Alex Blumberg of Gimlet Media to Discuss Building a Media Company in the Age of Podcasting at SMW New York

Alex Blumberg is known for his work on This American Life and Planet Money, and recently launched Gimlet Media as a result of his latest podcast, StartUp. To say the least, Alex Blumberg knows quite a bit about the business of podcasting, storytelling, and audio’s role in the larger media landscape.

This year at SMW New York, Alex Blumberg will discuss Gimlet Media and his journey of building a media company with foundations in audio storytelling and journalism. “Listen Up: Building a Media Company in the Age of Audio with Alex Blumberg, CEO of Gimlet Media” will take place on Tuesday, February 23 at 11:30am on the FWD Stage of The TimesCenter.

★ Register today by purchasing your pass ★

About Alex Blumberg

Prior to This American Life, he worked as a freelance radio reporter, contributing to This American Life, the Savvy Traveller and Chicago Public Radio. In 2008 he collaborated with National Public Radio economics correspondent Adam Davidson to co-host the Planet Money podcast.

In August 2014, Blumberg started Gimlet Media, a podcasting company, along with Matthew Lieber. Blumberg documented the startup process of launching Gimlet Media in the first season of a podcast called StartUp. The second season followed “Dating Ring”, another startup company, and recently StartUp returned for a mini-series featuring Blumberg and other employees.

Along with StartUp, Gimlet Media has three additional shows: Mystery Show, Surprisingly Awesome, and Reply All. The company raised $1.5 million in seed funding from various investors and firms, as well as listeners of its shows to help raise the last $200,000 through crowdfunding platform Alphaworks.

Blumberg also won the George Polk Award in Radio Reporting for his reporting with Adam Davidson for a May 2008 show titled “The Giant Pool of Money”. The piece explained the highly complex chain of events that led to the subprime mortgage crisis by showcasing interviews with participants at each sector of the crisis. The episode was linked widely in the blogosphere and remains one of the show’s most-downloaded podcasts. (via Wikipedia)

View The Initial Program Of Events for SMW New York

Social Media Week New York, now in it’s 8th year, brings together thousands of professionals in marketing, media and technology. We’re excited to announce the initial schedule and speaker lineup for SMW New York, which takes place this February 22-26.

Join us across our two official venues, and hear from organizations such as Ogilvy, Starcom MediaVest, MRY, Forbes, Mashable, MTV, The Economist, GE, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Spotify and many more!

Register for SMW New York

If you’d like to hear from visionary speakers, and join the thousands of attendees that come to Social Media Week in New York each year, register today by purchasing your pass. You can also save 20% until January 14th!

Image Credit: The Guardian

Ricky Van Veen of CollegeHumor and Vimeo Will Discuss Content and Distributed Media Models at #SMWNYC

Platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter are up-ending the media business. But will that end up killing it in the process? Publishers and advertisers, content producers and creators, advertisers and agencies are all dealing with the repercussions of distributed media models. But, can the business we’re in as-we-know-it survive the amount of change necessary?

Ricky Van Veen (College Humor and IAC Executive), along with Ian Schafer (Founder and Chairman of Deep Focus) and Lisa Weinstein (President of Starcom Media Group) will explore the (possible) end of times in media, publishing, and everything in-between.

Join us at SMW New York for this session, “Mediapocalypse! Are Platforms Killing The Business Of Media And Advertising? And Why Won’t Anyone Talk About It?” taking place on Tuesday, February 23rd at 2:30pm on the FWD Stage at The TimesCenter.

★ Register today by purchasing your pass ★

About Ricky Van Veen

Ricky Van Veen is one of the principal owners and founders of Connected Ventures, a company formed around CollegeHumor that included BustedTees and Vimeo. He created the site as a student at Wake Forest, and was earning around $10-15 million a year before the partners sold a controlling stake to IAC, where Ricky is now an executive.

In 2009, Van Veen was appointed to become the CEO of the new production company, Notional, which produced material for traditional television. One of Notional’s most noteworthy TV shows is “Chopped” on the Food Network.

Ricky Van Veen also appears in some of CollegeHumor’s video series such as Jake and Amir and Hardly Working, as well as the former MTV program, The CollegeHumor Show.

View The Initial Program Of Events for SMW New York

Social Media Week New York, now in it’s 8th year, brings together thousands of professionals in marketing, media and technology. We’re excited to announce the initial schedule and speaker lineup for SMW New York, which takes place this February 22-26.

Join us across our two official venues, and hear from organizations such as Ogilvy, Starcom MediaVest, MRY, Forbes, Mashable, MTV, The Economist, GE, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Spotify and many more!

Register for SMW New York

If you’d like to hear from visionary speakers, and join the thousands of attendees that come to Social Media Week in New York each year, register today by purchasing your pass. You can also save 20% until January 14th!

Image Credit: WPR

Dan Harmon of “Community” Will Join NBCUniversal’s Evan Shapiro at #SMWNYC to Discuss Comedy and The Cultural Zeitgeist

The world is at an inflection point, similar to broadcast television’s boom in the 70s and 80s. Today, this boom is evident in content production across various platforms. How is this booming genre affecting the cultural zeitgeist? Does comedy flourish when reality is dark?

Join NBCUniversal’s EVP of Digital Enterprises, Evan Shapiro, as he reveals the strategic approach to the current media landscape with Seeso, NBCUniversal’s new steaming comedy channel. Joining him on stage will be Dan Harmon, Creator and Executive Producer of “Community”, “Rick and Morty” and “HarmonQuest.”

