National Geographic’s #SMWNYC Event on How They Engage 350 Million Fans on Social

National Geographic aims to inspire, enlighten and activate audiences around the world, encouraging them to go further and test the limits of what is possible, and at #SMWNYC, they are sharing this expertise with the Social Media Week audience.

At #SMWNYC, Rachel Webber (EVP of Digital Products, National Geographic) will share insights and perspectives on how they are leveraging the new tools and platforms to maintain their position as one of the most relevant and inspiring brands in social media. The session is titled Masters of Storytelling: How NatGeo Engages 350 Million Fans on Social

National Geographic celebrates the explorer inside all of us; those go, do and push themselves further. Our stories are told by the world’s best scientist, explorers, photographers and filmmakers. We offer true 360 experiences across an unparalleled portfolio of media assets – television channels, magazines, kids, travel, books, video, events and some of the most followed digital and social platforms in the world.

As a trusted global super brand, National Geographic touches over 760 million consumers of every age, in every part of the world, every single month and maintains a social footprint of over 350 million faithful followers.

With an unwavering commitment to the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world, National Geographic is a forward thinking multi-media company, with purpose at its core. We return 27% of our proceeds to the non-profit National Geographic Society, creating a virtuous cycle of storytelling and philanthropy committed to research, science, conservation and exploration.

National Geographic’s event from November’s Social Media Week in Chicago

National Geographic strives to check off three boxes with its content: 1) Relevant, 2) Relatable, and 3) Timely. Content that achieves these pillars allow NatGeo to reach consumers across all social media channels, and learn from each posts in order to adapt their content and strategy. They also realize that it’s important to stay realistic, even with big, new ideas.

Here are some highlights from that session featuring Claudia Malley (Chief Marketing and Brand Officer, NatGeo):

The organizational values that push National Geographic’s brand forward:

NatGeo’s strategy for Facebook Live and live video content:

NatGeo’s strategy for Snapchat and vertical video

Social Media Week returns to New York this February 28 to March 3. HQ passes are sold out, but you can still watch the official sessions LIVE and on-demand through our video platform, SMW Insider.

16 #SMWNYC Events Exploring Today’s Major Social Media Platforms

Today, it seems like social platforms have all the power, and marketers are faced with ongoing challenges of captivating audiences in a never-ending battle of time and attention.

From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and Snapchat, and everything in-between, everyday there are changes to algorithms and user behavior that dictate how we reach audiences online and create content for them.

At #SMWNYC, we’re diving into the world of social platforms, and how marketers should navigate these constantly-evolving networks of content, users, and brands. Here are 16 sessions exploring today’s major social platforms at Social Media Week New York.

1. The Pursuit of Meaningful Content (Pinterest)

Get inspired by creative examples that show how brands can move people from inspiration to action on Pinterest, and walk away with new ideas for creating engaging video and dynamic creative.

2. Distributed Media All-Stars: Experts Share Their Viral Content Secrets (Insider)

What do publishers need to know in order to create content that performs well on social, especially video? This session will answer this question, as well as explore what publishers need to know in structuring deals with partner platforms, and how to monetize social video.

3. Breaking Down The Facebook Auction: How To Combat Inflated CPMs and Bigger Budgets to Deliver More Sales In 2017 (Croud)

This session will break down everything from how Facebook auctions work. Learn new approaches to Facebook bid management, creative testing and audience fatigue. Attendees will also gain actionable insights to take away and implement on their Facebook marketing campaigns the next day.

4. The Business of BuzzFeed with Chief Revenue Officer, Lee Brown (BuzzFeed)

Hear from BuzzFeed’s Chief Revenue Officer on how BuzzFeed quickly become a cross-platform, global network for news and entertainment that generates seven billion content views each month and distributes content for a global audience while continuously testing, learning and optimizing.

5. Leveraging Social Platforms Along the Entire Customer Journey (L2)

This event will explain how brands should accelerate and decelerate social investments, how brands can transition from driving brand equity and awareness on social platforms to more bottom-of-the-funnel goals like social commerce and advocacy.

6. Keeping Up With Social Platform Perspectives (Adaptly)

Audiences are becoming more and more fragmented every day. Marketers must understand the value consumers derive from the big five platforms, and this session will dive into this topic. Attendees will gain insight into how users consume content differently (speed, sound-on versus -off, etc), and the approach advertisers should take towards campaign planning.

7. How Hearst’s Prestige Brands Are “Doing the Internet” (Hearst Magazines Digital Media)

From ELLE’s creative and fashion-forward use of live video tools to Esquire’s Election 2016 coverage to Marie Claire’s insane growth on Instagram, we’ll take a look at how Hearst’s titles are harnessing their unique voices and satisfying the rapidly changing social landscape.

8. Don’t Call Snapchat a Social Media Platform (Sweet)

Sweet is the first-ever brand to launch a straight-to-Snapchat Discover publication, covering the best in music, culture and style. In this talk, Ross Clark (VP / GM , Sweet), will speak on the importance of creating a two-way dialogue with conversational content and about future trends of different digital media that have outgrown their early “social” beginnings.

9. Spatial Storytelling with Megan Summers, Global Head of Production, Facebook (Facebook)

In this talk, Megan Summers, who runs production globally for Facebook’s Creative Shop team, will lead a session that explores new storytelling principles and languages in the age of VR, 360 and the Feed.

10. The Evolution of Social Video (Adaptly)

Executives from BuzzFeed, Instagram, and Adaptly will discuss the use cases of newer video formats like vertical video, Instagram Stories, and livestreaming, as well as how to track views and understand video metrics across platforms.

11. Facebook Automated Campaign Management: Let Facebook Do the Work for You (General Assembly)

Get a step by step walkthrough on how to create Automated Rules, discover overall best practices based on your business model and goals, and learn when to pause campaigns, or when to receive performance notifications. This session will help you become a Facebook marketing expert!

12. Masters of Storytelling: How NatGeo Engages 350 Million Fans on Social (National Geographic)

In this event, Rachel Webber (EVP of Digital Products, National Geographic) will share insights and perspectives on how they are leveraging the new tools and platforms to maintain their position as one of the most relevant and inspiring brands in social media.

13. Instagram Killed The Television Star (Crowdtap)

Television as we know it will soon be no longer. This session will forecast the coming phases which will signal the end of Television 1.0, and where advertisers will look next for critical mass. Attendees will also understand the role of celebrities and influencers across the spectrum in receiving the torch, and the massive impact of Live streaming on platforms like Instagram.

