Digital.NYC’s Insider’s Look Interview with Toby Daniels, Executive Director of Social Media Week, CEO of Crowdcentric
What sets Social Media Week apart from other tech conferences?
What I think differentiates us is that we provide the best possible content experience we can. Networking is important, but it's really secondary to the content. Our attendees come expecting to be transformed in how they think about something.
The thing that connects the entire experience is the focus on providing our attendees and readers with content that really serves to help them in their professional lives. Our audience is drawn to what they do because they are professionals who are trying to figure out how to use technology, learn best practices, and look for inspiration and hands on practical and tactical content.
Of course we also have our independently hosted events, about 150 across the city, and this gives our attendees many ways to participate.
What will set this year’s Social Media Week apart from previous years?
This year we will be hosting in excess of over 200 and 300 events, bringing together about 10,000 individual attendees. We have moved to a new location to expand our seating capacity from 100 to 400 attendees per session. We categorize the events into two central buckets. The first is the official higher level focused content and the other is the School of Visual Arts focused content.
We’ve been doing this since 2009 when the conversation was very focused on the role of Twitter and its ability to inform and impact grass root movements such as presidential elections. Today, that has changed as we are talking about mobile messaging, Snapchat, and the kind of technology that is powering a new kind of communication and mobile connection. We will cover how that is impacting the way we discover things, buy products, and interact with our world. We will also touch on the ramifications of these innovations. One exciting new topic is the role of virtual reality and I believe 2016 will be the year that VR breaks into the mainstream.
How many attendees do you generally receive? Where do they come from? What sectors?
About 65% of our attendees are young professionals working in marketing, media, and technology. This year we are excited to be partnering with iconic organizations like The New York Times, Forbes, Mashable, The Economist, as well as different agencies that will lead aspects of each of our programs. We also work with a number of trade media and content partners across 40 organizations.
What can attendees walk away with or how will this event change the conversation around tech?
Our 2016 global theme is The Invisible Hand (and How It Can Be Harnessed for Good). The invisible hand represents these attributes in the way that we connect, consume, and communicate. Smart connectivity, machine data, machine learning, ordering an Uber, consuming content on Buzzfeed--they are all governed by the invisible hand. What are the positives and what are the negatives?
What is the panel or speaker you are most excited about and why?
You’ll have to check it out for yourself on January 6th when we release the speakers, content lists, and partnerships.
Is there a way for non-attendees to follow the conversation?
Follow on Twitter using #SMWNYC.
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