On Tuesday, February 23 at 1:30pm, the digital and entertainment duo will present their keynote, “Comedy: A Love Story with Evan Shapiro and Dan Harmon” at SMW New York.

★ Register today by purchasing your pass ★

About Evan Shapiro

“Evan Shapiro is EVP, Digital Enterprises at NBCUniversal. He works on the strategic development of digital opportunities to reach emerging audiences, including alternative platforms and direct to consumer distribution models.

Shapiro joined NBCUniversal in 2014, and previously was President of Participant Media’s Pivot, which launched in 2013, and grew to reach 44+ million subscribers under Shapiro’s lead. Prior to Pivot, Shapiro served as President of IFC TV and Sundance Channel, where he steered both networks to new business and programming models that garnered each network their first Primetime Emmy nominations, as well as a Golden Globe Award win for Sundance Channel.

He has also executive produced numerous acclaimed original documentaries and series, including This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Brick City, HitRecord On TV, and the hit series Portlandia.” (via Variety)

About Dan Harmon

“Dan Harmon is best known for creating and producing NBC comedy series Community, co-creating Adult Swim’s animated television series Rick and Morty, and co-founding the alternative television network/website Channel 101. He also hosts a weekly eponymous podcast, Harmontown.

In July 2009, Harmon was nominated in two Emmy categories for his part in writing the Oscar telecast: Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special and Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics, the latter of which he was awarded for “Hugh Jackman Opening Number” at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards.” (via Wikipedia)

View The Initial Program Of Events for SMW New York

Social Media Week New York, now in it’s 8th year, brings together thousands of professionals in marketing, media and technology. We’re excited to announce the initial schedule and speaker lineup for SMW New York, which takes place this February 22-26.

Join us across our two official venues, and hear from organizations such as Ogilvy, Starcom MediaVest, MRY, Forbes, Mashable, MTV, The Economist, GE, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Spotify and many more!

Register for SMW New York

If you’d like to hear from these speakers, and join the thousands of attendees that come to Social Media Week in New York each year, register today by purchasing your pass. You can also save 20% until January 14th!

Image Credit: The LA Times

Announcing The Launch of SMW New York’s Initial Program of Events for 2016

Social Media Week New York, now in it’s 8th year, brings together thousands of professionals in marketing, media and technology. Today, we’re excited to announce the initial schedule and speaker lineup for SMW New York, which takes place this February 22-26.

Join us across our two official venues, and hear from organizations such as Ogilvy, Starcom MediaVest, MRY, Forbes, Mashable, MTV, The Economist, GE, Pinterest, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Spotify and many more!

Session Spotlight

This year’s SMW New York event will feature 60+ official sessions between The TimesCenter and SVA Theatre. Some of the topics include: data & analytics, paid media, video, content marketing, mobile messaging, virtual reality, ad-blocking, growth marketing, and much more. Take a look below at a sampling of the events we’re excited for, and click here to view the initial 30 sessions that are confirmed for next month’s event.

  • “Mediapocalypse! Are Platforms Killing Media and Advertising? And Why Won’t Anyone Talk About It?” presented by Deep Focus
  • “Bracing for the Ad-Blocked Future: How Brands are Moving Beyond the Impression” presented by Crowdtap
  • “Hello Founders: Meet the Generation After Millennials, and What Sets Them Apart” presented by MTV

First Round of Confirmed Speakers

Individuals from leading organizations across marketing, media, and technology will join us in New York to direct the conversation. This year, we’re thrilled to announce some of the speakers confirmed for February 22-26, with more to be announced in the coming weeks:

  • Mark Thompson, CEO of The New York Times
  • Alex Blumburg, CEO of Gimlet Media
  • Evan Shapiro, EVP, Digital Enterprises, NBCUniversal
  • Jennifer Betka Wakeford, CMO of StubHub
  • Dan Harmon, Creator and Executive Producer, “HarmonQuest,” “Community” and “Rick and Morty
  • Kate Lewis, SVP and Editorial Director of Hearst Magazines Digital Media
  • Ian Schafer, Founder and Chairman of Deep Focus
  • Ricky Van Veen, College Humor & IAC
  • Lisa Weinstein, President of Starcom Media Group
  • Glenn Minerley, VP Group Account Director of Momentum Worldwide
  • Scott Carlis, VP Digital & Social Media of AEG Global Partnerships
  • Camille Hackney, EVP Brand Partnerships & Licensing of Atlantic Records
  • Kevin Knight, Head of Creative and Brand Strategy of Pinterest
  • Joe Rospars, Founder and CEO of Blue State Digital (and President Barack Obama’s chief digital strategist for 2008 and 2012 campaigns)
  • Garance Franke-Ruta, Washington Editor of Yahoo News
  • Tina Cervera, SVP and Executive Creative Director of VaynerMedia
  • Addie Conner, former Chief Innovation Officer of SocialCode
  • Sean Foster, Chief Executive Officer of Crowdtap
  • Afdhel Aziz, Brand Director of ABSOLUT Labs
  • Joahne Carter, VP of Marketing of Ricola
  • Ron Pinelli, CPA (FL), VP Digital Research and Standards of MRC
  • Peter Fasano, Global Consulting Principal of OgilvyRED

How to gain access to these speakers and events

If you want to gain access to these events, and join the thousands of attendees that come to Social Media Week in NYC each year, register today by purchasing your pass. You can also save 20% on your purchase until January 14th!

