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!

Spotlight on Nathaniel Perez, Head of Social Marketing at SapientNitro

Continuing our breakdown of local sponsors, we’re taking a deeper look at SapientNitro, an integrated marketing and technology company, building relationships between consumers and brands.

Nathaniel Perez, head of social marketing for SapientNitro, shares his insights on where marketing and technology are taking companies. He’ll also talk a little about how SapientNitro is challenging the way you look at education and just how they’ll be involving you in SMWNYC.

Read on, and keep up with this team on Facebook and Twitter.

How did SapientNitroSM get involved in Social Media Week? 
This is SapientNitro’s second year participating in Social Media Week NY and our first in DC, Miami, and San Francisco. The organic, collaborative approach of the festival draws people who are truly passionate about the space and are shaping its role for tomorrow. The quality of the content, the speakers, and the attendees is first class. But it’s the spirit and energy of the festival and the connections we make that bring us back.

SapientNitro has been involved with SMW NYC in the past and is continuing their involvement in SMW NYC’s Social & Environmental Change space. How is social change a part of your ethos/culture? 
SapientNitro has a human-centric mindset: from HR policies focused on human capital, to deep research skills in human-centered experience design and anthropology, to social experience. Our people are organically and heavily involved in social change and social good activities. In addition, we often takes on pro-bono work that is aimed at leveraging digital for social change, such as Malaria No More and Communication Shutdown (global autism campaign). We pride ourselves in having the heart to apply our digital skills to effect change. And we do so at SMW again, hoping to create change through a dialogue about the very things we do.

SapientNitro is a leader in integrated marketing & technology. What interesting trends are you seeing in this space and where do you see it going in the next few years? 
The next few years will not only be about harnessing Big Data, but about monetizing it. Transformation in the creative, social and digital media arenas will be required in order to make media much more reactive to trends, which we will soon be able to analyze in the moment. There will be a reversing of the social engagement model, widely moving from reactive to proactive models, with live insights always on tap.

As an international brand, what differences do you see in these trends across cultural borders and how does Sapient incorporate this into your strategies?
Technology today is the expression of human and advertising behavior. As the technology and audience landscape vary dramatically across regions, we are seeing different patterns of digital and social ecosystem formation. We study human behavior across cultures, understanding the differences in passions and pathways to engagement. Once we understand what relevant technologies will lead to the expression of local behaviors, we can activate locally relevant strategies successfully. That being said, the trends we see are global. The approaches we envision to monetize them are also global. Different regions will however require implementations that are locally sensitive, especially to language, linguistics, media behavior, social networks, social data sources and technographics.

Can you give us a sneak peek at what SapientNitro has in store for SMW NYC? 
On Tuesday, Feb 14 we’ll be leading a discussion in the Social & Environmental Change hub about the Classroom of the Future. Through a series of group exercise, videos, and discussion around new ways to get students the resources they need, we’re going to ask these innovators to envision a futuristic classroom – and we’re going to ask you to help. By the end, we want everyone to have a vision of what a socially empowered, and more equal, educational system in American could look like.

On Thursday, Feb 16 in in the same hub, we’re going to bring history to life. We’ll assemble some of the voices of both Berkeley and Zuccotti Park and explore how technology has, or hasn’t, changed social mobilization and protest over the course of 40 years. We’ll look at images, video, hear stories from the protestors, as well as members of the media, to understand how much the dynamic of civic movements has been affected by the technology boom. We want good, healthy debate, so we’ll provide opportunities for our speakers to challenge and learn from each other, as well as from you.

What are you most looking forward to regarding participating in SMW NYC again? 
Creating experiences that spark dialogue and connections, long after the festival ends. (And, we admit, the closing party is a hoot.)

On the Ground at Social Media Week: Social Good Hosted by SapientNitro

Throughout this week we’ll be posting on the ground accounts from individuals that attended New York Social Media Week events.  To participate, email a blog submission to

Check out the hashtags #socialgood and #smwsapient for more insight into the conversation surrounding this event.  For the event description, click here and to watch the entire panel via Live Stream, click here.

The final day of Social Media Week NYC 2011 included a panel from New York City sponsor SapientNitro, and was one of three incredible panels that they graciously curated over the course of the week.  I had an opportunity to attend the first two of their fantastic sessions and their last panel was no different.  The panel entitled “Social Good for All” proved to be an excellent source of information, knowledge and expertise.  The panel began with some pretty shocking quotes about consumers, companies and social good.  Below are a two data points that were particularly striking:

  • “90% of consumers want companies to tell them the ways they are supporting causes”
  • “Nearly 50% of consumers will seek out similar products from a different brand if they hear that a company’s corporate behavior is especially bad”

You can find more information from SapientNitro panels here.

