Social Media Week Announces Five Content Hubs in New York, Invites Industry to Help Curate Program

We are now two months out from Social Media Week this February 7-11, and a LOT is going on. Following yesterday’s announcement that Nokia will serve as global headline sponsor of Social Media Week, today we are pleased to announce a new twist to the week for our third weeklong event in New York: five distinct “Content Hubs,” reflecting key areas of focus for conversations on the societal impact of social media.  These five physical hubs will host daily programming and cover these themes: People and Society; Art and Culture; Business, Media, and Communications; Science and Technology; and Music, Sports and Gaming.

With today’s announcement, we are also releasing a very preliminary version of the schedule of events for New York, as well as select sponsors and keynote speakers.  Many events are still TBD and of course there are many more to come, but please take a look to get a sense of some of the exciting things to look forward to in February. The preliminary schedule can be found here:  Registration for these events will open on Tuesday, January 11, 2011.


The locations of four of the Hubs have been confirmed already with Google hosting the Science and Technology Hub; global advertising agency JWT hosting Business, Media, and Communications; The Paley Center for Media hosting People and Society; and Red Bull Space hosting Music, Sports and Gaming.  We hope to announce host Art and Culture Hub within the next week.

JWT Logo

“JWT is heavily involved with Social Media Week on a global level,” said Social Media Week Board Member David Eastman, who is Worldwide Digital Director and North American CEO at JWT.  “The conference has grown in importance and stature, much as the social media space itself has.  By hosting and participating in this essential series of events, we are helping both educate the audience as well as ourselves.”


Continuing the collaborative theme of Social Media Week, the New York organizers are looking to co-curate a significant proportion of the content by soliciting event ideas from some of the city’s leading thinkers and practitioners in the fields of social and mobile media.

Stephanie Agresta, Social Media Week board member and EVP and Managing Director of Social Media for Weber Shandwick said, “Social Media Week is leading the charge to globally scale the community of digital thought leaders driving this important channel.  By creating connections among influencers around the world, SMW is providing a valuable service to consumers and brands alike.”

In addition to Weber Shandwick, confirmed content curators in New York include: MTV, Financial Times,  New York Times, Frog Design, the New York Public Library, Edelman, the Barbarian Group, Saatchi Wellness, 360i, GOOD, The Personal Democracy Forum, Morris & King, Deep Focus, Publicity Club of New York, Fenton Communications, Wholefoods, Foodspotting, DotBox, Comedy Central and many more to be added.  Confirmed speakers include JWT’s David Eastman; Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley; Meebo CEO Seth Sternberg; John Winsor, founder and CEO of agency Victors & Spoils; with many more to be announced.

Social Media Week New York is one of nine cities simultaneously hosting Social Media Week this year, along with London, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Toronto, Hong Kong, São Paulo, and now Istanbul, which was added to the global lineup this week.

Global support for Social Media Week is led by mobile communications giant NOKIA, with additional support from global partners Meebo, a social platform with more than 180 million users; and JWT. Other brands involved around the world include Google,Vodafone, Oi Telecommunications (Brazil) and Fiat Motors.

The strength of Social Media Week lies in the collaborative efforts of the community.  There are many ways to get involved in the conference. To participate as a brand partner, sponsor, event host, panel speaker or volunteer, please visit:

You can see a full version of the release here:

For all press and media inquires, please contact Ben Scheim of Crowdcentric/Social Media Week at +1-347-224-3996 or by email at

Crowdsourcery Potions 101: Recap

jmakkarAbout this Guest Blogger: Johnny Makkar is a digital marketer who blogs at Attention Digital. You can also find Johnny on Twitter @jsmakr.

Crowdsourcing was definitely a hot topic in 2009. It will only continue to become more relevant this year as we witness more brands and their agencies wanting to further experiment or push innovation on future projects.

The Crowdsourcery Potions 101 event started and ended by focusing on the different view points related to crowdsourcing and what the term meant to each panelist (more on that below). As the discussion went on, it became clear who was more excited about the future possibilities of crowdsourcing and who was cautious about it’s role in the future of advertising.