Genius Parking Maneuver Or Scumbag Move? The Internet Can’t Decide

Parking in New York is a never-ending challenge. We recoil and scoff at the phrase “just park in a garage” as if a friend visiting for the weekend suggests meeting up at Penn Station. Well, New Yorkers will do just about whatever it takes for a prime parking spot, and we may have found the King and Queen.

A vigilant driver in Queens turned on his dashboard camera to record the parking heist of the century. What happened? The driver explains all:

“I get to work early and wait about 30 minutes for a spot. A red Nissan pulls in front of me and in the most obnoxious way blocks me from moving forward. What happens next shocked me. The guy guides the red Nissan all the way to my car. I am out of options at this point so I just watch what his plan will be. The other car drives onto the sidewalk and goes perpendicular to the road. The rest is history.”

As you can see, it’s quite the move. But, the Internet, especially this Reddit thread, has mixed feelings. Does the heist deserve praise in this dog-eat-dog world? Are these wrongdoing scallawags the jerks of 2015? It is New York after all. Well, either way, at least this parking scandal had a clear winner, unlike other instances where two cars just refuse give up…

SMW New York Returns with a New Campus Experience and 20% Discounted Offer

Our primary goal continues to be providing SMW attendees with content and programming at the highest possible standard throughout the week. Over the next few weeks and months leading up to February, we’ll announce more updates on how you and your organization can get involved, events added to the schedule, speakers confirmed to lead sessions, and more SMW New York info.

The New Strategy for SMW New York in 2016

  • More seating capacity
    To address demand, especially for Masterclasses, all official programming will be held at two large theaters: The TimesCenter and SVA Theatre.
  • Fewer Available Passes
    We believe in quality over quantity, and therefore will reduce the number of available passes to ensure seating for sessions of all interested attendees. This reduction means more space, more seating, and the end of long lines!
  • Two Pass Options
    We’re keeping it super simple by offering two options for registering: Campus and Insider Passes. Insider pass holders receive access to official parties and exclusive networking opportunities, and both passes grant you access to official sessions, masterclasses, co-working space, exhibitor installations, and more.
  • Special Discount Offers
    The regular rate for the Campus Pass is $799, and $999 for the Insider Pass, but now until January 14th, we’re offering a 20%-off sale for each. You can learn more about the pass options, and register for SMW New York here.

Attendees will be under the same roof as some of the world’s most visionary people and industry leaders connecting through the #SMWNYC pillars:


Data & analytics
Paid media
Content marketing
Mobile messaging
Virtual reality
Growth marketing


New York Times
Vice Media


Two stages
Simulcast viewing


We also have an exclusive hotel offer if you’re traveling from outside of New York or the U.S. Our Official Hotel Partner, YOTEL New York at Times Square West, has a special deal for #SMWNYC attendees, and you can learn more here.

Thank you for your continued support, and we hope you will join us in February. You can stay up to date with #SMWNYC announcements by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook, and signing up for our newsletter.

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016

SMW NYC 2016



Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.

Human connectivity is being reimagined everyday, and SMW seeks to understand how humanity and technology will come together to change the ways we live, work and create.

Social Media Week New York, now in it’s 8th year, will welcome thousands of attendees from NYC’s top tech, advertising, media, and Internet industries this February 22-26, 2016. You can also learn more about our global theme for Social Media Week in 2016, “The Invisible Hand: Hidden Forces of Technology

Stripe Co-founder John Collison Joins #SMWNYC Lineup

Stripe was founded after twenty-four year old John Collison and his brother Patrick encountered problems with online payments in their previous businesses. Since then, Silicon Valley has been in love with Stripe’s promise—believing its coding tools could build a world where we can easily pay for stuff through nearly any app or web service.

Andy Thomas

Stripe is at the forefront of a disruption in the payments industry that has been long overdue. Cashless mobile payments are set to be a major focus for retailers and brands, along with platforms, such as Facebook’s and Twitters new “buy” buttons, both powered by Stripe’s code. And with high-profile partnerships with the likes of ApplePay and now Kickstarter, Stripe is clearly having its moment.

On Thursday February 26, John Collision examines the future of the world’s online payment systems at Social Media Week New York.

In addition to learning start-up secrets from Stripe’s John Collison, you can learn how to be more productive with over 60 masterclasses, including:

  1. Is Data The Future Of Journalism?, hosted by Medium
  2. Storytelling With Vine: How To Create Short Form Video That People Remember, hosted by Mashable
  3. Swipe Right: What Tinder Can Teach Brands
  4. Ephemeral Messaging Masterclass: Maximizing Your Snapchat For Storytelling
  5. Decoding Wearables: Leveraging Wearable Tech Platforms In Campaigns
  6. Interactive Video Workshop: Tactics For Optimizing Your Content And Strategy
  7. Marketing Lessons From Crowdfunding: The Psychology Of Success
  8. Unlocking The Language Of Code To Increase Your Digital IQ
  9. Vimeo Video School Live: Creative Toolsets To Engage A Global Audience
  10. Growth Hacking Quick Wins: Strategies To Increase Customer Base

Today, we’ve announced many new incredible official and independent events. Check out the latest lineup here.

