Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Volunteering at SMW London and a gist of a few events on Feb 8, 2011

Before sharing my experience in Social Media Week (SMW) today, I owe my readers an introduction to SMW.

Social Media Week (SMW) started in February 2009 in New York City with over 2500 participants attending over 40 events held across various locations throughout the city and thousands participating online. In February 2010, it spread to five other cities, viz. London, Berlin, San Francisco, Toronto and Sao Paulo. SMW became a biannual event in September 2010, adding more cities viz. Los Angeles, Milan, Bogota, Mexico City and Buenos Aires. SMW February 2011 is held across 9 cities, viz. New York, San Francisco, Rome, Paris, Toronto, Sao Paulo, London, Hong Kong and Istanbul. More information about the week can be found at http://socialmediaweek.org/about/.

It is a truly global event that brings together people from all industries to discuss social and mobile media and its role in the society. SMW London February 7-11, 2011 has an impressive list of events with global sponsors including Nokia and Meebo among others. So that makes me very proud to be a part of such an event which is global and popular among the social media experts, enthusiasts and others just exploring it.

Having missed some great events on 7 February 2011, I wanted to make up for it by being to as many events today. Early in the morning, I headed back to attend an interesting event at my first employer in London, 3 Monkeys Communications (3MC). Besides the bittersweet feeling of visiting the organisation and meeting familiar people, it was an enlightening experience. Jonny Stark, the Head of Social Media at 3MC delivered a presentation on "Eyeballs and Inspiration: the story behind BiC's 'Famous Faces". Jonny outlined the importance of the ACE model, i.e. balancing Acquisition and Engagement over Content in a social media strategy and cleverly used the analogy of a see-saw with acquisition and engagement on either side of the see-saw and content at the fulcrum. He also pointed out that viral contents need not necessarily be only video, which happens to be the trend at the moment. To support this, he discussed the recent social media campaign that 3MC handled for BiC.

BiC needed a campaign to convey the longevity of BiC pens. It was a very interesting take on the campaign by 3MC where artists were challenged (without incentives) to tweet their reproductions of famous works of art using BiC pens and to do it with having ink to spare. This campaign resonated the longevity of BiC pens and successfully engage many artists who sent in 'twitpics' of their reproductions of popular art. It was a very interesting content and for more information, watch out for a 3MC blog coming up soon on their website.

The second event I attended and volunteered was Social Telly: from Campaigning to Commentary to Community Building, held at the Design Council. As much fun I had setting up the venue and registering guests, it was a great event with speakers including Joshua March (Josh), Co-founder and CEO, Conversocial and Nick Underhill, Managing Director, Keo Digital. Other panel members were Rowan Kerek Robertson, Social Media Exec (Interactive Lead), BBC Vision and Adam Gee, Multiplatform Commissioning Editor (Factual), Channel 4 and the session was chaired by Michael Nutley, Editor in Chief, New Media Age (NMA).

Nick presented the Fish Fight campaign and Josh presented interesting metrics and data on the social activities of TV channels including BBC and Channel 4. It was a very engaging panel discussion and commentary on creating engaging content for campaigns, pre-campaign outreach and the importance of controlling the frequency of feeds and depth of engagement on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. The video stream of the full session can be accessed here.

The next event at the Design Council was The Future of TV advertising: Keeping it Social. It was an event packed with speakers and panel members includinKarla Geci, Strategic Partner Development, Facebook, Vincent L├ętang, Senior Analyst, Head of Advertising, Screen Digest and Ben Hopkins, Creative Technologist at JWT. The speakers pointed out that TV was one of the first social devices that allowed people to huddle around and interact and just be social. The future of TV advertising with the advent of social ads along was discussed and the speakers pointed out the lag in the social, gaming and viral element in TV advertising. 

Each event deserves a separate blog and there are numerous learning points from each session, which I hope to cover in upcoming posts. It was a great end to a great day, having met many people, successful coming together of the event I was helping organise, great learnings and of course free lunch ;). I will keep you updated with at least the week's events that I attend and volunteer at. Please feel free to leave any comments or any burning questions you may have. 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Volunteering at Social Media Week - Part 1 (Feb 2 & Feb 4, 2011)

There are multiple reasons why I volunteered for Social Media Week London (@smwldn). I will let you decide if my reasons are justified:

1. I am a social media enthusiast.

2. I am constantly looking out for events and opportunities to participate and network with like-minded people, subject matter experts and possibly recruiters too.

3. I am in between jobs. It is only after completing my 3 months internship that I resumed my job hunt, so I had some time to spare besides going for interviews.

4. Social Media Week was just around the corner and was recruiting volunteers!

5. Social Media Week is a worldwide event and some event management experience would look amazing on my CV.

So my volunteering serves a five-fold purpose. I got super-excited and applied.
Surprisingly for a volunteer position, there was a three-stage screening process - online application and CV, telephone and face-to-face interview. I have no complains whatsoever, I got the position of a volunteer at Social Media Week (SMW) London!! I am chuffed.

Chinwag is the organisation managing the London events and I was interviewed at Chinwag office. Although the volunteering task was to manage on-site Chinwag events during SMW, I volunteered to help Chinwag with off-site prepping for events for 2 days. I met amazing people at Chinwag and a fellow volunteer Sarada. We had fun preparing and printing event signs, checking banners, getting and packing stationery, organising and checklist-ing things needed for the events and keeping everything ready-to-go.

The prepping was so much fun, can't wait to attend and volunteer at the actual events!
Are you attending SMW? Can't wait to meet you all! More updates on my experience in Social Media Week next week :) Until then, ciao.