Archive for “August, 2009”

SMG Sponsors Defrag 2009

I’m very pleased to announce that SMG will be sponsoring Defrag 2009, being held November 11&12 in Denver, Colorado. In case you’re not familiar with this conference:

Defrag is the first conference focused solely on the tools and technologies that are leveraging the “social” aspect of software to accelerate the “aha” moment. Defrag is not a version number. Rather it’s a gathering place for the growing community of implementers, users, builders and thinkers that are working on the next wave of software innovation.

When Eric Norlin and I first started talking about the event and how we might get involved, I remember him very clearly saying that Defrag wasn’t about case studies – in fact they didn’t want ‘em. He wanted startling ideas that would start conversations and get people thinking. The conference format supports that nicely with a series of ten or 20 minute “POVs”, intended to encourage discussions and raise lots of questions.


I’m pretty jazzed about my session, I’m going to talk about some really interesting new physics research into mathematical “swarm” models and their potential implications for social networks and other online communities. Here’s my blurb; I worked out some of this material at last nights’ IgniteTO, but am looking forward to going deeper:
When the Followers Lead – Flock Behavior in Communities

Leaders lead and followers follow, right? Not always. Physics researchers have identified that a few well-placed, co-ordinated “followers” in a flock of birds can shift the direction of hundreds. What are the implications of that for businesses and online communities undergoing change? Can the followers lead?

There are still tickets available for Defrag 2009 at earlybird prices (but only until August 31st) – you can register here and see who else you know who’s attending by clicking here:


O'Reilly's Ignite Coming to Toronto

Have you ever been to an Ignite event? They’re fascinating. Presenters get five minutes with 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. Topic? Whatever you want (very much like Trampoline Hall in that respect). Here’s the official description:

Ignite! captures the best of geek culture in a series of five-minute speed presentations on topics ranging from The Best Way to Buy a Car to Hacking Chocolate. Imagine that you’re on stage in front of an audience of hundreds of people, doing a five-minute presentation using a slide deck that auto-forwards every 15 seconds, whether you’re ready or not. What would you do? What would you say? Could you stand the pressure? We’re ready to see what Toronto has to say!

Organizers Michele Perras and Peter Horvath have set the date for the first Toronto Ignite as August 25th, and they’ve clearly done a great job – the event is sold out!

So here’s the catch: I’ve been invited to present (on any topic I want). What do you think I should talk about?

SMG Panels for SxSWi – Voting is Now Open!

SxSWi is the largest (and possibly the least expensive) interactive conference in the world. It’s often referred to as “spring break for geeks“, and aside from the obligatory SxSWi flu that everyone seems to leave with, it’s an amazing chance to absorb, share and discuss what it means to work in the social web with some of the most brilliant, passionate and funny people I’ve ever met. Oh, yeah – and then there are the parties.

Anyway, this year we’ve gotten it together in time to submit two panels for SxSWi ’10. Both are advanced-level sessions with experienced practitioners who are working on the front lines and willing to share their leading-edge experiences with attendees. It’s my expectation that these sessions will be enormously valuable and provide tremendous insight (we’re all about adding value). Here are the abstracts, and of course, if you agree that they look promising – please vote us on to the agenda!

News 2.0: how old media companies are inventing new models

Newspapers are dying and media conglomerates are collapsing; but is the “old media” company really dead? In this session we’ll hear from innovators within some of the largest and oldest media networks in North America, and learn about their efforts to evolve the old model into something new, relevant and solvent in today’s infinite-channel landscape.

What we’ll talk about:

  • How old media companies are thinking about content differently: adopting new modes of syndication and delivery
  • Should there be a difference between journalists and “citizen observers”?
  • Beyond Craigslist: what new revenue models are old companies exploring, and can they reinvent themselves quickly enough to survive?
  • Innovation: what model works best for disruptively transforming media companies from the inside, and what does it look like?
  • The mainstays of social media: reviews, crowdsourcing and engagement at the local level (where most of the revenue is) are not all that they’re cracked up to be
  • News of old media’s death may be greatly exaggerated. Join us for this engaging discussion with old companies that are innovating in an effort to reinvent themselves as profitable, sustainable sources of
    information and digital content.