14. How The Verge Builds Audiences Across Multiple Platforms (Vox Media)

To be a successful publisher in 2017, it means creating content not just for your website, but for platforms ranging from Facebook to Google, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. Vox Media is becoming a leader in mastering social platforms across their suite of brands, and this session will help attendees determine which platforms to invest in, how to grow audiences on those platforms, and how to re-edit and package a story or video to serve those audiences.

15. How BuzzFeed’s Tasty Used An Audience-Driven Approach to Become the No.1 Publisher on Facebook (BuzzFeed)

In less than two years, Tasty, BuzzFeed’s global food network, has published more than 2,000 recipe videos that reach a staggering 500 million people a month. Michelle Kempner (VP, Operations, BuzzFeed) will share BuzzFeed’s test and learn approach as well as digital advantages that helped build the initial and continued success of Tasty and beyond.

16. A Conversation with The Daily Show’s Best F%#king Social Media Team Ever (Comedy Central)

Join Comedy Central’s GM, “The Daily Show’s” producers and correspondents for an in-depth discussion about the daily conversation that happens between the show and its fans on social media.

Social Media Week returns to New York this February 28 to March 3. HQ passes are sold out, but you can still watch the official sessions LIVE and on-demand through our video platform, SMW Insider.

What Marketers Need To Know About Social Intelligence, a Talk at #SMWNYC with Synthesio

Chimpery: n. 1. The act of mistaking motion for progress. 2. diffuse, undifferentiated activity without a clear goal 3. Flinging one’s shit and shrieking at the top of one’s lungs in lieu of actually solving a problem.

Matthew Zito (VP of Product, Synthesio) will explain to SMW New York attendees how Social Listening can help run a quality, strategic and effective digital campaign.

He will discuss how to discover and use true Social ROI metrics and data, provide actionable tips on how you can improve your campaigns and learn what is (and isn’t) working through Social Listening. In other words, Matthew will show you how you can stop flinging and start delivering!

Join Matthew and discover how Synthesio‘s Social Intelligence tools can enhance digital campaigns in Avoid Social Chimpery: Use ROI To Build Quality Campaigns and Stop Flinging Crap on Tuesday, February 23rd at 3:00pm at the SVA Theatre.

Meet Storyful, The Trending News and UGC Video Verifier, and Official Event Sponsor of #SMWNYC

Everyone knows the stars of YouTube, Vine, Instagram and Snapchat. They have big audiences and big price tags, and working with them isn’t always a possibility.

To better understand this complex yet increasingly crucial video ecosystem, we’re thrilled to have Storyful join SMW New York as an Official Event Partner. They’ll break down these video platforms, and share how they’ve has established itself as the leader in verifying viral videos, trending news, ad user-generated content (UGC) online.

Their session, “The New Generation of Social Influencers” on Wednesday the 24th at 12:30pm at The TimesCenter will explore how you create a strategy for identifying and engaging with social influencers to help you achieve you tell you story and reach the right audience.

Storyful’s CEO, Rahul Chopra will dive into what makes a social influencer today, how they reach and engage audiences, and what marketers and advertisers need to do to be effective in 2016.

Simply Measured at #SMWNYC: Why Marketers Need to Understand and Own “Dark Social”

You are failing to recognize 50% of the value that social is driving for your organization. The explosion of mobile messaging and private sharing have dramatically increased the impact that dark social has on your digital properties.

In order to succeed in this world, social marketers must be able to measure what traditional web analytics can’t. This session will demystify dark social by clearly defining it and giving you the tools you need to effectively measure it.

Attendees will leave with with the knowledge they need to enlighten their colleagues, demonstrate bigger results from the social team, and earn more organizational resources.

The session, “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark: How To Measure Dark Social” on Friday the 26th at 2:00pm at the SVA Theatre, will begin with a presentation from Brewster Stanislaw (Head of Attribution, Simply Measured) defining dark social and explaining why social marketers need to understand, measure, and own it.

From there, we’ll kick off a candid discussion and take a more in-depth look at dark social, and at the end of the session there will be audience Q&A to discuss how the explosion of mobile and private sharing is a hidden force that is deeply effecting your business.

Attendees will also gain practical, actionable advice on how to measure the value of dark social to paint a bigger picture of your social’s organization’s success.

EVENT SPOTLIGHT: The Story of Pope Emojis and How Millennials Re-connected with Their Religion

Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers, and marketers are constantly looking for ways to capitalize on this group of consumers and social media enthusiasts. Not only are Millennials the largest generation alive today, but they are the largest demographic identifying as unaffiliated with any religion. Why is that, though?

Join Kathleen Hessert (Founder and President, Sports Media Challenge), as she discusses her collaboration with Aleteia, a global Catholic Digital Media Company, and Tracx, the leading social business cloud, which resulted in an incredibly successful campaign that many know as #PopeIsHope and #GoodIsWinning.

Kathleen will explore how her team leveraged social media conversations in order to connect Millennials to the Catholic Church, and the rising popularity of Pope Francis. She was able to spearhead a campaign which not only reintroduced Millennials to the Catholic Church, but inspired them to take action for the greater good.

Along with Kathleen is Eric Berkowitz (SVP Global Services, Tracx), who will walk attendees through the journey of identifying and listening to relevant social conversations, and contributing to these conversations by engaging in real-time.

Hosted by Tracx, “Pope-Emojis And Millennials: How Pope Francis Engages The Largest Generation Alive Today” will show attendees how to target and leverage social influencers, both at a massive celebrity scale and a smaller, local scale, as well as discover the best ways to engage Millennials through integrated campaigns, and how to measure its success.

This event takes place Tuesday, February 23 at 10:00am at SVA Theatre (EDU Stage).

Unpack the Industry’s Latest Social Measurement Guidelines with IAB at #SMWNYC

Social media, including paid, owned and earned, continues to rapidly evolve, which is why Social Media Measurement Guidelines are needed to help agencies and marketers better understand the real impact of social media spend.

Recently, the Media Rating Council (MRC) issued Social Media Measurement Guidelines to help establish a detailed set of methods, definitions and common practices for organizations that measure social media activity.

Join us at SMW New York to hear leaders from IAB, Ogilvy & Mather, The Coca-Cola Company, Crowdtap, and Media Rating Council (MRC) to unpack these new guidelines, and examine its impact on the media industry. Why was it necessary to prepare these guidelines? Why it is important that we all used the same definitions to define key words? How, practically speaking, should the sell-side and buy-side use the guidelines on a daily basis?

Susan Borst, Director of Industry Initiatives at IAB, will lead this session, “Social Media Measurement: How Everyone Wins” on Tuesday, February 23rd at 9:00am at the SVA Theatre (EDU Stage).

