The New Collaborative Community

2:30-3:30pm at Big Fuel: Peer Pressure: Using the skills we learned in 6th grade for good

2:30-4:30pm at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Feast on Health

3-4pm at Thomson Reuters: Leveraging online platforms to inspire social good

3-4pm at Hearst: Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll: Social's Steamy Side

3-5pm at Bloomberg: Keynote: Jalak Jobanputra on What in the World? The Global Startup Scene: Micro and Macro Trends Fueling Tech Growth around the World followed by Panel: NYC’s Digital Growth through Public Private Sector Innovation: The Role of Government in Fostering NYC

5-6pm at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: TEDx New York Salon Explores Health & Wellness

6-8pm at Columbia Journalism School: Challenging Conventional Wisdom of Social Media: Socmedia editors share their latest ideas

6:30-8:30pm at ShowBiz Cafe: Getaway To A Healthier Gorgeous You: How Social Media Empowers Change In Medical Tourism (sponsored by Medaway Health)

Keep your eyes posted on Twitter (and maybe ensure your phone's camera is intact…) for some fun closing activities tomorrow. And don't forget you can get around in style this week: Download the (free!) GroundLink mobile app now, and you save $20 on your first ride. Just use Invite Code “SMW20” when you set-up your account.

See you tomorrow!

See You Thursday! A Guide to Day 4

We’re building up steam, so don’t lose energy now! The final two days are packed with some incredible speakers, which are still open for you to register. Not sure what options you have? We’d recommend checking these out.

9-9:30am at Big Fuel: The Guardian Interviews Gabe Zichermann

9-10am at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Keynote: Jay Walker on To Change Faster, We Must Decide Better

9-11:30am at Thomson Reuters: Keynote: Douglas Rushkoff on When Change is Always On followed by Panel: Just Like The 60’s: How Social Media Has (Or Hasn’t) Changed Civic Movements

9-11am at Hearst: Keynote: Elisa Camahort Page on Rewriting Keystroke by Keystroke followed by Panel: The Dawn of Companion TV

10-10:45am at Dominion Theater: A Conversation with Nick Jonas, moderated by Jason King

10-11am at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Investors in the Hot Seat: Leading Health Investors Pitch To StartUps

12-12:30pm at Big Fuel: Digital Fireside Chat: John Winsor on Connections 2.0

12-1pm at Ogilvy: We’re All Social Now: How B2B Marketers Can Get With the Conversation

12-2pm at Thomson Reuters: Weapons of Choice: The Design of Insurgency

12-2pm at Hearst: Keynote: Jonah Peretti, Founder and CEO of BuzzFeed on the Future of Sharing followed by Panel: Creating Start-Ups Inside Traditional News Organizations

12-2pm at Ogilvy: Keynote: Rohit Bhargava on The Seductive Myth Of Brand Storytelling: Why Some Stories Work And Most Don’t

3-5pm at Thomson Reuters: Keynote: Jeremy Gilley, Founder of Peace One Day followed by Panel: Should we occupy Occupy Wall Street?

3-5pm at JWT: Harnessing the Power of Social Content for Advertisers

3-5pm at Big Fuel: Edial Dekker on The Rise of the New Sharing Economy followed by The Trust Economy

3-6pm at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Alternative Funding for Healthcare Innovation followed by Crossing the Chasm: Healthcare Innovation Matchmaking Session

4:30-5:30pm at Hearst: In the Twitter Kitchen: A Cookie Bake-off

5-6pm at Edelman Worldwide: My Social TV App Thinks I’m My Dad: Privacy Issues In The Age of Convergence

6-8pm at JWT: How and Why We Share: The Seven Deadly Sins of Social Media

6:30-8pm at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Networking Reception with Sanofi US Innovation Challenge

Enjoy the lineup and we’ll see you Thursday!

See You Monday! Guide for the First Day

Before you know it, Monday will be here- do you know where you’ll be, though? In case you haven’t determined your schedule for Monday, these are some of our recommendations to get your week started off on the right foot. Events are still open, but you better register fast! With names like Don Tapscott, John Bell and Dan Abrams on the roster, we imagine these will fill up quickly.

9-9:30am at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Fireside Chat: The Creative Social Revolution – What in the world is going on?

9-9:30am at Big Fuel: The Guardian Interviews, hosted on the Nokia Global Stage at Big Fuel: Don Tapscott

9:30-11:30am at Bloomberg: Keynote: John Bell, Global Managing Director at Ogilvy, on The Insidious Plot to Socialize the Enterprise

10-12pm at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Keynote: Carol McCall on Big Data & The Eye of the Beholder

12-2pm at Hearst: Keynote: Dan Abrams followed by Panel: Democratizing The Conversation: The Future Of Brand Journalism In Social Media

12-2pm at JWT: Keynote: Valerie Buckingham on This is Your Brand on Ziplines: Authenticity through Social Media followed by Panel: Beyond Borders: Impact of Social Media in a Global Economy

12-12:30pm at Big Fuel: Digital Fireside Chat: Social Listening with Patricia Gottesman, CEO of Crimson Hexagon

1-2pm at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Fast Forward Health presents 73 Cents followed by Q&A with Regina Holliday

2:30-3:30pm at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Power to the Patient

2:30-3:30pm at Big Fuel: SMWNYC Demos in association with Techstars

3-5pm at Bloomberg: Keynote: Howard Lindzon followed by Panel: The Evolution of Reg-FD: How Social Media Has Changed Investor Relations

3-5pm at JWT: State Your Case: Research vs. Social Analytics

4-6pm at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness: Designing For Desire

4-5pm at Big Fuel: 10×10: Educate Girls, Change the World. Accelerating social change and leveraging media, technology and innovative strategic partnerships to get there.