The panel was moderated by Cindy Gallop, Founder & CEO of If We Ran the and goes to show that finding the right moderator for your panel is the key.  With an introduction by Janice Chow, the panel began with a short video on “Brands Doing Social Good” which consisted of consumer interviews and covered their thoughts and feelings on social good.

The findings were very split, while many interviewees indicitated that where they shop depends largely on the level of philanthrophy exhibited by a company, many others said it played less of a factor.  Others simply said that they were skeptical and believed that companies were just trying to show off and often showed no follow through.  The panel leveraged the footage to debate whether or not companies are actually willing to make doing good part of their brand’s DNA.

Cindy was a riot throughout the panel and opened up with the disclaimer that she believes in a panel that is controversial, lively and sparks debate. She then transitioned with a few provocative words about sex to explain that she wants to make doing good “sexy “, a philosophy exhibited through her website  Below, I will attempt to give a broad overview of the topics and points made in the panel, but I highly suggest watching the entire recap on Livestream.


  • Shiv Singh, Head of Digital, PepsiCo Beverages, America
  • Alnoor Ladha, Head of Strategy, Purpose
  • Paull Young, Director of Digital Engagement, Charity Water
  • Max Schorr, Co-Founder, GOOD Magazine
  • Christopher Bishop, Senior Communications, IBM Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs

Cindy asked the panelists to provide their thoughts on the title of the session, Social Good, and the overall consensus was that it did not fully illustrate what the discussion was about.  That somehow it implies that there is a lot of social bad out there.  Many agreed that we should be moving away from the need for a panel about social good altogether and that doing good should no longer be looked at as dorky or a chore. Rather, doing good should become standard procedure and it shouldn’t matter where or why someone is doing it, but that they are simply doing something.

The words “good intentions” were being thrown around quite a bit in the context of companies doing great things, but the consensus was that even those companies still having a long way to go.  The panelists discussed the barriers that make it extremely hard, barriers not faced by non-profits, like shareholders, employees and profit; a corporate entity will always be driven by the need to make money.

The panel leveraged the dynamic of donations via text message after the earthquakes in Haiti as an example.  While it was a great idea in theory, mobile phone companies remained in the middle and thus prevented consumers and non-profits from really connecting.

The panelists then discussed the importance of demanding that businesses incorporate social good into their overall business strategies to create something more sustainable and that the process to executed in a way that was transparent.The discussion was lively, helped by the fact that panelists included representatives from all sides of the spectrum, Pepsi and IBM, but also,  Charity Water, Purpose and GOOD.

The panel then delved into how society overall might adapt to embrace social good in its varying forms noting the cultural and behavioral barriers, impacted by business and government, that make a more holistic transition difficult to achieve.  We still drive cars, use oil and eat processed foods in part because there aren’t electric charge stations and organic fruit stands available on every corner.

The panel concluded by acknowledging that there’s been a huge shift in perception of a variety of activities that were at one point considered to be nerdy.  What’s left to be seen is if we can arrive at a point where doing good is sexy, and taking action is cool.

Amanda Mullahey is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a digital strategist, social media enthusiast and freelance blogger.  You can check out her website here.

On the Ground at Social Media Week: Social Media Around the World, Hosted by Freddie Laker, Head of Digital Strategy in Asia, SapientNitro

Throughout this week we’ll be posting on the ground accounts from individuals that attended New York Social Media Week events.  To participate, email a blog submission to

Check out the hashtag #smwlake for more comments on the event.

Day 3 of Social Media Week NYC kicked off with a presentation from social media experts across the pond.  The first few minutes at the Art & Culture Hub at Hearst Tower were spent reconnecting with old friends, sipping coffee and riding out the few minutes of technical difficulties.  It can be quite funny when you walk in a room and there are 4 people on the screen all trying to talk simultaneously from around the world, but no one can hear each other.  Although the fact that we have technology that can even connect us all, is truly amazing.  A huge thanks to Watchitoo for making it all possible.

Toby Daniels, Founder of Social Media Week, was there to kick-start the panel and truly brought into perspective how important social media is, not just here, but everywhere.  It is a global phenomenon that connects us all and is truly where emerging trends are born.  Our host for the morning, Freddie Laker (Head of Digital Strategy in Asia for SapientNitro) begins with a keynote on his key learnings, take-aways and predictions for the future, after moving to China and becoming apart of a rapidly growing social and digital nation.

You can instantly predict how truly funny and brilliant Freddie is, something I think makes for an excellent speaker.  After being in a global role for a short time and still living in the states, he realized that he should “put his money where his mouth is” and actually make the move to Asia.  Something he describes as being both truly humbling and inspiring.  Although he doesn’t speak the language very well, he knows how to order food and give directions to taxi drivers.  He quotes, “If this is Communism, I don’t know what Capitalism is anymore.”