★ Join thousands of industry leaders at SMW New York ★

About Susan Borst

Susan Borst is a Director of Industry Initiatives, heading up the Social Media, Content Marketing, Native Advertising, B2B and Games member committees to identify key challenges and opportunities for growth, and setting standards and best practices.

After 20+ years at top NYC creative agencies (Gotham, Kaplan Thaler Group, Grey Worldwide and Hill Holiday), Susan made the move to digital in 2010. At IAB, Susan leads the Social Media, Content Marketing, Native Advertising, B2B and Game Advertising committees, leading hundreds of digital publishers/platforms and technology providers to identify key challenges and opportunities for growth, and setting standards and best practices. Under her leadership, these groups have produced the IAB Native Advertising Playbook, Content Marketing Primer, Social Media Buyer’s Guide, Game Advertising Ecosystem Guide, User Generated Content guide, Building a B2B Brand Online For Dummies guide and many more.

Recent speaking engagements include OMMA Native, Business Insider Ignition, SXSW, Social Media Week in NYC and Chicago and more. She is on the jury for The Shorty Awards and the Content Marketing Institute Awards and was named one of the “15 People in NYC That are Changing Advertising That You Need to Know About” by Alley Watch (8/14) and named a “Top 50 Marketing Thought Leaders Over 50” by Brand Quarterly (2015.) She is based out of NYC and lives in CT. She is also half Icelandic, but loves Swedish Fish.

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.

Image Credit: Izea

Building Your Social Presence at #SMWNYC with BuzzFeed’s Social Team

In this interactive presentation, BuzzFeed social experts Rachel Christensen and Summer Anne Burton will discuss how they helped successfully build the largest social networks in media—by rethinking the way the industry sees social media editors, content, and distribution.

They’ll cover how BuzzFeed stuck to scrappy and unconventional ways of thinking about and creating content for social platforms, and how they used data to inform their strategies. There will also be examples of BuzzFeed’s biggest wins and fails (in the form of a quiz!), with insight to how, why, and where BuzzFeed experiments.

Summer’s session “Building A Great Social Presence The Resourceful Way, Presented By BuzzFeed” will take place on Wednesday, February 24th at 11:00am at the SVA (EDU Stage).

★ Register today by purchasing your pass ★

About Summer Anne Burton

Summer is the Editorial Director of BFF, a team at BuzzFeed that makes cool original stuff on social networks and platforms. She was previously the Managing Editorial Director in BuzzFeed’s editorial department, and once upon a time she was BuzzFeed’s first Weekend Editor.

Before she started at BuzzFeed, Summer lived in Austin Texas as a freelance illustrator and writer who contributed to ESPN: The Magazine, The Hairpin, Fangraphs, The Classical, and more. She was also a waitress, barista, bookseller, toy store clerk, advertising manager, hair salon receptionist, a writer at a now defunct website for tweens, and a stablehand.

She also has a new project called “Every Hall of Famer,” a blog where Summer is drawing every single member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. (via Summer Anne Burton)

About Rachel Christenson

Rachel Christensen is the managing social media editor for Buzzfeed, the social media manager for Food52, the James Beard Award-winning online food community, recipe hub, and home and kitchen shop. She formerly led social media for Real Simple magazine and at NBC’s Television Without Pity. She lives in Brooklyn.

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.

Image Credit: Texas Monthly

Verticalization And The Future Of Social Media

“To reach success, ideas should start small then expand.” The online community has greatly changed since the World Wide Web’s early years. Starting as a small program used mostly for research, the online community has greatly expanded with media sites such as Facebook, Youtube, and LinkedIn.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all these sites and wish there was one site that’s a combination of all these sites? Well Shocase is here!

Ron Young, CEO and Founder, and Matt Warburton, co-founder and Vice President of Product, explained the benefits of Shocase and how they’ve combined attributes of four leading sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest) into one site!

Studies show the major uses of social media sites:

  • Videos: Children and adults, nowadays, tend to watch videos on “how-tos”
  • Building professional networks and brands has become a major goal for many
  • Finding Talent: Companies want to find potential employees and clients to have meet their specific requirements
  • Stay informed, inspired, and in touch
  • Target your work to new clients: Easily send out and personalize projects and works to different clients

With Shocase, one is able to use the site for multiple purposes and will make things easier and more organized for you. Did I mention it’s FREE? Shocase is definitely something you should take a look at!

Currently a student at Queens College, I hope to work in the Entertainment & Media world. As for now, you’ll find me on all forms of Social Media. Tweet me: @graciaskristine

BuzzFeed’s Advice For Creating Emotional Bonds to Video Content

“Content is King, Distribution is Queen, and she wears the pants.” One phrase that resonated with many attendees during John Perelman’s session. Perelman, the Vice President of Buzzfeed Motion Pictures, discussed BuzzFeed’s goals on reaching specific niches and groups with the intention that their videos will gain more shares, especially if the viewer forms an emotional connection to the video (i.e. “A left-hander living in a right-handed world”).

By creating videos that people emotionally bond with, these individuals are more likely to remember, share, and recommend that video to others, eventually building a community within itself! BuzzFeed definitely has the intention to “make you feel some type of way” while viewing those videos!

Currently a student at Queens College, I hope to work in the Entertainment and Media world. As for now, you’ll find me on all forms of Social Media. Tweet me: @graciaskristine

Take Command Of Your Data: Making Sense Of Social Sentiment

This post is the third of a multi-part series with our partner Brandwatch, in which Will McInnes, CMO of Brandwatch, examines how brands can unlock the power of social data and social listening for business.


Here’s an understatement: Sentiment, in life and in data, is a sensitive topic.

In the last six months, more than ever before, the cultural landscape and specific groups of data scientists have cast a sharp light on social sentiment. Questions mount and responses fluctuate as the validity of this type of data is scrutinized from every angle.

A prime example was the whole #Gamergate … entity. Social reactions spurred social data analysts to dissect and discuss various data insights and stats put forth by a variety of sources. It caused an uproar in not just the gaming community, but the world of data analysis.

The fact of the matter is social data sentiment is a tricky subject.

We asked the experts from social strategy and analytics company Converseon and Brandwatch to answer some hard-hitting questions about social sentiment data.

Let’s see if we can make some sense of all this sentiment with Converseon partner Erin Tavgac and Brandwatch data scientist Dr. Mike Williams.


Q: What are the different automated strategies social sentiment analysis companies use to determine sentiment? How is sentiment extracted from social mentions?

