We knew this day would come eventually: the day when I attend a conference whose name doesn't begin with "Jewish." That day was last Thursday, when I found myself in NYC for another meeting, and found out (via Twitter, of course) that some of my friends were attending (and some speaking) at Jeff Pulver's conference on social media, aptly called "Social Media Jungle." When one of the speakers offered me a guest ticket to the invite-only assemblage, I couldn't refuse. The hardest part was learning that the Twitter hashtag for the conference was going to be "SMJNYC," only one letter reversal from a million JDate handles. (By the way, those of you who are going to be in NYC June 16-17 will want to check out - and maybe even pitch talks for - Jeff's new conference about Twitter, The 140 Characters conference, which will explore the effects of Twitter on Celebrity, the Media and Advertising.)
There's lots online about the experience of SMJNYC, and as a relative newcomer to the tech field, I just sat back and let myself be surrounded by the experience of tech people talking about how to harness social media on behalf of your project, personal brand, network, professional life, media sources, etc. Notably and mercifully absent (at least for me) were comments about "the shidduch crisis/singles catastrophe," "next generation engagement," and "Jewish continuity." What a relief!
Amazing how many speakers you can pack into a day if you limit each of them to a tight twenty minutes. (Hear that, Jewish conferences???) Jeff Pulver, whose ability to bring people together in real life around online social media subjects always amazes me, spoke about the fact that he has reached his Facebook friend limit of 5,000 and maintains a waitlist of over 2,050 people. How does he decide to drop a friend? The person's birthday is also, unbeknownst to them, a day of reckoning: Jeff sees your name on his birthdays list on FB, and considers your fate. Have you spammed him? Or are you the kind of friend who doesn't comment on his posts or the things that he does in his life? Then you may find yourself out of Jeff's 5,000 - back to the waitlist with you, friend. (Or, rather, "non-friend.") "Facebook changed the way I live," said Jeff. "You have to give and share if you want to get something back." (Hopefully, thanks to this post and intermittent comments on Jeff's FB notes, I'm safe from the execution block for another year.)
Friends Jeremy Epstein and Melanie Notkin presented fabulously in the 20-minutes-per-person presentation format, keeping their presentations brief, interesting and discussion-provoking. Jeremy, who's been a friend for over a decade, spoke about community-driven marketing - a delight to hear him in a professional capacity after all these years, and to know that many of my intuitions about social media are exactly what the experts are advocating. "Give them a reason to talk abotu you in trusted social networks," he advises his clients,' telling them to "find the raving fans." He also notes that, to an extent, such marketing - done consumer-to-consumer - is not something that the brands can control. "Find people who are passionate [about your product], cultivate relationships and activate them."
Melanie's a long-time friend from the Upper West Side who shared with me her plan to launch SavvyAuntie.com long before she launched this past July and became the omnipresent national media superstar that she is today. She's such a queen of social media that Jimmy Fallon accidentally showed her tweet in this MSNBC report about Twitter. (And she wrote this completely awesome and touching letter in Lisa Belkin's column in the Times about parenting.
Every presenter was a standout for different reasons and within a slightly different aspect of social media branding, marketing, training and being, and my notes can't do them justice. So if you want more about Ben Grossman (20-year-old marketing genius), Yaron Samid (see Ezra Butler's interview with him here), Sarah Cooley (who has a new show that presents you with tools - most of them free - that help you use the internet smarter), media and entertainment guru Shelly Palmer, over-40-innovator Roger Toennis and the rest, search for #SMJNYC at hashtags.org or elsewhere to see what people were writing, photographing and taping.
For video of the very funny and insightful Christine Cavalier speaking about "How 2 Talk 2 Aliens," click on the video below (courtesy of Bill Cammack), and to view the conference program, scroll below the video.
Social Media Jungle: NYC Agenda
March 19, 2009 (as of Mar 13th)
8:15 - 9:15 - Registration + Real-Time Social Networking
9:15 - 9:20 - Introduction / Welcome to the Social Media Jungle
9:20 - 9:40 - Jeff Pulver, “Some of the things I have learned by having 5,000 friends on Facebook for a year.”
9:40 - 10:00 - Jeremy Epstein - “What social media means for the future of marketing to customers and consumers.”
10:00 - 10:20 - Ben Grossman - “How to get a Return on Brand Investment in Social Media”
10:20 - 10:40 - Jonathan Ezor - “Risks associated with pitching products using Social Media”
10:40 - 11:00 - Yaron Samid - “Brainstorming: Build a Social Media Business”
11:00 - 11:20 - [Morning Break]
11:20 - 11:40 - Sarah Cooley - “Where do we draw the line between personal and brand?"
11:40 - 12:00 - Melanie Notkin - “Aren't You Curious? -How Social Media enables leaders to listen, learn and innovate”
12:00 - 12:30 - Howard Greenstein and Dean Landsman - “New Media Strategy in Challenging Times: Conquering the 3 Screen World”
12:30 - 2:00 - [Lunch Break / Social Media Pizza]
2:00 - 2:20 - Jonathan Fields - “When Worlds Collide - lessons learned from the collision of social media and internet info-marketing”
2:20 - 2:50 - Shelly Palmer - “twitter and the Media”
2:50 - 3:10 - Marshall Sponder: “Leveraging Political, Professional and Personal Virtual Connections”
3:10 - 3:30 - Roger Toennis - "Emergence! Self-Organizing, Social Media Solutions to The Economic Crisis"
3:30 - 3:50 - Christine Cavalier, "How 2 Talk 2 Aliens"
3:50 - 4:10 - Eugene Borukhovich - "Social Media and Heathcare 2.0"
4:10 - 4:40 - Oz Sultan and Israel Mirsky - “Shifts in the social graph”
4:40 - 5:00 - Geo Geller - “Social Media and the Social Sculpture of the Net”