Get your pass today here, and join us and our partners for what will be an extraordinary week of exploring our upwardly mobile, connected world. Grab your pass to get full access to SMWNYC!

Where Fashion And Technology Collide: A Talk With Meredith Kopit Levien, New York Times

After a flirtation that lasted over a decade, 2014 was the year when fashion and technology finally got hitched. Fashion labs incubated new approaches to shopping and design and technology realized that fashion is not so superficial when it can be used to make innovations like Google Glass desirable. It’s a marriage that showcases technology in a way that takes advantage of what fashion does best – inspire desire.

On Thursday February 26, Meredith Levien of the New York Times will invite a renown CEO from the luxury fashion industry (to be announced) to discuss how fashion is putting sexy back into technology and how technology is making fashion smarter.

Check out the latest lineup of speakers and events here, then get excited to join us for a week you won’t forget. Grab your pass to get full access to SMWNYC!

Your First Look At #SMWNYC

SMW NYC is just around the corner, and we want to give you the first look at what’s to come! Today we unveil our initial Official Schedule. We told you BuzzFeed, The New York Times and Mondelez would be sharing their insights with you. In addition, SMW15 includes events like:

See the full preview of Campus at Highline Stages here, then get excited to join us for a week you won’t forget. Grab your pass to get full access to SMW15!

And don’t forget, you have just 2 days left to add your event for SMWNYC. Go here to learn more, and share your idea with us today!

Check Out Facebook’s New NYC Offices

Facebook is officially unveiling its new New York City office on Astor Place.

The company started moving teams into the new space back in February when it was still undergoing construction.

“Taking a moment to look back, when we first moved into this building in February it was an open construction site, and it’s been really rewarding to have all our employees together as we watch it take shape around us,” site director Serkan Piantino writes. “We’ve seen a dozen pieces of artwork created, filled a library with our favorite books, opened a coffee bar for business, enjoyed the views looking down Broadway and daily sunsets over Greenwich Village, and, most recently, cut the ribbon on Desimone’s café with really quite incredible cuisine from our executive chef Nate Eckhaus.”

Facebook is marking its official opening with a party tonight for NYC engineers and other techies.

“We’re heavily invested in the growth of the New York tech community and eager to see what else is to come,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

Take a tour of Facebook’s new offices over on Business Insider.

Why I’m Going To Social Media Week A Second Time

A lot of baby boomers seem to trust that millennials know social media just because they’re millennials. I used to think this too — until I attended Social Media Week six months ago.

A career change

I went to school for journalism. I decided when I was just 12 years old that it’s what I wanted to be. I was on the school newspaper every year. I was in yearbook every year. I went to journalism summer camp — hey, don’t knock it — the last two summers of high school. I was on college newspapers and did five internships.

After two years as a freelance journalism and getting very steady work — mostly in hyperlocal news — I had had enough and wanted to quit.

I had no idea what the heck to do next. But I figured what made the most sense was to transition into what we called “the dark side” in journalism school — that’s right, public relations.

I soon nabbed a contracting job at a startup events agency — and I knew a bit more about social media than my boss. Suddenly, it became my job to tweet, post, and write blogs.

I realized I really liked this — and I kind of had a knack for it!

When millennials joined social media, it was a different ballgame

I joined Twitter in 2009, three years after it was founded — basically at the very end of the social media site’s infancy. I didn’t even want to join, but since I was in news, it was kind of required.

I followed local organizations, things related to my university, news people, and local businesses. Being a TV newsroom intern, I got mad praise — like, the mental equivalent of a red velvet cupcake with butter cream frosting — for knowing things via Twitter before my superiors.

My bio read “Journalist. Student. Adventurer. Veritas Inlustrat.” My location was listed and anyone could see my account.

Back then, that was enough.

Hip, aggressive businesses and state organizations followed me. It wasn’t long before I had 500 followers. I literally didn’t have to do anything but exist on Twitter as a journalist and the stories found me.

I started picking up stories from organizations I found out about or from people I’d talked to on Twitter. I got an internship later doing legislative news and even found business and political advocacy trends because people followed me and tweeted about them.

When I started my boss’s Twitter account, I did not earn 500 followers by doing nothing. I did a ton of things and got 200 followers — most of which were probably not going to hire us.

Looking for learning opportunities

When I was in school, I learned the basics in my journalism classes: how to use hashtags, how to search for things, how to tweet your stories. But most of that stuff evolved and was useless two or three years later. Everybody (including both of my parents) had joined Twitter, and there was a lot more static.

I started trying to self-educate. I read social media blogs, but I hadn’t yet found the sources I read now (Social Media Examiner, Mashable’s social media section, and Forbes’ social media section). It wasn’t enough. I asked a friend who was in social media what I could do to learn.

“Well, there’s a conference called Social Media Week,” she said. “Look it up. I might go.”

This was last summer. I had never heard of Social Media Week. When I looked it up, I knew I had to go.

I convinced my boss it was the right thing to do, and off I went!

You think you know, but you have no idea — this is the real world, social media

I completely overbooked my schedule at Social Media Week Chicago last September. I was literally running from place-to-place.

I felt like the smarty-pants in a few sessions, but most of the time I’d never felt so dumb in my life. I’m ashamed to say that I had no clue what ROI was (give me a break, I only took into to marketing in college and I was more focused on making fun of my professor’s True Religion jeans than anything on the smart board).