Converseon: Traditional approaches have used a combination of rules-based and dictionary-based approaches which essentially look to define a set of rules or words that correlate with a specific sentiment (e.g. the word small means negative). These approaches have limitations as it is virtually impossible to distill varied usage within different contexts into a strict set of rules (e.g. the word small may be negative when referring to hotel rooms but positive when referring to smartphones).

There is now an emerging class of automated strategies that utilize a combination of machine learning, Natural Language Processing, and statistical methods to capture the nuance and varied usage within human language. These algorithms are trained by humans (to mimic the advanced interpretation that we as humans instinctively use in interpreting language) and are significantly more effective at extracting true sentiment from social mentions.

Brandwatch: Determining the sentiment of a document (a tweet, a news article, a transcription of spoken language) pretty much always boils down to identifying words or phrases that indicate positive or negative emotions, or their absence.

The two main approaches differ fundamentally in how the lists of positive or negative emotions are generated. In a rules-based approach, experts will write, curate and maintain a manually constructed list of words and phrases (along with a score indicating whether they are positive, negative or something else). In a machine learning approach, a machine is shown examples of positive, negative or neutral documents, and, if it is shown enough of these training examples it learns the words and phrases that indicate sentiment. In a sense, it generates rules that are in some ways similar to those in a rules-based approach, but it does so automatically.

The upside is that, given large amounts of high quality, relevant data, the rules a machine learns can be more general, more specific and more complete than the human-curated rules-based approach. One of the downsides is that it can only learn linguistic patterns that exist in the training data, so if a new phrase indicating sentiment is created (e.g. “on fleek”) or is simply absent from the training data, the machine may struggle to learn what it means.


Q: Doesn’t society’s propensity for sarcasm make it impossible to determine what is actually sincere and positive, and what is negative?

Converseon: Not entirely. While this is a difficult problem encountered with all sentiment algorithms, the more advanced approaches involving machine learning enable a sentiment algorithm to learn to interpret sarcasm as a human does. A successful approach simply requires robust training by qualified human experts to capture enough data and all the nuanced ways in which sarcasm is employed by authors.

Brandwatch: Sarcasm is often cited as the biggest challenge facing automated sentiment analysis. I have two hunches here. The first is that it is not, in principle, impossible for an algorithm to detect sarcasm. The second is that sarcasm is less of a practical concern — and simply less prevalent — than you might imagine.

I have a related concern though: not all sentiments are simply either positive, negative or neutral. Indeed it’s not obvious what it means to say a tweet about a controversial subject (like gamergate) is negative.


Q: What benefit does social sentiment analysis provide for me? How can it help my bottom line and how can I utilize it in my activities – marketing or otherwise?

Converseon: Social sentiment analysis impacts a company’s bottom line in a tangible way across many functional areas of the business. Within marketing it can be used to better understand what marketing spend / campaigns / initiatives are driving sales (or not) and how overall marketing budget can be optimized to maximize ROI. For customer service and product development it is hugely helpful for diagnosing aspects of a company’s products or services that consumers like and should be emphasized to help grow revenue. The PR function can leverage sentiment analysis to better detect and respond to emerging reputational threats before they impact sales or stock price, while HR can use sentiment to manage employer reputation (thereby lowering recruiting costs and attracting more productive talent to grow the business).

Brandwatch: Sentiment analysis isn’t perfect, especially when applied to short documents like tweets. Most technologies that offer automated sentiment analysis openly acknowledge a 60-80% accuracy rate. But despite that, sentiment analysis does provide is one way to “take the temperature of a room” and, in particular, to compare the temperature of one room to another, or of one day to another. It’s a way to get a handle on questions like: are things getting better? Are people talking about X happier than people talking about Y?

Once these questions have been answered by sentiment analysis, you can go ahead and pinpoint the reason (e.g. celebrity tweet, trending hashtag, etc.) that caused that shift in sentiment. One great use case of this is to get ahead of a damaging social media rumor, or address high-profile customer concerns before they become trending mishaps.


Q: Are there problems with sentiment analysis? Can it be overinterpreted or misused?

Converseon: Yes, the main problems with sentiment analysis stem from the quality of data used as an input and the misuse of popular metrics. When sentiment is applied to highly irrelevant data that hasn’t been cleaned, there is a high degree of neutrality in the data and the signal gets lost within the overall noise that comes with social data. Sentiment is often times also viewed as a basic, topline metric (e.g. positive or negative) which can be overly simplistic and misleading. Truly actionable sentiment metrics (which drive bottom line results) go beyond this veneer and look at more granular cuts / shades of sentiment and cross-variables to diagnose the true drivers behind the sentiment.

Brandwatch: Yes and yes! Machines make mistakes! You should dismiss anyone who says otherwise as a charlatan. Neither precision nor recall are perfect in any automated sentiment analysis system. To say precision and recall are problems in the context of sentiment, is to say, firstly that algorithms sometimes misclassify positive tweets as negative (and vice versa), and secondly that algorithms sometimes misclassify positive or negative tweets as neutral.

What does that mean for users of sentiment analysis? Firstly, you should become used to the idea that individual mentions may occasionally be misclassified. If this happens, it’s not necessarily a sign that the whole system is flawed. Secondly, you should focus on making fair comparisons between the sentiments of sets of tweets according to your system (today vs. yesterday, brand A vs. brand B), rather than treating the absolute numerical score assigned by a system as the main KPI yielded by your social listening product.


Q: How are companies like Converseon and Brandwatch working to make this type of emotion-driven data more reliable?

Converseon: We are working on a couple of key areas:

  1. Increasing the relevancy of the data on which sentiment analysis is run
  2. Using training data interpreted for sentiment by human experts to train algorithms and upgrade precision of the automated sentiment scoring vs. traditional rules-based approaches
  3. Improving the recall of sentiment to capture not just overall sentiment for a social media post but also multiple instances of sentiment expression within a post
  4. Tuning / training sentiment algorithms to specific verticals and brands to better capture nuances in sentiment (as opposed to using a one size fits all approach)

Brandwatch: There are two main strands of research. The first is to improve the rules. This is done by expanding and refining the ruleset used in a human-curated rules-based approach, or by showing the machine more, and more relevant examples of the “right answer”, i.e. tweets with human-assigned sentiment scores.

The second strand of research, which is more ambitious, is to get away from the two crude buckets, “positive” and “negative”. There are more human emotions that positive and negative, and most of them do not lie on a simple continuum from very positive to very negative.


What new possibilities are there now that a business is social?  To learn more, join Will McInnes at Social Media Week New York on Thursday February 26, where we learn how to strategically use social listening for business.

Social Media Week New York begins on February 23. For the full event schedule and how you can join us, visit here.