4:30-5:30pm at Hearst: Social Sharing and The Art of Doodling

See you Monday!

New Events Added to SMWNYC

As we’re finalizing our robust schedule for SMWNYC, we realize some of our newer events might be overlooked. And to ensure you know all that’s happening and don’t miss a thing, we’re here to update you on these events. We think you’ll like ’em:

How to Create Facebook Custom Pages Workshop: Learn how a ‘custom’ Facebook Page can help you stand out.

Making government listen: Using Web 2.0 technology to revolutionize how we communicate with our government: Technology offers a powerful opportunity for empowerment and tech makes government more transparent and accountable.

The Agency of the Future: Hosted by our Global Supporting Sponsor, Ogilvy, we’ll discuss what new skills are needed and how they apply across key marketing and communications industries — social tv, social CRM, mobile and video distribution.

Fixing Health From the Outside In: Explore case studies on Ford’s collaboration with Healthrageous, Weight Watchers impact on “diabesity,” and Jawbone’s entry into health.

The LinkedIn Difference: How Brands Are Building Deep Connections with Professionals: Join our local sponsor, LinkedIn, for a discussion focusing on how top brands are at the leading edge by marketing on LinkedIn and hear about some of the emerging tools they’re using to carve out a significant presence on the platform.

Networking Reception with Sanofi: Sanofi and the Data Design Diabetes team invite you connect and collaborate with the next generation health tech innovators.

Fireside Chat: The Creative Social Revolution – What in the world is going on?: Join our fireside chat discussing what was breakthrough/groundbreaking in Health and Wellness this year.

Biomarkers, Technology, and Age-Reversal: Help us explore the case of Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow, who engaged in a four-month experiment to turn back the clock on decades of drinking hard, smoking, and eating a lot of processed food.

Power to the Patient: What does it mean to be a patient in 2012? Or rather, an e-patient? Join us as we debate.

Guardian Interview with Jalak, sponsored by Nokia: Don’t miss our Global Media Partner, The Guardian, as they interview one of our keynotes, Jalak Jobanputra, up close and personal.

Food + Tech: With a growing number of startups entering the food startup community, it’s not only difficult to differentiate yourselves, but also monetize your ideas. We’ll dine and chat- join us.

Buddy Media Cocktail Mixer: Cocktails. Buddy Media. Need we say more?

My Social TV App Thinks I’m My Dad: Privacy Issues In The Age of Convergence: TVs are rarely personal devices. So how do you make sure that Mom and Dad’s Cinemax movies aren’t posted to their kid’s Facebook walls? Let’s talk privacy.

More than “Likes” Can Say: Join Microsoft, as they’ve assembled a panel of people who can show and tell how people’s activities and contributions online can contribute to a better overall web experience – in some very unexpected ways!

Covering the 2012 Election Socially: With NYT, Washington Post, and CNN, this panel discussion will focus on how social media is changing the way we’re reporting the presidential election this year.

Guardian Interviews Don, sponsored by Nokia: Global Media Partner gets to know our global keynote from Canada, Don Tapscott.

We’re All Social Now: Why B2B Marketers Can Get With the Conversation: How do B2B marketers adjust their strategies? Is there a difference in the way workers interact with their professional versus personal networks online? This panel will explore the kind of differentiated marketing programs leading companies are putting into place and lay out the new roadmap for engaging followers in a B2B world.

Social Media Week’s Opening VIP Reception Hosted by Nokia: Our invite-only special opening party.

Reflecting on 2012 Grammys Digital Partnerships, Social Media and Innovation: Following the 54th GRAMMY Awards, Beverly Jackson of the GRAMMY team will head to NYC to recap the Social, Digital, and Mobile initiatives that went into planning and executing the award ceremony this year – What did and didn’t work?

We all have Influence Somewhere: The Next Great Social Media Transformation: Kred CEO Andrew Grill and a panel of senior marketers will discuss the science and philosophy behind Influence, and why used properly it is an essential tool for building rich engagements and brand loyalty.

BtoB’s New York NetMarketing Breakfast: This breakfast will feature a panel discussion between B2B marketing executives on how they’re using social media ato drive response and the tactics and tools that are working from them.

Leveraging online platforms to inspire social good: Hear from experts on how they’re taking control and making a difference in the world through their use of the internet to leverage the power of community.

Rich Media Stories: Presenting case summaries from leading brands we will demonstrate how they are using rich experiences to make their social outreach more tangible, meaningful and valuable.

Getting to the Meat of the Tweet Redux (The Meatier and Tweetier Sequel): Applying Big Data Analytics to Social Media Data, Hosted by Opera Solutions: We’ve assembled some of the best to discuss what’s state-of-the-art for applying Big Data analytics to social media data and what it all could mean for business, politics, government, and the rest of us.

Keynote: Howard Lindzon followed by Panel: The Evolution of Reg-FD: How Social Media Has Changed Investor Relations, Hosted by StockTwits: Howard Lindzon is founder and CEO of StockTwits. Howard will share insights on how firms can best leverage social media to enhance investor communications, followed by corporate communications leaders sharing their experience.

Maintaining Authenticity and Transparency: How Financial Advisors Are Using Social Media to Build their Business, Hosted by Actiance: Listen to case studies that show how financial advisors are using social to build their book of business, and discover these industry leaders’ predictions on where the industry is headed in 2012.

Retail Banking Redux: Can Social Media Create a New Paradigm?: At this event, we describe how social media, particularly Foursquare and Facebook, increases consumer loyalty and the bottom line.

Social Media HAS Changed the World: With The Red Cross and DonorsChoose, this panel takes a look at how non-profits are using social media to get the word out about their specific programs and to listen to the problems facing a community.

With events like these, you don’t want to waste any time. Register today- and tell your friends! We’re looking forward to seeing you in 6 days!