Another thing I didn’t know about social media was that depending on what you use it for, methods greatly vary. This is obviously a problem for someone who has more than one social media client. I was struck by how many different sessions there were and how many ways businesses use it — from marketing to journalism to analytics to law to human resources.

I tried to go to sessions in which I didn’t already know what I was doing — and it turned out to be the best thing for me. Most of what I learned at Social Media Week 2013 in Chicago is what I use at work now.

Why I’m going again

Feeling like I was in over my head in some sessions at Social Media Week wasn’t discouraging. In fact, it was encouraging.

Although social media wasn’t my expertise yet — and I literally had no idea I was so oblivious until the conference — I realized I’m lucky enough to have a different background. Journalism taught me how to easily ace original content creation and have good judgment on what’s interesting and what’s not.

Furthermore, when I got home I did “interviews” with other professions — otherwise known as networking. I soon learned social media’s dirty little secret: nobody really knows what they’re doing. I met people who work in it, have better jobs than I do, and realized after looking them up on Twitter that I have more followers than they do. Or I notice they could be using their company’s Facebook page better.

I’m not pointing these things out to criticize anybody or be the smarty-pants in the room, I’m pointing it out because it’s so clearly something that will always be evolving. It will be difficult to learn what you do can better in social media from year-to-year if you remain stagnant. That’s why I immediately decided to go to Social Media Week in New York City. Although I now have some good sources of information, that’s certainly not enough.

Given I’m just starting out in social media, thus I don’t have much money, I’m not sure I’ll be going to the next conference. But I do know that I’ll certainly try to get a grant or convince a boss to send me.

Lane Blackmer is a self-employed former journalist. Although she’s no longer a newsie, Lane since discovered other uses for social media such as public relations, marketing, job searching, and trying to win gift cards from her favorite local businesses through contests. Lane inhabits Philadelphia, where’s it’s not always sunny…but at least there’s cheese steaks. You can follow her on Twitter at @LaneBlackmer.

5 Minutes With Huffington Post’s Roy Sekoff

Yesterday, we helped get things moving towards SMW NYC with our partners, HuffPost Live. Covering how safeguarding free expression and an Open Internet is still a critical issue, they hosted a dynamic exchange on the current issues facing both our country and the global community, with leading thinkers, including: Jillian York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Andrew Rasiej of Personal Democracy Forum, and Christine Chen of Google and moderated by Ahmed Shihab-Eldin.

Not only was it engaging and get you thinking, but it also displays the professionalism and innovation that represents HuffPost. With their use of Google+ On Air HangOuts, HuffPost Live does live integration of social media better than most.

And we’re thrilled to be partnering with them this year! SMW NYC is honored to have President and co-creator of HuffPost Live, and founding editor of Huffington Post, Roy Sekoff, join us. Before his event, get to know him a bit more:

Roy, this year, our global theme is “Open & Connected: Principles for a Collaborative World.” How does The Huffington Post embody or support this idea?
HuffPost thrives precisely because our staff is utterly committed to all three of these attributes. Openness and transparency are core principles at HuffPost – both culturally and editorially. We are obsessively connected – which is good, because collaboration is the lifeblood of what we do. Rare is the email or GChat that isn’t rapidly – and creatively responded to.

The publishing industry is undergoing change overall; and the Huffington Post has been a leader in that. Where do you see the future of journalism and publishing heading?
HuffPost has been around for almost 8 years. In that time, we have seen the rapid rise of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and so many other game-changing products. We adapted and incorporated them all into what we do, but can’t say that we saw them coming. So, in a time like this, one rife with innovation, trying to look into a crystal ball and divine the future seems like a fool’s game.

The Huffington Post has continued to innovate, making waves in social video. How is the development of HuffPost Live leading the way and where do you see social video heading?
With HuffPost Live, we have placed our bet on people’s growing desire to engage with the news – on the shift from presentation to participation. They want to help shape the stories – and the issues – of our time. HuffPost Live was designed as a platform for engagement – one that puts our users front and center in what we do.

What has been the biggest success from HuffPost Live?
Because of our commitment to engagement, we are proudest of our engagement metrics, which confirm that we have created a unique and addictive social and community offering. Over 6,500 guests have joined us from all over the world via Skype and Google Hangouts. Over 750,000 comments have been left on the HuffPost Live platform (with many more left on HuffPost stories that have HuffPost Live videos embedded in them). And our users are spending over 15 minutes on the site per visit.

As more news and media outlets rely upon citizen journalism, how can the issue of accuracy and accountability be adapted? What recommendations would you have for smaller outlets just getting started?
Accuracy and accountability are vital. For us, that means doing everything we can to assure the accuracy of what we publish, and moving quickly and transparently to correct any mistakes that are made.

Advertorials have come under scrutiny lately, and we’re seeing many outlets experiment with different revenue models. What trends are you seeing for media and entertainment outlets maintaining a profit?
As the old models plateau, brands are clearly looking for fresh ways to reach consumers. And it’s important for publishers to try to lead the way in that innovation – but it’s critical not to blur the lines. Consumers value high-quality content, whether it comes from publishers or advertisers, but they should never be confused about the source. Our key touchstones are authenticity and transparency.

What are you most excited about for SMW NYC?
Thursday’s session on “The Shift from Presentation to Participation.” It will be a great discussion.

We couldn’t agree more. A big thanks to Roy for taking the time to talk with us. Make sure you check him out in-person this SMW NYC or join via livestream!