The BuzzFeed Obama Video Has Cemented 2015 As The Year Of The Social Video

BuzzFeed’s viral social video sensation “Things Everyone Does But No One Talks About… Featuring President Barack Obama” is all the proof you need to see that 2015 is going to be the year of the social video.

BuzzFeed seems to know it, and it looks as if Obama was savvy enough to know BuzzFeed knows it.

It’s easy to understand why Obama did the video. He’s slinging signups before the deadline and wanted to reach the biggest audience possible. It says so right in the video description and article subhead. This was a simple call for the Obama Administration considering the reach it was destined to get.

Never mind that it’s obvious clickbait and discount any blowback. Fox News talking head Greta Van Susteran called Obama “tone deaf” and the video “bad taste” when discussing that the video was filmed the same day that it was announced hostage Kayla Mueller was killed while in captivity of terrorist group ISIS.

The same could be said about Van Susteran being tone deaf into how media and politics actually work in 2015. The President does deserve criticism for his timing but the fact is it doesn’t matter what critics think.

To learn why, check out the full article over on


To explore this topic even more, join Chris Anderson, Director of Editorial Content of Pixable, next week during Social Media Week NYC.

Attendee Spotlight: Josh Karpf, Spotify’s Global Director Of Social Marketing, Shares His Top Picks For #SMWNYC

With a passion for emerging technology, mobile and social media, Social Media Week attendees always strive to understand and share what’s next. This February, we’re excited to explore “Upwardly Mobile: The Rise of The Connected Class” throughout the conference, and what this theme represents from today until 2022, when six billion individuals will be connected to each other online. The sessions you won’t want to miss feature leading companies sharing their top strategies and predictions of what’s happening, and what’s to come.

To help you discover the best of Social Media Week New York, we asked a few of our attendees to share their top picks for events, talks and masterclasses taking place throughout the week. Below, Josh Karpf, Global Director of Social Marketing at Spotify, gives us a look at the events he’s most excited for:

“The best part of Social Media Week is the opportunity to step back, see some great speakers and sessions, and really celebrate the great work being done in our industry. It’s also a great moment to reconnect with colleagues you may not get to see very often, despite working in the same city!”

Here are a few events I’m excited about this year:”

1. Fostering Self-Disrupting, Collaboration and Innovation at Large Companies

“Beth is a visionary and has lead the transformation of GE into a 21st century technology company. Her views on transformation inside a large, industry conglomerate are applicable for any organization.”
2. Creating Video Content for How it’s Consumed

“There’s video. And then there’s video for the social web. Buzzfeed’s transformation is truly a fascinating one and we can all take a cue from their process for content creation and social discovery.”

3. Storytelling with Vine: How to Create Short Form Videos That People Remember

“So much happening in this space; looking forward seeing how some of the best-in-class practioners are doing it!


About Josh Karpf

headshotJoshua Karpf is Global Director, Social Marketing at Spotify; an award winning music streaming service. In this role he oversees user communications planning and content strategy.  Prior to this role, Josh spent 6 years at PepsiCo where he launched digital and social programs designed to drive consumer engagement.  This includes Gatorade Mission Control, the industry’s first “always on” digital command center and PepsiCo10, a breakthrough program that connected the company with cutting edge digital and mobile start ups.

Take Command Of Your Data: Understanding Audience Through Social Listening

This post is the second piece in a multi-part series with our partner Brandwatch, in which Will McInnes, CMO of Brandwatch, examines how brands can unlock the power of social data and social listening for business. You can read the first piece here.


People may not always say what they mean, but consumers use social media as their proverbial soapbox. Folks on Twitter and Facebook vent and praise brands in an unfiltered and very earnest way. Social media conversations are a gold mine of likes, dislikes, desires, and wants. Not to mention a great way to learn consumer preferences and adjust campaigns and activities accordingly.

So why aren’t more brands tapping into these very public, very insightful conversations?

They can and they should be utilizing the power of social listening and analytics to learn about their customers and audiences. Social listening helps brands do more than find out what people are saying about their products and campaigns, but can actually help tap into the psyche of audiences to better understand what and why customers want what they want.

Here are just a few ways social data can help brands educate themselves on consumer moods, regional preferences, and reactions to product features. And so much more.


Where, who, what?!

Some may say that social listening is a violation of privacy. But when consumers publicly pose questions to brands or complain about customer service, they are actively seeking a response. A solution. A conversation.

Brands must be listening and tuned into conversations so they can address customer concerns, embrace candid feedback, adjust marketing campaigns, product updates, and even company culture based on the changing tides of the industry and consumer needs.

Demographics are a great way to break down social data by region, gender, life interests, career, and more to better understand what campaigns might work best for different audience segments.

Imagine seeing which cities and states talk most about your competitors, and being able to identify key pain points that you can then turn around through engagement or strategic promotions? Well, it can be done, all through social listening and analytics.


Timing can be everything

What time of day is best to Tweet? Do conversations spike about our new product during a specific month? A specific day of the week?

Timing, as we all know, can be everything. When to launch a campaign, when to announce negative company news, and how often to engage are all questions that community managers and brand communicators need to be ready to answer. And act upon.

Using social listening and analytics to research and determine time-related best practices for social media and campaign activities is a no-brainer. Just like with web analytics, the data paints a clear picture of what methods work best for which activities.

Are your customers most active on social at night? Then hire an evening community manager to answer questions and monitor the conversations.

Do consumers on Twitter talking about your industry (be it automotive, consumer goods, or manufacturing) tend to get angry if a brand doesn’t respond within an hour? Note it, and make sure your customer service reps are poised and at the ready to address all concerns within a specific timeline.

These types of insights are priceless and help your brand make better, data-driven decisions. All of this adds up to a more streamlined brand presence and a high-quality reputation that shows your brand cares enough to listen, before acting or reacting.


Preferences, moods, and trends, oh my!

How brands act and react on social media is scrutinized by the advertising and marketing/communications press to no end. It is absolutely vital that brands know what their audiences want to hear from them, how often, and what type of content and personalized responses they need to feel secure.

Social listening can be used to check out “white space conversations” – those discussions, posts, and articles online discussing your industry but that don’t necessarily mention your brand or competitors. This strategy allows brands to tap into trends and discover new influencers in their sector, or identify potential “super users” and brand advocates they may not have otherwise known about.

We live out our lives on social media and brands would be remiss to not place value on conversations happening digitally. Whether we’re disgruntled with the service at the local restaurant chain, thrilled with the latest software update, or yearning for more details on a new ad campaign, we discuss it on social. There’s no use fighting it, it’s a fact.

