6 Social Media Week sessions that changed my perception of Social Media

The week between February 17 and 22 was one of the most craziest and yet enlightening weeks I have ever had since my days at college. The Social Media Week at New York. I was selected to be one of the 5 SMW Reporters for the Social Media Week in New York and that means that I get to attend all the sessions (practically impossible) during the event. To me the definition of Social Media was Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a few other apps that lights up the lives of the people who otherwise lead a pathetic, lonely and depressing life.  But then this perception has now totally changed. Thanks to the exposure to some mind boggling sessions at the Social Media Week in New York.

Disclaimer: It was not humanely possible to attend all the sessions, due to overlapping schedules and also human tiredness, hunger and jetlag. So here is a list of sessions, from which I had managed to attend, in NO PARTICULAR ORDER.

You can click on the session to read more about it and some sessions also have the video recordings, which is free for you to watch and get enlightened.

Hangouts: The Future of Live Broadcasting, presented by Google+

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To me Hangouts was just Google Talk on steroids. But then this session chaired by Steve Grove, Director of Community Partnerships at Google+, shed the spotlights on Google+ Hangouts to me and showed that it was a great tool that is being used by many Media Houses, Fashion Industry and Retail Industry to reach audience and touch lives personally. Hangouts is not just any video conference tool, it has got a huge social media dimension to it. We also know that Hangouts has now grown a new branch to itself, called the Helpouts. But that’t a different use-case to Hangouts. Hangouts is being used by Retail and Fashion industry to sell products to consumers. Celebrities use it to keep in touch with their fans and that in turn is breathing new life into the entertainment or the sports industry. Truly this session has changed the way I see Google+ Hangouts and also I now realize that Social Media is also about that personal touch and Instant gratification that brands, products and celebrities can extend to the common people, which would have been otherwise impossible.

Upworthy’s Real Mission: A Keynote Announcement from Eli Pariser, Co-CEO and Co-Founder

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What makes a video or any content on the internet to go viral? This has always been an elusive question in my mind. The key note presentation by Eli Pariser or Upworthy shed some light on this. Eli talked about content curation and how the editors at Upworthy choose a content based on its quality and don’t concentrate on quantity to make it go viral. The content must appeal to the broader issues and it must really speak to the people. There were a lot of takeaways from this session and it shed light on how to author a content that would make itself noticeable to Internet audience. But what stuck me more than anything is that video content is the way forward. Mobiles, Tablets and Computers are not the only touch points for the internet. With the advent of Smart TV and other Internet of things – devices like the Chromecast, Apple TV and Google TV, curated content catering to the specific needs and likes of an Individual, is the current trend in the Social Media.

Building Essential Products for the Social World, with John Borthwick, CEO of betaworks

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Start-ups and their success stories are a great inspiration for any tech evangelist. Betaworks is a start-up studio based in New York. When it comes to building the essential components of a social media company, no one understands itsbetter than Betaworks. Giphy, Tapestry,  Bloglovin, digg,  instapaper are some of the products that are currently incubated by Betaworks. To hear the stories of these start-ups from the brains behind it was truly inspiring. These kind of start-ups have the pure DNA of a social media product and to hear from them on how to effectively build a social media product was an eye opener.

Masterclass: The Power of Hashtags: Case Studies and Mechanics for Both Users and Brands

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I was surprised to hear that 24% of status messages posted on the social media have #hashtags. TagBoard is a company that uses these hashtags to effectively aggregate and deliver social media content in silos called TagBoards, as desired and configured by the user. Services like TagBoard collect public feeds from the Social Media sites and delivers these messages to the users after profiling by #hashtags. Josh Decker, the Founder and CEO of TagBoard, gave a detailed talk on how to use the Hashtags and also showcased some success stories. I used to post some long hashtags in my Twitter and add #hashtags #to #almost #every #word. Sometime I #hashtagtheentiremessage. Now I realize that they are all useless, and just annoying my friends and followers. I now realize the full power of #hashtags and learnt how to effectively use them in the Social Media.

PSFK Labs’ Future of Retail Showcase: Creating a Sustainable Instant Retail Model

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The Future of Retail business is the social media. Retail houses rely a lot on the Big Data that is generated by the social media. They not only study the spending patterns, but also the behavioral patterns and offer personalized services to the user. It is not about selling products anymore. It is about selling the user experience. This session was handled by CEOs of Retails startups and a few other big names including Google+ Lifestyle partnership. Build a bear and Kate Spade Saturday case studies were quite interesting. Me being an user experience designer, the concept of how the social media helps retail houses create and sell a better experience totally made sense to me.

Masterclass: Making Longform Videos That People Will Watch

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If you had thought that short clips and quick videos are the most watched content on the Internet, you are in for a surprise. Motherboard the specialist not just creating long form videos, but also making them go viral, gave us a talk on how they manage to do it.

The world of social media is always on and always connected and that is the Future of Now. Watch this space for more content from the Social Media Week in New York, that happened between Feb 17 and 22 of 2014.

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