Michael Lebowitz (Founder and CEO of Big Spaceship) voiced many concerns on crowdsourcing creativity. He mentions “once you turn something into a commodity, it’s no longer creative”, stating that people should always be compensated for their experience and work. Something as simple as a logo contest taps into a lot of talent but the result is typically only one participant getting compensated for their time. Michael also emphasized how powerful culture can be and how it can easily be lost in a more distributed world…”you can’t curate culture in.

Ty Montague (Co-President and Chief Creative Officer, JWT North America) believes we are only getting started when it comes to the possibilities of crowdsourcing and is paying close attention to the different experiments that are happening in the industry. He thinks some brands will harness the power or crowdsourcing better than others to build stronger reputations and solve their business problems.

He also brought up the Andy Awards a couple times which for the first time chose to crowdsource the jury election process using This voting “experiment” was considered to be a success after it attracted more than 37,000 votes according to Adweek, but he did note that it wasn’t perfect and there are still many ways to improve the process for the coming years.

Is crowdsourcing the best name to use going forward? Faris Yakob (Chief Technology Strategist, McCann Erickson New York) points out it doesn’t matter what we call it, because “having access to more people who can do things is a good thing.”

John Winsor (CEO at Victors & Spoils) doesn’t like the term crowdsourcing because some people may associate it with broader outsourcing and cheaper labor. “Crowdsourcing (putting out to the masses) is one thing, the idea of creation is a super important part of it.” He emphasizes the goal at Victors & Spoils is to create a global talent pool that can work on client projects who recognize having an agency of record is no longer the only solution.

Late in the discussion, several examples were brought up that rely on many variations of crowdsourcing including YouTube, Wikipedia, and a new car company called Local Motors.

Browse Twitter search using #smwcrowd and #smwnyc + crowdsourcing for more and enjoy the event video in its entirety below if you couldn’t attend or watch live.

I was only disappointed when the panel was asked to define crowdsourcing toward the end that nobody responded with “let’s ask Twitter!”

Other Key Quotes

(most under 140 characters, apologize for any differences in advance):

“All crowdsourcing is still self selected, everyone has the right to not participate.” — John Winsor

“The world is going to get a lot more diverse.” — John Winsor
“Clients problems and great creative minds are going to aggregate around solving problems no matter what type of environment they work in.” — John Winsor

“People and money are going to aggregate around the best ideas.” — John Winsor

“Engagement is the product” — Faris Yakob

“The trick is to get people together and give them something to do” (on branded online communities) — Faris Yakob

“Once you turn something into a commodity, it’s no longer creative.” — Michael Lebowitz

“Crowdsourcing is not very collaborative, but a great suggestion box on steroids.” — Saneel Radia

“Build “scaffolding” for people to contribute to a collaboration effort.” Saneel Radia which he admits he stole from @shaunabe

“I love the wisdom of crowds but I don’t like the output of crowds very much.” — Michael Lebowitz

Research done with 1 million Facebook fans is marketing.” — Faris Yakob

“Co-creation is a phase that very unexplored by most companies.” — Saneel Radia

“If you build systems to encourage people to come and collaborate, rather than compete, you’ll get more wisdom from your crowd.” — Saneel Radia via @denuology

“We’re on the verge of a remaking of business and what a company is” — Ty Montague

For further reading and discussion on crowdsourcing and general thought leadership on the future of the marketing/advertising industry, here is where you can find the panelists:

Connect with the panelists:
John Winsor: @JTWinsor | Blog | Victors & Spoils | Amazon
Ty Montague: @tmontague | JWT North America
Michael Lebowitz: @BigSpaceship | Posterous | Big Spaceship
Saneel Radia: @saneel | Denuo
Faris Yakob: @faris | Blog | McCann Erickson New York

Further reading:
A crowdsourcing ad agency: can it work? (Creativity Unbound)
Crowdsourcing a Discussion on Crowdsourcing (EyeCube)
Can Creativity Be Crowdsourced? (Ad Age)
Will work for all it’s worth – the launch of Agency Nil (BBH Labs)
The Actual Crowdsourcery Bit (Talent Imitates, Genius Steals)