Social Style: Fashion Brands Put Their Best Digital Heel Forward

Luxury fashion brands face the challenge of maintaining a particularly delicate balance in the social space: sustaining an aura of exclusivity while simultaneously enhancing accessibility.

Social media allows brands such as DKNY and Tory Burch to reach a wider audience of not only current consumers but also brand adorers and prospective purchasers — those who might not be able to afford the products now but still deeply admire the brand and aspire to purchase in the future.

Many fashion brands are successfully utilizing social media to provide brand loyalists with rich content that enhances and extends the brand experience for both current and future consumers. Twitter and Facebook allow brands to communicate with devoted followers who can amplify the brand’s message through their own networks. Perhaps a credit to its core nature as a highly adaptive and creative field, fashion is paving the way in experimenting with more robust channels and innovative content.

Luxury brands are now leading the way in many aspects of the social space, and their efforts are not going unrecognized.

As we consider social innovation in 2012, it is worth taking a closer look at what fashion brands are doing in this space. This year’s third annual Style Coalition Fashion 2.0 Awards, which perfectly align with not only Social Media Week but also New York Fashion Week, honors the luxury brands who are getting it right in social media.

Forward-thinking brands such as DKNY and Oscar de la Renta are best-in-class examples of community building and innovation and platforms such as Pinterest and Pose (as well as some up-and-coming platforms such as Stylitics) are becoming valuable tools for engaging with brand advocates in new ways.

Social media will continue to evolve as consumers continue to expect more interaction and engagement with their favorite brands and products. The fashion industry is putting its best foot forward in the digital space. As new platforms and strategies continue to flourish, the brands that will be most successful in 2012 are those that are able to carefully select the methods, tools, and platforms that align with their brand voice, message, and consumer base.

Isabella Josefsberg lives in New York City and works in digital advertising. She also writes on social media, tech, and fashion at You can follow her on Twitter at @IsabellaRachel.


Twitter: The Fresh Censor

According to The New York Times’ Bits column, Twitter has sent a message that will flutter in the timeline. The social media microblogger will censor content viewed as inflammatory by selective nations. A grey widget will pop up in the time feed, stating that, “This tweet from @username will be withheld in: Nation X.” Disruptive content could range from banned literature written by Salman Rushdie to criticism of oppressive global regimes. Twitter’s previous policy included an absolute removal of content on a worldwide scale, rather than a selective process of elimination. Censored Sign

The U.S. Government would alert Twitter of content it wished to be removed for security reasons. A few users have speculated that government officials are looking to manage the influence of offline sociopolitical movements (Occupy Wall Street, Arab Spring) that mobilized in the content stream. Others are enraged after the company voiced its disapproval of the SOPA bill, but did not black out with Wikipedia two weeks ago. Some analysts feel that Twitter wants to penetrate market sectors with competing platforms and stronger firewalls (China). Their strategy’s motive will be revealed in time.

In my mind, the message is clear. Content may be king. Censorship wants to be the checkmate. The volume of communication across platforms has evolved to such a high degree that governmental intervention is not surprising. Social media is a young communication device. The medium has empowered the voice of many users, giving strength to the disenfranchised. Consumers express their beliefs in unlimited community forums. As opposed to prior forms of expression in world history, digital censorship has no tangibility. Firewall proxies are solved by hackers within minutes. The facts are simple. Borders do not exist in cyberspace. Censorship cannot control the unseen.

Abdul Fattah Ismail is a digital marketing specialist with expertise in content development. He lives in New York and is an MBA graduate in Marketing Management from St. John’s University. He has contributed articles for Blueliner Marketing and Talent Zoo.  

SMWNYC Attendee Tips…from an Attendee

Many of your fine social media-savvy folks are aware that the official floodgates for Social Media Week 2012 registration have opened. As a resident New Yorker, I’ll be hitting the pavement hard throughout the NYC boroughs, blitzing innumerable SMWNYC 2012 events for the second consecutive year. As a returning attendee, I figured it apropos to offer some helpful suggestions to newbie attendees mapping out Social Media Week schedules. My attendee tips for planning your Social Media Week visit:
  • Don’t fret if your schedule looks kind of sparse right now.  As of this writing, even I – as an overzealous, overenthusiastic attendee – have some gaps in my week-long schedule. But have no fear…there are TONS of events that are going to be added in the next days.
  • Be sure to actually register for the events you want to go to.  So often last year naive attendees thought that just because SMWNYC events were free, they could just walk in…NOT TRUE. Planners are understandably strict about having your registration with you, so just make the reservation. It’s quick, painless and FREE!
  • Vary your schedule with “different” kinds of events.  While obviously every event is centered around social, digital media and tech, it’s important to keep your schedule of events diverse with events that you are passionate about. Be bold! Sign up for events that are related to your true personal interests: music, fashion, the arts — whatever it may be. The great thing about the week is that it brings ALL kinds of worlds together to speak about social, so there is a tremendous depth and breadth to the schedule for attendees to enjoy. It’s totally worth it, for both mental stamina and sheer happiness. Happy Planning!
Greg is a motivated Cornell University Hotel School alumnus, affectionately known as a Hotelie for life, with keen interests in social and digital marketing for hospitality and lifestyle brands. He’s passionate about sales and marketing in the hospitality industry, specifically as it relates to the dynamic online space. In his free time, Greg obsesses over growing his musical intellect (both modern and past-time artists apply), tennis, and running skills. Check out his lifestyle blog covering these topics at

SEO vs. Google+

Pundits have been ready to bury search engine optimization as a tool for data valuation in the web. One writer proclaims that conventional web crawlers will finally stand still. Social media networks, in his mind, now represent the referral source for content. On the other hand, this writer from State of Search says for internet scions to hold off on those proclamations. He states that while search index results will be pushed farther down the page in favor of personalized social media lists (Google+), the integration won’t take hold for awhile.