Social media has changed the world as we know it and it’s hard to wrap your head around it sometimes because it gives us the opportunities to communicate, collaborate on new ideas and even enable revolutions.  China is a huge part of that movement with over 500 million internet users and countless popular platforms only available to those living in China.  Freddie goes on to explain what when we start these platforms over here in the states, we fear we are “westernizing” the rest of the world, when in fact, we are actually broadening our own horizons.  America is often criticized for being too closed off, instead, we are becoming more worldly be creating platforms that connect the world.  Social media is also creating a whole entire new set of youth, youth that are hyper-connected, worldly and cultured and that will be drastically different than the generations and generations before them.

From an outsiders perspective, we view China as being cut-off and closed in from social media because their government doesn’t allow Facebook and Youtube, but what we are missing is that instead, they have created multiple social, video, real-time and gaming platforms of their own, that are more popular and more innovative than platforms available to the rest of the world.  Just because they don’t have Facebook, doesn’t mean they aren’t wired in.

Freddie continues to get the crowd engaged and laughing with some examples of popular Internet culture in China.  He describes their “Triad of Internet Power” as: Ninjas, Animals and Little People. Going on to describe examples of hilarious memes and viral phenomena’s that have infiltrated China’s highly developed Internet world.

Hot trends in Asia that will have a significant impact on global social media:

– Social gaming: entire networks are already in place that are driven by social games.
– Location-based services: a trend that is taking more time to become popular in China, but growing as smartphone penetration grows.
– Collective buying: thousands of Groupon-type platforms are already in existence.
– Real-time everything: status updates, wall posts, feeds…growing more and more towards everything being set in real-time.

Future predictions for Asia and social media, according to Freddie Lake:

– Facebook is developing virtual currency as we speak, an idea that was first introduced in China.  Due to its widespread success, it transitioned into a payment portal, which Freddie thinks, will be what Facebook will eventually turn into, think PayPal meets Google checkout.
– Development, ideas and platforms to reach rural areas of the world.  In many parts of Asia, India, etc. people don’t have access to the same technology the rest of the world does.  Freddie ideates that some of the best new developments (think Facebook Zero and Facebook Lite) will be to reach out and connect with people who don’t necessarily have internet and maybe only a WAPP connection.
– The rise of cheap smartphones.  Phones that will be under 100 dollars, easy to use and accessible to more people around the world.
– The birth of hyper-relevance.  Basic storytelling ideas where we now live in a world where we know where you are and who you are.  The idea that companies and governments will be able to leverage this information as a database.  Does Facebook want to become this?  If China doesn’t have Facebook or Opengraph, who will be the Chinese Opengraph of information? By 2013 most of the internet sites will be in Chinese, what does this mean?
– The Internet of things.  Meaning everything we own could be scanned and searched for.  Example: missing car keys with and RFD barcode on them.  Freddie doesn’t think that American necessarily has the power to collaborate with every company and manufacturer to do this, but China does.  He is extremely humbled by the focus and dedication their government gives on new initiatives.

What’s next?  He has no idea.  He will even pay you money if you know. But all he does know is that Asia and South America are places to watch, some great innovations and developments are going to come from them.  He has a suspicion that new millionaires will be born in America trying to copy what they are doing.

The second part of the presentation consisted of a panel of 5 social media experts from across the world.  One that was actually present in the room and the rest via digital video.  Below are excerpts of the questions and answers given to the panelists, moderated by Freddie Laker.


  • Katarina Graffman,Owner & CEO of Inculture, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Justin Barkhuizen, Ex-Director of Social Media, MediaCom
  • Mark Leong, Digital Strategist, RAPP, Tokyo, Japan
  • Zarul Shekhar, SapientNitro + TV Producer/Anchor Delhi, India, Manager of Digital Media
  • Mehdi Lamloum, Digital Planner, OgilvyOne, Tunisia

1. Describe a day in the life of someone in your country using social media:

Zarul: Presented a wonderful video showing how people in India use social media in their daily lives.  They update Facebook, blog about life, send SMS to their friends and can even order things through SMS and email.  Social media has definitely changed the way people communicate in India and has made Internet and advertising popular.  Zarul even shows an example of him taking a picture of a car crash, uploading to the police Facebook and getting a quicker response than any other method.  Amazing!

Mark: Shows how in 2005 he was using SMS, email and phone a lot >> fast forward to the present and you can find him barely using SMS and phone, mostly using Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Foursquare, etc.  He says that in Japan it’s not necessarily about how many platforms we use, but about which ones we choose to connect with friends on.