    Speakers: Laura Conaway, NPR, Mathew Ingram, The Globe and Mail, Candice Faktor, TorStar Digital, TBA, Turner Broadcasting

    Vote for this panel here.

    Scaling Social Media: Getting Credible Content To Mass Audiences

    In year one, executives wanted to know WHY social media. In year two, WHO was writing about them. In year three? HOW MANY are reading. You have a new problem now – that’s how to scale your social media efforts.

    Everyone agrees that you are winning hearts and minds – making your company better and generating significant digital word of mouth. The problem? You’re doing it almost by hand. In this engaging panel
    discussion you’ll learn from experienced social media leaders about how to scale social media efforts to generate the levels of reach and awareness that big companies need in order to see positive impact on
    their bottom line.

    What we’ll talk about:

  • Integrating the mass and the social – social media is highly credible content, but its reach is limited.
  • What tools and techniques are leading brands using to bring it to wider audiences?
  • Quality of attention: while you may get eight or nine million pairs of eyeballs on a successful social media initiative, one story on the evening news will get the same – basically for free. We’ll talk about managing expectations and educating executives about the difference in “quality of attention”
  • We all agree that ads are declining in effectiveness, but awareness on a mass scale is still critical to business success – what are some of the new models companies are using to get highly credible UGC or corporate content in front of millions of people who care and matter?
  • Time or money: when it comes to reach, you need one or the other. Making sure your team understands that social media is not “free”.
  • Vote for this panel here.

    Speakers: Scott Kelly, Ford Motor Company Digital Marketing, Yaron Galai, CEO, Outbrain, Jim Cuene, Digital Marketing (social media), General Mills, Brett Wilson, CEO, Tubemogul

    Finally, if you’ve been following the discussion around the terrible lack of diversity on conference stages that’s been boiling the last few weeks, here’s your chance to make a difference. Technically Women, which is a group blog authored by an amazing array of women in technology from all over the world, has listed the panels its members have proposed. Alexandra Samuel over at Social Signal has also compiled a list of quality female-dominated proposed panels for SxSWi. If you know of any similar listing, please let me know in the comments and I’ll happily update this post.

    Now – get voting!

    What Does it Take to be a "Top 10" Social Media Speaker?

    This is an excerpt from a post I wrote for the Technically Women blog yesterday afternoon. With Twitter back up today, it’s been much-discussed, and was subsequently re-posted on ZDnet by Dennis Howlett, so I thought I would share it with you here.

    I think part of the problem is many of us suck at two things: valuing our skills and engaging in healthy self-promotion. There may be a good reason for the latter, which is what I want to focus on: when it comes to social media in particular, self-promotion so frequently trumps actual accomplishments that we have a saucy little word for it – douchebaggery. No one wants to be seen as a douchebag (except for the douchebags, and that’s because they don’t know any better).

    I would love to hear your feedback – why do you think there aren’t there more women on the speakers’ circuit? What do we need to do differently?

    TVO launches Social Media Press Releases with Digital Snippets

    TVO Digital Snippets

    TVO Digital Snippets

    We are excited to announce that TVO has just launched a series of four social media press releases (SMPRs) on the Digital Snippets platform. While we can’t claim to have been the first to develop SMPRs, we believe that the Digital Snippets platform takes a different approach by supporting a continuous narrative with influencers along a theme rather than a static media release with multimedia assets attached.

    TVO has begun with four releases on the topics of Digital Innovation at TVO, Education Resources for Parents, Helping Kids Become Better Learners, and Using Media for Citizen Engagement. Each of these four topics will feature ongoing feeds of content from TVO.

    Digital Snippets are modular press release platforms that allow companies to tell evolving stories – not static ones that are over the minute they hit the web. Our client Ford has been using the Digital Snippets platform for their SMPRs for almost two years now and have acheived great success with their SMPR content used by digital influencers in over 5000 posts (for more information on Ford and Digital Snippets see the presentation from Web 2.0).

    Congratulations, TVO!