Google+ Image

Looking at both cases, I would not worry for the moment. Unless I am an ardent user of Google+. Your queries for simple knowledge acquisition could be obfuscated at the expense of the search monolith. Google+ has decided to adjust their algorithm to deliver results based on your social media presence and online history.

In short, you search for “Ethiopian Restaurant Reviews in D.C.” Instead of seeing results from leading content providers like Yelp and Zagat, you’ll see individual reviews from John and Jane at the top of your index. One could ask this question: What is Google’s strategy with Plus?

I have an account and like the tool integration of mail, search, chat, and so forth. But it hasn’t registered into my daily social experience. I don’t feel like I’m alone in relaying this sentiment.

As a result, it appears that they are featuring the product at all costs.

The author from State of Search also mentions that a security option toggle allows the user to turn off personal results for privacy measures. Nevertheless, the damage is slowly spreading. Google’s strategy to drive user statistics for their social media tool could backfire.

A cynic may feel that research development was already compromised with the emergence of Google and Wikipedia. They are wrong. Society may look to their immediate network for credible solutions. They are also wise enough to seek knowledge from those who deliver content with expertise, intelligence, and passion. Despite the age, this axiom lives in the cumulus cloud.

Abdul Fattah Ismail is a digital marketing specialist with expertise in content development. He lives in New York and is an MBA graduate in Marketing Management from St. John’s University. He has contributed articles for Blueliner Marketing and Talent Zoo.  


Apple and The New Voice Generation

Voice Command LogoAs the year closes, the modern world will reflect on those notable moments that set the tempo of 2011.  The late Apple visionary Steve Jobs will surely gain more coverage.  New CEO Tim Cook has moved forward with strategic developments that are flying under the radar. One of them involves voice technology.

Voice Command is not a new communication tool.  I recall having it on my Samsung SCH-8500 back in the day. The effectiveness of voice command, however, has not been kind when bridging the communication gap. At least not for myself.

I recently purchased an iPhone 4s.  Many of us know that Apple’s latest mobile device comes with the Siri technology, used to search for queried data across several applications.  For a long period, I abstained from using the command API. I reasoned that I already possessed Google applications which cover all of my search demands clearly through keystrokes.  Recently, I have tested Siri’s algorithm with various geolocation query.  The microphone is really slow to pick up notes in a crowded street district like Fifth Avenue.  I found the algorithm a little more accurate in a controlled setting.

One setting which Apple has not conquered is the television marketplace.  Customers of Apple TV have developed into a devoted, static customer base.  Studio producers are not ready to lose their distribution rights just yet, with online advertising scale still in development. Siri Logo

Tim Cook is looking to change the sea tide with further advancements.  According to this piece from the Wall Street Journal, the Cupertino-based giant wants to integrate motion and voice to the home viewing experience. Patents are being submitted for approval.  The iPhone Siri is then a smaller piece of the corporate spectrum.  Here is the message.  Apple wants to further develop the communication between hardware.  In the future, you could speak into your smartphone to power a multitude of devices. Microsoft Kinect uses motion sensor technology to execute gaming procedures.  Television remains a business clinging to its traditional system despite the changing dynamics of content access.  Apple has proven, however, to transcend early innovation entrants with aplomb.  The effects are seismic.  Siri wonders what can Apple help TV with right now. So do I.

Abdul Fattah Ismail is a digital marketing specialist with expertise in content development. He lives in New York and is an MBA graduate in Marketing Management from St. John’s University. He has contributed articles for Blueliner Marketing and Talent Zoo.

E-Commerce Knocks On Gentlemans’ Closets

The e-commerce marketplace for men remains undefined. A swarm of websites has emerged, offering a multitude of collection pieces. Statistics have proven for years that men despise entering a store to purchase clothing. As a result, hubs such as Mr. Porter and Gilt Groupe flourish by providing esteemed labels at lower price points.  Gilt Groupe has built a microsite, segmenting even more exclusive men’s fashion named Park & Bond.  A former Ebay executive is entering the market with a new concept named Trunk Club, where shoppers receive a booty of goods, choose their favorites, and return the rest.  Aldo, the Italian shoe designer, also rolled out a new microsite dubbed Mr. B’s Gentleman’s Boutique.  The collection, unlike the other purveyors, showcases original leather-crafted products, ranging from bags to footwear. Felt Boots, Park & Bond

It is clear that men have far more channels to survey available products. Marketers, nevertheless, are still trying to solve the dilemma of drumming up sales figures. Ricardo Poupada of believes that a brand has to add a little more.  “With deals targeting men, the smart money is moving beyond product discounts to deals that offer novel experiences, with a focus on quality.”

As a man who places a high quotient on sartorial matters, I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Poupada’s sentiment.  I scour all types of forums to identify, locate, and purchase goods.  I not only want to find exclusive products, but also durable ones that will last over time.  They become part of my personality, telling the world of my life experiences upon first glance.