Justin: Showed a video about people in South Africa using social media to find parties, connect with friends and promote events in their towns.  They are so excited about using social media.  Justin comments that in South Africa, there is free wi-fi everywhere. There are so many things they can do that they couldn’t do before.  People use social channel for betterment instead of tracking Kim Kardashian.

2. Describe shifts in the ways people live their lives and certain user behaviors that are specific to your country.

Zarul:  A huge user trend in India is online matrimony.  Arranged marriages are still very prevalent in India and thus there are many resources available to help you get married, such as livestream channels, programming, case studies, counselors and relationship managers that help you get married.  Another trend, blind dating online.

Mark: People in Japan hide their true identities online behind fake names, pictures and avatars. This is slowly starting to change and for the first time, people are using either their real names, or combinations of their real names/pictures so that friends can easily find them on Facebook.  Mark describes having trouble finding friends because he was unable to remember their Foursquare nicknames.  Mark also describes how these trends are mostly on American social sites, on Chinese specific platforms, fake identities and avatars are still being used.

Katarina: People in Sweden used to be very scared of the internet, but now people are getting used to posting things on the internet.  A lot of people have online diaries and are sharing the stories of their lives for everyone to see.  Also, their blogging/diaries are great marketing tools because people are absorbing the information and sharing it.

Mehdi: There are a limited number of internet users in Tunisia.  Social media is THE media in Tunisia.  The media they have available to them, tv, newspapers, etc. is so awful that social media has become the best option.

Justin: Only 5 million people use the internet in South Africa but mobile data is huge.  WAPP experience is the best way to reach people which is why the government is focused on building platforms for youth empowerment and to raise awareness about HIV and other social issues. Education needs to take place.

3.  What are Apps, Platforms and Tools unique to your countries.

Zarul: India is fad driven.  We don’t join Facebook because we think it’s cool, we join because is popular and everyone else is doing it.  There are many localized social networks, such as, that cater especially to gaming with Indian street names, facts, etc.  Making the experience just that better because it is culturally built. Big brands are able to advertise, run competitions and offer the people of India free gifts and giveaways.  Another great tool is the ability to send SMS through and to update status through voice for people that don’t have internet access.

Mark: The top platforms in Japan are Mixi and GREE, both of which have 20 million users, where as Facebook only has 2 million.  What will happen in the next few years with these platforms will be exciting to watch.

Katarina:  It is interesting how people in Sweden use social networks to talk and discuss very private topics like sex.  Especially when everyone used to be so scared of the Internet.  People are not afraid of being really open.

Medhi:  The only social networks available in Tunisia are Facebook and Twitter, the rest are all socialist sites.  1 in every 2 Internet users in Tunisia is on Facebook.  They use it as Youtube, Flickr and as a dating site because there is nothing else available.  Facebook blogging in popular and so is an site that aggregates tweets called

4.  Thoughts on the future of social media.

Justin: The top 10 Facebook pages in South Africa don’t contain any brands.  There is a magazine, a tv personality, but no brands.  Brands need to figure out what to do and get their message out there.  Cultural perspective: there is so much to do, so much to mobilize.  I think we will continue to see stuff getting out there and people buying into it.

Zarul: There is a lot of illiteracy, language and education lessons are the biggest need.  One example of how that is changing is through Nokia phones, they offer a service to learn English, this is a great resource.  Fisherman are also using apps to help them determine the weather and if it is safe to go out that day.  Social media is really influencing and helping the ordinary man in every day life, someone who is illiterate.

I absolutely enjoyed this panel and glimpse into the wide stretch of social media around the world.  We are all constantly evolving and connecting and as the speakers all described, moving towards a completely wired in and connected world.  A huge thanks to Social Media Week NYC and Sapient Nitro for giving us this excellent presentation.

Amanda Mullahey is a contributor for the Social Media Week NY Blog and a digital strategist, social media enthusiast and freelance blogger.  You can check out her website here.

Event Spotlight: Social Good for All

If you want to be a successful brand in the social media age, there are three words you must live by: transparency, openness, and honesty. More than ever, consumers are embracing social media to forge open dialogues with brands — even putting pressure on companies to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility across digital platforms.

What’s the event? Social Good for All
Where? People & Society Hub at The Paley Center for Media
When? Friday, February 11, 12PM – 2PM
Who is hosting the event? SapientNitro

What’s the event all about? Are companies really being more altruistic or are they taking advantage of this newfound openness to propagate their marketing messages to consumers? Through pre-filmed “on the street” interviews to live panel discussions, this session will delve into topics, such as crowdsourcing platforms for fundraising, the real impact of social media on these philanthropic efforts, and how social good continues to shape consumer perspectives — now and in the future.

Sapient started out as a business & IT consulting company in 1991. Today, it is comprised of three business groups, over 30 offices, and 7,000 people. Read more here.

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