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

The Jigsaw Puzzle Approach

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I was speaking with a friend the other day and he asked me how things were going with the preparations for Social Media Week.  Having answered this question numerous times in the past few weeks, I have begun to develop an analogy that best describes the process and experience of planning a very complex, distributed conference.

Planning Social Media Week is a bit like working on a giant jigsaw puzzle, only that rather than the puzzle being a standard size, with a set number pieces, it is more amorphous and constantly growing, and in some cases the pieces keep dividing into smaller pieces.

The reason for this is because the number of people, partners and collaborators involved in organizing Social Media Week runs into the hundreds and the total number of venues will be around fifty and the number of attendees will probably top 2,000.  However, despite how wonderfully complex this makes planning process, the rewards as you start seeing the jigsaw’s picture emerge is incredibly gratifying.

So, why did we develop such a complicated model? There are three main reasons:

  1. Removing the burden of an expensive venue, reduces the cost of hosting the conference, allowing us to allocate sponsorship revenue towards production, which in turn allows us to keep attendance free for almost all events.
  2. We wanted to take advantage of the cities underutilized, iconic and interesting space, that traditionally is not used for conferences. Here in New York we are benefiting from space in the New York Times, Wired, Time Inc and IDEO, among many other wonderful venues.  The other cities are all doing the same.
  3. Distributing the conference over multiple locations allows us to host many more events, which in turn helps us reach more people with a more diverse range of topics.

In addition to reducing costs, utilizing alternative space and designing a broader program, the model behind the team for Social Media Week is also structured differently.  Rather than take a top down approach, we instead build a team made up of key influencers in the space, who bring a range of experience and understanding to the conference.  The program of events and the overall format is very much a reflection of the thirty or so people involved,  and of course a reflection of the wider community who are also instrumental in helping to build the program of events.

The reason for sharing this was motivated in part because as we move towards the launch of the conference there are many people asking about the how everything works, when the schedule will be live and when it will be possible to register for events.  Understandably, people are frustrated when only three weeks out there is not a publicly available agenda.  The reason for this is simple.  It’s not ready yet.  It will be, very soon, but it’s not yet.  It would like to be notified when it is, please send an email to or if you want information on another city, you can reach them through their site.

I hope however, that through sharing how the program comes together, people will be more patient and understand that despite this rather unorthodox approach, the quality of events, the learning experience and the opportunity to connect around emerging practices and trends in social media will more than make up for any frustration felt in the build up.