In this Brandwatch Twitter Happiness Report, our analysts sought out to learn something new about human happiness; how it’s expressed on social, and what trends we could pull from the data. Using social listening and analytics to better understand customers and audiences, helps brands to better understand the psyche of different groups of people and identify trends that can help them improve strategy and campaigns.


The future of data analytics

Brands are beginning to recognize that more investments need to be made in data analytics and they seem to be doubling down on budgets, according to data from a Duke University survey of CMO’s cited in this AdWeek article. They reported this week that brands will allot 11.7 percent of their marketing budgets for analytics by 2018, up from 6.4 percent currently.

Social is here to stay. Social listening and analytics are necessary equipment in the marketers toolbox. Brands need to embrace the power of social media, and listen carefully to what their customers, dissenters, and the general public is saying. Understanding needs and wants is paramount to giving the people what they want.

Let them be heard.


What new possibilities are there now that a business is social?  To learn more, join Will McInnes at Social Media Week New York on Thursday February 26, where we learn how to strategically use social listening for business.

Social Media Week New York begins on February 23. For the full event schedule and how you can join us, visit here.

Yunha Kim, Founder of Locket: Why I Quit My Job To Launch A Startup

When you initially meet Yunha Kim, you wouldn’t automatically assume that she is the mastermind behind Locket, the super successful lock screen app for Android, but that’s before she begins to speak with an intelligence and passion that you would expect from the head of a company. I’m not the only/first/last person to take notice. When companies like TechCrunch and VentureBeat are writing about your company and when Tyra Banks expresses interest in investing in your idea, people are bound to jump on the band wagon. During my visit to San Francisco, I got a chance to speak to Yunha about her journey from Investment Banker to Founder and CEO of  her very own startup. Find out below what exactly it takes to get an idea from concept to realization.

1) You started your career as an Investment Banker and with your switch from iPhone to Android user, you quickly found the calling for this company. Can you tell me a little bit about your first couple of months of the company?

YK: I can barely remember the first couple months of the company. It was just so crazy.

In the first month, I was running around pitching our idea for investment. After getting funded by Great Oaks VC, I was then running around pitching to advertisers and I did that for a half year. Then I started pitching again for another round of funding.

When we had no money or product, I was getting somewhere around four hours of sleep every night. I was living with five other guys out of a two-bedroom apartment with three dogs and a hamster where we worked and lived. We were also getting by with hot dogs and ramen noodles.

Sometimes, I wondered, ‘What did I sign up for?’ but I think I was really happy, getting things off the ground, creating something out of nothing.

2) This idea actually came from our culture’s tendency of constantly checking our phones. Can you give us a little more insight into that?

YK: While pulling long but boring hours in investment banking (prior to Locket), I wasn’t able to do anything fun on my monitor, so I was checking my phone a few hundred times per day. That’s when I realized I keep on checking my phone every single day, bringing it to the restroom, everywhere I go. Every single one of those moments I was unlocking my lock screen which was a picture of a daisy which came as a default lock screen with my Galaxy S3.

One day, I was looking at it wondering why anyone wasn’t doing anything with the most valuable real estate in advertising. If people check their phone 150 times per day, with 71 million Android users, that’s 10.7 billion glances on the lock screen every day in the US that we have not been able to monetize. It occurred to me that this will be the next big thing in mobile advertising.

3) What do you feel are some of the benefits of Locket?

YK: Locket brings content you care about to your lock screen based on your interest, swiping habits and time of the day. It’s a quick passive way to learn about what’s going on around you, in your world. I am too busy to check out all my apps on my phone, but with Locket, I am consistently updated. I was able to learn about a fire in Soma which is only a few blocks away from our office through my lock screen, then I looked outside my window and I saw that fire.

4) How do you find a life work balance with being in such a busy and quickly expanding company? What does your typical day look like?  

YK: When you are in a startup, it’s really difficult to balance your work and life (if you even have a life). It’s like when you have a baby (your startup), and the baby cries, you can’t really say you are off your work hours and let it cry. So, it will feel like you are on call 24/7.

5) I know focus on the company has changed, can you tell me a little about that?

YK: Recently, we have stopped our paid-per-swipe-ad service. We are now focusing on contextual content on your lock screen. Based on an user’s interest, swiping habits and time of the day, we serve content that people care about in a visually delightful way on the Android lock screen, and as the apps is consistently used, the content becomes more relevant

For more on Yunha and Locket, please visit:

Stephanie Carino has spent over the past 10 years working in the city in the Fashion, Food and Event industries. She currently works in the PR Department at leading Technology and Business Book Publisher, Apress.  On the side, she also writes event coverage and reviews for, Socially Superlative, a NYC-based event website, covering predominantly food, travel and entertainment stories. Connect with Stephanie on Twitter.


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.

MLK Day of Service: Finding Volunteer Opportunities Via Social Media

The third Monday of every January marks the federal holiday to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday.

But it wasn’t until 1994 — due to former Pennsylvania Senator Harris Wofford and Georgia Congressman John Lewis’s King Holiday and Service Act — that the day was dubbed “Day of Service.”

Suddenly, MLK Day was no longer just time off from work and school, it actually lived up to Dr. King’s legacy by encouraging volunteerism. It was he, after all, who once said “life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘what are we doing for others?’”

(As a side note and fun fact: Philadelphia, where I reside, has the largest MLK Day of Service in the nation. See? We’re not just a city of angry sports fans.)

Luckily, LinkedIn has a new function to help you with volunteering — both on MLK Day of Service and on the daily. But there’s also a couple of other ways you can find volunteer opportunities via the interwebs.

Volunteers in Philadelphia spread mulch on a playground on Martin Luther King Day of Service.
LinkedIn’s Volunteer Marketplace

The professional networking site launched its much-demanded Volunteer Marketplace last Wednesday. So rather than picking up trash in a park, you can use your professional skill set to volunteer and perhaps have resume material! Two birds, one stone.

More than 600,000 people have voiced interest in volunteer opportunities since August alone, a LinkedIn spokesperson told Mashable. Furthermore, over 3 million users added volunteer experiences to their profiles since 2011.

Volunteer positions or board seats can be posted to the search option — for a fee. But the good news is that these job postings only cost 10% of normal LinkedIn job postings. Those tend to run between $20-40.

What’s better yet is that the company will reinvest revenues back into the program, head of LinkedIn for Good Meg Garlinghouse said. If you haven’t heard of LinkedIn for Good, it’s a part of LinkedIn that connects professionals with “opportunities for social impact.”

I realize that the volunteer opportunities on LinkedIn have a little bit more permanency than desired for participating in MLK Day of Service. However, if you’re planning on living up to what Dr. King said about enhancing others’ lives — you know, every day — then this is a good option for you.