Men live for discovery.  They also want to stand out amongst their peers. Creators of men’s products should heed these tidbits for 2012.  E-commerce merchants have built outstanding user experiences online.  Many more need to connect offline for the hearts and wallets of men.

Abdul Fattah Ismail is an interactive marketing specialist with expertise across a range of online strategies. He lives in New York and is an MBA graduate in Marketing Management from St. John’s University. He has contributed articles for Blueliner Marketing and Talent Zoo.

Leveraging LinkedIn to Land a Job-Job: Part 1 of 2

I’d like to offer some point-counterpoint commentary on a topic matter that currently occupies a lot of my physical and mental energy consumption: how to optimally leverage your LinkedIn network to land, as I affectionately like to call a “full-time position with benefits.” A Job-Job. While I am currently enjoying my flexible schedule freelancing for various Manhattan start-ups as both social media strategist and sales manager, I am really after that Job-Job.  As a social media enthusiast, I am hell-bent on finding ways to optimize my usage of LinkedIn to get ahead and land that ideally suited position.

I recently stumbled upon a really interesting infographic (because seriously, what infographics have you come across that weren’t interesting?) billed as the LinkedIn Boot Camp (praise you Mashable and Pete Cashmore!). It immediately sparked a barrage of pre-conceived opinions I possessed about this social networking site. I decided to take the time to offer a bit of a point-counterpoint analysis on this, largely spot-on piece outlining nine ways to best take advantage of the site’s functionality and features. Note: please excuse the somewhat corn-ball ‘boot camp’ metaphors that each point leads with; they were’s, not this author’s, choice of vernacular.

  • Point #1 – Core Conditioning: Completing Your Profile This is a no-brainer, baseline action item that you should check-off your LinkedIn To Do list as soon as possible.  From an SEO perspective, completing your profile in full is a crucial component of managing your own personal brand.  To be more transparent, as the infographic accurately points out, your LinkedIn profile will consistently index as a top 5, first page search result when you, or more importantly, potential clients and future employers, “Google you” in search for more information on your background.  So get on this…pronto!
  • Point #2 – Endurance: Connect with Everyone – I’m not sure that I fully agree with this.  Yes, direct connections are integral to building your network and, in turn, would presumably improve your ability to leverage said network for both business lead generation and professional opportunities.  That said, you should not dismiss the very clearly stated message that LinkedIn champions each and every time you reach out to ‘LinkIn’ with someone (yes, the term has become a verb); that is, it is notbest practice to connect with someone you do not know at all or, more specifically, someone who has very little to do with the professional space that you occupy. Every generic, rather innocuous LinkedIn invitation that I receive from someone I have never met in my life just makes me feel like I’m being ambushed by some obnoxious telemarkterer.  So unless you have some affinity for bantering with telemarketing folk, I would steer clear of this spammy-practice.

    Image by Christopher S. Penn via Flickr
  • Point #3 – Guns & Ammo: Customize Your URL and WebsitesLike point #1, this is another ‘no-brainer’ that needs to be at the very top of your To Do checklist, not only for SEO purposes but for ensuring that your profile maintains a clean look and feel.  After all, you are the keeper and protector of your own personal brand, a brand that I contend is the most important out there (lo siento Starbucks…).

Hope these first three points were a helpful start to all of you savvy, social networkers out there. Here’s to hoping your next step is your LinkedIn page. Stay tuned for the second half of this point-counterpoint LinkedIn discussion…

I’m a motivated Cornell University Hotel School alumnus, affectionately known as a Hotelie for life, with keen interests in social and digital marketing for hospitality and lifestyle brands. I’m very passionate about sales and marketing in the hospitality industry, specifically as it relates to the dynamic online space. In my free time, I obsess over growing my musical intellect (both modern and past-time artists apply), tennis, and running practice.

Event Spotlights: Hosted by Meebo

Meebo is hosting breakfast and lunch events in New York and San Francisco, so check out these exciting discussions on both the East and West Coasts while you get your grub on!

What’s the event? The Social Web – Have We Arrived? Breakfast in New York and Lunch in San Francisco
Where? NY: Business, Media & Communications Hub at JWT; SF: SPUR, 654 Mission Street
When? Tuesday, February 08, 2011
What time? NY: 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM; SF: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Who is hosting the event? Meebo
What’s the event all about? Often labeled a fad, a buzzword or a mystery, the notion of “social” on the Web is at the heart of many misconceptions, and with good reason. The definition of the social web continues to change in fundamental ways. There is already evidence that this year will mark even more change, as people look to connect more seamlessly around Web content – articles, photos, videos and more – no matter where they are on the Web.

These connections around content will define our social experience, and they represent a tremendous business opportunity for website owners, publishers and advertisers. For the first time, the traditional idea of an algorithmic-driven Web experience, where content is primarily found through search, is challenged by a people-centric Web experience, where it is discovered through shared connections.

Meebo will lead a discussion on the changing definition of the “social Web.”  This conversation will explore whether the social Web has truly arrived, how people are currently using it and what website owners and brand advertisers need to consider when they think about the social Web and their target audiences.

About Meebo: Integrating all social networks and communications channels into a single, simple-to-use solution, Meebo enables users to easily share content and communicate in real time with the people who matter to them (via website).

Alysha Lalji is a contributing writer to the Social Media Week blog and works in digital communications at Deep Focus.