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.

Hub Spotlight: Business, Media & Communications, hosted by JWT New York

Following previous posts regarding the People & Society and Science & Technology Hubs, today we would like to share details about the Business, Media & Communications Hub, which is hosted by Social Media Week’s global sponsor JWT at their headquarters here in New York.

JWT is one of the world’s best-known marketing communications brands. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals.

JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues its dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to developing award-winning branded content for brands such as Bloomberg, Ford and HSBC.

Social Media Week is proud to be working with JWT and excited to also partner with their London, Toronto & São Paulo offices.


The Business, Media & Communications Hub will focus on everything advertising, marketing, publishing and enterprise related and will bring together some of the leading individuals and companies who are helping to shape the future of communications. Confirmed speakers include:  John Winsor, CEO of Victor & Spoils, David Eastman, CEO North America, Worldwide Digital Director, JWT, Benjamin Palmer, CEO/CCO of the Barbarian Group, Faris Yakob, Chief Innovation Officer, MDC/kbs+p.

Themes & topics covered will include:

  • Social production & mass collaboration
  • The future agency
  • Engaging the audience in publishing
  • Social commerce
  • Brands as storytellers
  • Branded entertainment
  • Humanizing brands
  • Data, analytics, and insight
  • Utilizing the social graph

This list is by no means comprehensive, but it provides a flavor of some of areas we will be covering.  The agenda will be released in January, however if you would like to suggest themes and topics that we should be covering, please let us know.

If you or your organization is interested in curating a session and helping to shape the programming at the Business, Media & Communications Hub we would love to hear from you.  Sessions are typically two hours in length and can include a series of talks, a panel, a workshop or seminar.  We encourage our guest curators to think creatively about their sessions and consider designing an experience that moves beyond traditional conference formats.

To submit a session idea, please visit the event registration page and reference which Hub you are interested in, in your application.

If you are interested in sponsorship or media partnership opportunities, we have some really exciting ways for brands to participate  in the experience and contribute to the programming. For more information please contact: toby@socialmediaweek.org

The Business, Media & Communications Hub is brought to you by Social Media Week organizers Crowdcentric & host sponsor JWT.

About the Hubs

Social Media Week Hubs include: Science and Technology Hub, hosted by Google; Business, Media, and Communications Hub, hosted by global advertising agency JWT; People & Society Hub, hosted by The Paley Center for Media; and Music, Gaming & Sports, hosted by Red Bull Space. As we mentioned in our announcement, we are also launching a fifth Hub which will cover Arts & Culture, the location of which we will share in the coming week or so.

#SMPR in NYC Discusses Social Media Uses within Public Relations

dani1About this Social Media Week Guest Blogger: Dani Klein is Founder and Blogger at YeahThatsKosher.com, Founder/Consultant at SocialCity Marketing and Social Media Director at StandWithUs. You can follow Dani on Twitter @YeahThatsKosher.

Packed into a bar near Times Square, #SMPR kicked off on the 1st night of Social Media Week in NYC. #SMPR events, organized by Elliot Schimel (Director @ Source Communications) & David Teicher (Social Media Manager @ McCann Erickson), are for Public Relations professionals using social media. This event involved a panel of PR professionals, and included plenty of time for professional networking, which was appreciated by all.

[Check out the video interviews with some of the panelists & attendees]

Moderating the panel was Leslie Campisi, VP & Partner @ Affect Strategies. The panel consisted of 5 PR professionals:

  • David Teicher, Social Media Manager @ McCann Erickson
  • Alex Payne, Digital Media Coordinator @ MWW Group
  • Danielle Mancano, Account Manager @ SHIFT Communications
  • Allison Martin, Assistant Account Executive @ Zeno Group
  • Keith Trivit, Account Executive @ RLMPR

Here are some snippets and quotes from the insightful conversation that took place:

Working with Clients:

    David: Clients don’t have accurate expectations of Social Media or set goals; people need a reason to be engaged.

    Keith: Social Media takes time, work, and effort to implement; Clients want to jump right into Social Media … important to slow things down.

    Alex: “Viral” has become a dirty word.

    Danielle: Small client marketing budgets are now given Social Media, however clients often lack goals; important to listen first and pay attention, followed up with action; bloggers need something tangible to write about.

    David: Use an app like CoTweet to manage a Twittering team for a client. Social Media can be used as a way to respond to Customer Service issues, Sales requests, or for the Marketing team to pitch a product.

Apple / iPad:

    Group: Apple is unique in that it could be hush-hush about their products. Apple’s quietness took its toll with the launch of the iPad. >> Apple’s PR team operates in stealth mode. >> AT&T 3G networked mentioned and criticized for poor service. Why use AT&T again for cellular coverage with known issues?

Great Quotes:

    David: Anyone can be the editor of the NYTimes because of our potential reach. Being timely is key in the digital world.

    Keith: PR is not rocket science, it’s common sense.

    Keith: Treat consumers like real people.

Crisis Management:

    Danielle: PR + Social Media can protect brands’ corporate image. PR agents: Finger must be on the pulse at all times. Be there before the crisis happens.

    Alex: PR teams should be anticipating issues, not responding frantically.

    Danielle: People will be talking about your industry or brand with or without your involvement.

    David: Have upfront protocol to anticipate as much as possible.

Video & PR:

Since the panel spent most of the time discussing Twitter & Facebook, I asked a question about the use of video within Social Media PR (I used Gary Vaynerchuk’s example of Domino’s Pizza dealing with a video PR crisis in 2009)

    Keith: Video pitches / press releases tell a story and give personality to the story.

    David: Videos can position a client as an authority. Example: Home Depot has “How-To” videos. Videos give a face to the faceless organization.

    Danielle: Video testimonials help build a community organically. Can be educational for consumers.


    Allison: Pizza Hut hired a “twintern” (Twitter intern) to give a young voice of the company on Twitter. The company received many placements and the company gained 12k Twitter followers as a result.

    Alex: Use Google Analytics for micro-sites. On Facebook, measure # of engagements, # of fan growth, and # of status updates (for pages exceeding 10k fans).

    Danielle: Check # of RTs, “Likes”, Comments, to create your own metrics.

    David: ROI has always been fuzzy, especially with traditional media. After a specific campaign ends, is there still buzz about it? Are people still discussing the campaign? That’s a good way to measure if you’ve been effective.

As you can see, lots of topics were covered at this insightful panel discussion. I am looking forward to the next #SMPR event in NYC!

Dani Klein regularly vlogs for JewishTravelTV (YouTube Channel)