Another benefit to this new search option? I think long-term, it’ll help eliminate those from the full-time job pool. Let’s face it. It’s kind of disappointing to be looking for a job, come across a really cool non-profit one, and then realize it’s an unpaid volunteer gig.


This is the magic hashtag for MLK Day of Service opportunities. Although, you can probably bet people who are not volunteering will use this tag on Monday. For now, though, most tweets using this hashtag are from non-profits and workday opportunities.

I tried to see if there was a more general volunteer hashtag like “VolunteerPhilly” or “VolunteerNYC,” but those aren’t used very often. (Can we get some influential non-profits to popularize these? It seems like it would be handy!)

If you’re an organization, I also suggest using this hashtag while tweeting photos of volunteers throughout the day on Monday (both live tweet and save some to put on Hootsuite later). Because #MLKDay is being used pretty often, it would be a great way to get your organization’s name out there. Be sure to have a link to your organization in your bio and occasionally tweet a message about what others who couldn’t volunteer on Monday can do to contribute.

Another quick tip for organizations when tweeting on Monday: get and use the volunteers’ Twitter handles. Most people love pictures of themselves. This means a retweet and increased exposure for your organization.

The .gov site

While social media certainly is handy, you can check out the official government website for MLK Day volunteer opportunities.

There’s a handy search option where you can put in your area code and find volunteer opportunities near you. You can also register your organization on the site to ensure volunteerism-seekers will be able to find you.

But I cannot emphasize this enough, whether you’re a volunteer or an organization seeking volunteers: use the #MLKDay hashtag!

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.

Ford Remixes Old Fiesta Campaign for 2013 Strategy

Social Media Week has taken New York City by storm, as thought-leaders and innovators discuss industry trends and developments. Kicking off Tuesday morning at the Business and Entrepreneurship Hub at Bloomberg HQ was Global Head of Social Media at Ford, Scott Monty. Scott Monty has been ranked by Forbes as one of the Top 10 Influencers in Social Media, and his presentation clearly demonstrated his mastery in the industry.

Scott Monty started the session by emphasizing the importance of personal relationships in our rapidly developing digital age. Monty believes that social media is bringing business back to a trusted relationship, and it helps combat the impersonality of our mass media age.

After establishing these sentiments, Monty took the audience through the history of Ford’s social media efforts and the lessons they learned along the way. He pointed out that the lessons Ford learned were universal, and that both big and small businesses could benefit from them.

Four years ago, Ford launched the Fiesta Movement introducing their new Ford Fiesta. The campaign involved giving away 100 Ford Fiestas to digitally connected people around the United States for 6 months, and then tasking them with video challenges each month. The whole campaign was documented via social media platforms, and the Fiesta Movement videos earned 6.2 million views on YouTube, 750,000 views on Flickr and 40 million impressions on Twitter with the hashtag #Fiesta Movement.

All in all, the success of this campaign was measured by the 82% increase in consideration by consumers new to Ford, and a 30% gain in consumers below the age of 25. The lesson Ford learned: If you have a good product, let go of your fear and let others tell your story.

The success of the 2009 Ford Fiesta campaign must have pleased the Ford executives, because Monty announced a revamping of the same campaign for their 2013 initiative. This campaign is called Fiesta Movement: A Social Remix and is extremely similar to the campaign four years ago. It will feature 100 people, a mix of celebrities, alumni from the past campaign and regular people who will get to use a Ford Focus for six months. Like last time, each of the people will be tasked with creating a video around a specific theme each month, and this content will be eligible to be Ford’s advertising content.

Ford’s advertising for this campaign will be largely user-generated and crowdsourced from the missions and activities of the Focus advocates.

Recruitment to become a Ford Focus agent started Tuesday, February 20 and the whole campaign is expected to roll out in late April or early May. If you’re interested, you can register online at or follow the hashtag #FiestaMovement.

Image courtesy of toprankonlinemarketing

Surveying the Visual Social Media Landscape

As you might have read on Mashable, this Getty stock photo was widely circulated through social media in the wake of hurricane Sandy and purported to be a shot of the storm approaching New York, an example of one problem discussed during Tuesday’s Social Media Week panel.

Tuesday’s “The Rise of Visual Social Media” panel, moderated by Rubina Madan Fillion (Social Media Editor, The Wall Street Journal), featuring Sean Mann (Social Media Editor, The Wall Street Journal), Sion Fullana (Freelance Photographer), Liz Eswein (Co-Founder, The Mobile Media Lab), and Brian DiFeo (Co-Founder, The Mobile Media Lab) honed in on various aspects of the current state of visual social media, remaining largely within the Instagram realm.

In the culture that procrastinates by staring at posts of aggregated pictures of everything from puppies to family portraits, complacency may characterize our relationship with visual social media. Images are simply captured, consumed, and cast aside across a multitude of social media platforms. We are a community of SnapChat-like consumers. Do you actually remember what your friend’s wedding dress looked like from the photos you looked through for 20 minutes on Facebook? Didn’t think so.

Most of the panelists of Tuesday’s talk at 92Y Tribeca seem, like most of us, to take an observational role in the landscape of visual social media. Rather than discuss where technology is taking us and the cultural implications of these changes, whether they manifest themselves in the way we communicate with each other, frame our understanding of the world, or maintain (or don’t) our culture in an increasingly globalized world, the discussion almost exclusively orbited Instagram, “photoshopped” images, and how to take a good mobile photo.

Questions of practical issues were also discussed among the panelists, such as what should be done about any entity that republishes an image without attribution or credit, a very real concern in today’s world of unlimited content. Mann attempted to push the discussion to a wider vantage point by patiently cutting to the center of each question with targeted observations and commentary. Glimpses of deeper conversation were seen, but not explored in depth.

Despite this, each panelist pulled from their varying professional experiences to weave together a lively discussion. Mann assured audience members that news agencies have checks and balances, namely jigsaw replication (piecing together a scene of an event by looking at images taken from various angles by different people present), in place to avoid printing or publishing fraudulent images, while Fullana urged caution, citing a prominent Spanish publication that paid 30,000 Euro for an adulterated photograph. DiFeo and Eswein, with their extensive knowledge of Instagram, weighed in on the omnipresence and ease of photo-altering apps. According to Eswein, the presence of filters on mobile phone cameras is “just an evolution of how filters have been enabled previously” and offers the ability to bring out nuances of a photo. DiFeo assured listeners that a photo filtered the wrong way would jump out at them.

One such moment occurred when the panelists discussed newcomer to the visual social media scene, Vine, a platform for creating six-second videos and what they see as the limitations of this new format. Fullana cites our decreasing attention spans as a major obstacle to Vine’s success in the news industry, claiming no one would invest six seconds in a video when they could instantaneously gauge their interest in a story from their reaction to a photo. Fullana’s claim seems akin to promoting a movie through posters rather than trailers and, therefore, rather shortsighted. The panel seemed to unanimously agree that Vine contextually doesn’t work for news coverage because Vine videos are planned and edited rather than shot in the moment. But what if Vine-like videos, produced through this app or another technology, could prove to be the movie trailers of feature news stories Couldn’t they be more attractive than a correspondent or anchor’s one sentence pitch?  I wish, instead, they had discussed what it means for modern-day reporting if a package of six seconds or 140 characters is seen as too much content.

Maybe no one knows what advancements in visual social media mean for an array of visual industries, but Social Media Week is the best time to contemplate that horizon. Conjecture may be all we have at this point, but that’s where the exciting ideas and innovations happen. If the talk had dabbled more in the unknown, everyone’s passion for visual social media would have been more fulfilled.

Linnea Zielinski is a freelance project assistant and intern at Serious Eats and a grad student studying publishing at NYU SCPS.

Top image courtesy of istwitterwrong
“Rise of visual social media explained in a pic of the audience – almost all on their mobile phones #smwvisual” Photo and Tweet by Sean Mann (@fieldproducer)

Twelve Twitter Tips

Twitter Tips to help you make the most of your time. Yes, there are actually strategies for maximizing your 140 character missives. My advice won’t apply to every case, but I hope it will serve as a good guide for helping you craft a personalized approach for your needs. The suggestions below are primarily geared towards businesses, but can used for personal accounts, too.

As I mentioned, there are exceptions to my advice. So, if you’re a haute couture fashion model, you might want to skip to step two. Everyone else, you’re here to engage and collaborate. Project approachability. Smile! Be the “person I’d like to have lunch with,” not “person I’d rather walk up 20 flights of stairs to avoid rather than share an elevator with.” Be a confident, compassionate leader, not a dull, disinterested slacker.

If you’re really camera shy, you can use a logo or photo of an inanimate object. I wouldn’t advise it, though. People want to put a face to the tweets. Either option is still infinitely better than the default Twitter egg, however. If you can’t bother to put up any profile image, why should anyone bother to take you seriously?

This step is an extension of picking a good profile photo to represent you. Whenever I look at a new Twitter profile, I look at the photo first [out of instinct], then the bio. Who is this person? Why would I care what s/he has to say? Tell your audience who you are — Concisely & directly: What is your function? What is your expertise?

I highly advise a link to a fuller bio for people who want to know more about you. My suggestions are LinkedIn or If you have various social media accounts, the latter will neatly organize all of your redirects in one place.

Yes, there is a definitely a place for Twitter accounts that just broadcast news. They are called news outlets, like The Wall Street Journal or CNN. For most other companies, I believe it’s much more effective to humanize your Tweets. Because there will be some people who are only interested in corporate updates, I urge keeping two accounts. One that is business-oriented (Product launches, formal announcements and the such) and a second that allows for more creativity (Employee stories, thoughts about other industries, etc.). Humanize yourself and your staff. Who works at your company? What are they interested in outside of the office? Build an emotional attachment to your brand.

Hootsuite makes managing multiple accounts very easy, even on an Android phone.

If you plan to keep a business account that is not limited to formal corporate announcements, make sure you balance the ratio of personal to professional tweets.  I would aim to keep work-related updates around 70%.

Decide when you want to send out your updates. If your company is international, but based in the U.S. you might want to schedule tweets to out at 9PM US time to appear on an Asian timeline at 9AM. Figure out what time slots work best for your company and plan accordingly.

I’m currently experimenting based on Dan Zarrella’s concept of “contra-competitive timing.” In numerous cases, he discovered that the most successful times and days to publish new content are off-peak times. “It’s like when you’re at a noisy party and it’s hard to hear the person talking to you 2 feet away, but… When there is less other noise to compete with (ie fewer tweets, emails, blog posts, etc) your content can gain attention more easily.”

Again, I recommend Hootsuite for this job. Huge fan.

Now that you’ve decided XYZ day at XYZ time is optimal for you to tweet, don’t bombard your followers with all your insights at once. I don’t think that anyone needs to send out more than one tweet an hour. Any more than that, you’re should either be classified as a good friend (in which case, you should just text my personal phone number or email me directly) or a spammer (in which case, just stop. Stop now- seriously).

You have 140 characters to tell me something. Give me details.

Pointless: Checked out some clothes. Totally going shopping.

Much improved: Went to Hermes fashion show with @heatherpixley. Must buy green cashmere turtleneck Heidi Klum wore.

Quality tweets attract quality followers.

Don’t blindly follow everyone who follows you. Yes, it might feel a little rude, but it’s better than cluttering up your feed with updates that are completely irrelevant to you. I have no interest in buying real estate in Florida. Sorry.

The more time you spend on Twitter, the more feeds you will follow. Make organized lists and use them. Otherwise, things have the potential to become very messy and overwhelming after your feed tops 50 unless you only follow very niche accounts which don’t update often.

It’s also a great public service. I’ve found some great lists compiled by others. I can follow 36 new photographers or 63 CEOs in just one click.

Give. Receive. Share.

Exchange information and build relationships. This is how you will make the most of your time on Twitter.

Empower yourself and others. Remember, we’re here to be social. In fact, Social Media Week’s theme in 2012 focuses on “Empowering Change through Collaboration. This theme is designed as a call to action, allowing individuals- like you- and organizations around the world to explore how social media empowers citizens, increases mobility, enables mass collaboration, develops hyperlocalism, maximizes interconnectedness, fosters knowledge creation & sharing, bolsters leadership, and encourages global empathy.

Twitter is best understood and used by those who do. Experiment. Everyone needs a different strategy. Find the approach that works best for your specific case. I would be remiss not to tell you to heed caution in your activities, though. This is a very powerful vehicle for communication. The larger the corporation, the higher up in management, the more visible you will be. Be vigilant in your messaging choices and stay on course.

Of course!

I hope this list helped you. I could go on, but I like the alliteration of Twelve Twitter Tips. Also, I reached my word limit for this post.

Lisa Chau has been involved with Web 2.0 since graduate school at Dartmouth College, where she completed an independent study on blogging. She was subsequently highlighted as a woman blogger in Wellesley Magazine, published by her alma mater. Since 2009, Lisa has worked as an Assistant Director at the Tuck School of Business. In 2012, she launched GothamGreen212 to pursue social media strategy projects. You can follow her on Twitter