All posts in “Social Media Week”

Cutting through the noise


Brandon Oliver Smith is Research and Insights Analyst  at Social Media Group.

This past February, a meeting of digitally minded people took place in 12 cities across the globe. The goal was to discuss emerging trends in social and mobile media. The meetings, called Social Media Week, featured an event hosted by SMG at our Richmond St office in Toronto. Here I spoke about content, and cutting through the noise in the digital age. This topic was inspired by my background in independent music and arts.

While in Junior High, Grunge music was huge. At the time, it seemed like every one in my class was wearing flannel shirts, listing to Nirvana and like any 13 year old, I desperately wanted to fit in. The only thing was, I never really liked Grunge. In fact, at the time I was secretly infatuated with early electronic music emanating from inner city Chicago and Detroit, a sound considered “weird” by the majority of my classmates.

The day I decided to follow my own tastes rather than those of the crowd is still a memorable one. I was put on a path to seek out new and interesting forms of expression. To accomplish this, I had to adopt a type of pseudo investigative journalism that involved a considerable amount of “crate digging”, zine reading and word-of-mouth from other like-minded fans.

As Internet technology evolved, the challenge of finding enough new content to satisfy my thirst became much easier. Hanging out in record stores was replaced by all-you-can-eat file sharing services and online music stores with hyperlinks that begged for discovery. Zines were replaced by blogs curated by taste-makers and trendsetters and with the rise of social networks, connecting with likeminded others was faster and more scalable than ever before. Web technology made it not only easier to find new content, but advances in affordable technology created an environment where the tools required to produce content were increasingly available to everyone.

Undoubtedly, advances in technology have transformed the way we both create and consume content. I always thought of these advances to be steps in a positive direction, until I started becoming overwhelmed with the sheer volume of content available. To make matters worse, not only was there an ungodly amount of content waiting to be consumed, the signal to noise ratio of great to filler began trending in a concerning direction.

The irony here is that after all of these advances in technology, the fundamentals rules of how trends and ideas spread have not changed. We’re now in a position to create and consume a seemingly infinite amount of content, but to uncover unique gems, we still have to roll up our sleeves and dig in the (proverbial) crates.

Social Media Roundup for April 30,2010

How’s this for an Internet throwback

Hats off to Mashable for finding this awesome Geocities-izer tool. The site lets you enter any website into the tool and spits out what the page would have looked like as a Geocities page back in the day. Check out The New York Times website Geocities-ized – complete with music!

Most Americans know Twitter, but few use it

A new report released by Edison Research reveals that Twitter awareness among Americans has been growing since 2008 with 87 percent now familiar with the tool, only slightly trailing Facebook’s awareness of 88 percent. Facebook continues to be the dominant social network in terms of usage with 41 percent of Americans maintaining profiles on the site whereas only 7 percent are tweeting.

The research also reveals that Twitter users are 3x more likely to follow brands on Twitter than on other social networking sites, and that less than half of regular Twitter users post updates, although 70 percent of these same users post status updates to other social networking services like Facebook.

Over sharing in 140 characters

We’ve all been victim to our Facebook friends and Twitter followers posting tidbits of “too much information” online. No one needs to know that you’re tweeting from the restroom, no one. The Huffington Post has put together a slide show summary of some of the worst Twitter TMI incidences – most of them from over sharing celebs.

Chatroulette inspires artists

Visual artists are taking to Chatroulette to let their creative juices flow. Check out this video of one talented user speed painting another user in various poses.

Social Media Roundup for February 5, 2010

First off, thanks to everyone who came out to our Social Media Week Toronto event last night on the Social Media RFP. I need to call our the excellent work on Social Media Week Toronto by Eli Singer and the organizing team.  If you’ve enjoyed Social Media Week events, please consider a donation to SickKids Foundation, the official charity of Social Media Week Toronto.

The Social Media Week Toronto team goal is to raise a final $10,000 to renovate the Critical Care Unit waiting room at the hospital. Donate online or through your mobile at

SMG is just warming up for the busy conference and events season. Maggie is giving the keynote at Social Fresh in Tampa on Monday morning (Feb. 8). She’s going to talk about The Art and Science of Scaling Social Media. Don’t miss it.

After Social Fresh, next up is PodCamp Toronto 2010. It is shaping up incredible event again this year. All of us at SMG are proud to be a sponsor.

A National debate on Facebook about the merits of an Onion Ring over Canada’s elected Prime Minister aside, Charlie Brooker’s (of Newswipe on BBC4) How To Report The News has our vote for viral video of the week.

In other news:

Facebook turned six this week and reached 400 million users. According to a blog post by Mark Zuckerberg:

Facebook began six years ago today as a product that my roommates and I built to help people around us connect easily, share information and understand one another better. We hoped Facebook would improve people’s lives in important ways. So it’s rewarding to see that as Facebook has grown, people around the world are using the service to share information about events big and small and to stay connected to everyone they care about.

For all you wannabe Jacques Costeau types, this week Google released new data for the ocean in Google Earth. Called Google Ocean Showcase it lets you: “Dive into the ocean and discover who lives there — from a deep sea octopus to humpback whales. Explore lost shipwrecks, dive and surf spots, the ocean’s deepest trench, and the latest discoveries of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI).” A little closer to our day-to-day, our very own Kyle McKeown alerts us that Google rolled an update to Google News this week which provides more options for users following stories in using the Custom Sections Directory feature.

That’s about all I’ve got here at the end of an incredible week. What rocked your socks in social media this week?

Social Media Week Toronto: An Event at SMG T.O.

Social Media Week is fast approaching –February 1-5, 2010- and we’re doing a little prep. In fact, the prep isn’t little at all unless you’re a superhero. It involves moving all of the furniture around in our Toronto office so that we can host you for a nifty little presentation and networking event.

We recently released the first ever Social Media RFP template to help  companies that are looking to add Social Media to their mix ask the right questions to find the right partner. On February 4th from 4pm-7pm, our executive team will be unpacking that template and explaining exactly how to use it. Of course, as a bonus you’ll have a chance to meet like minded professionals who are  also looking for great social media partners or have done fabulous work in social media themselves.

Refreshments will be on offer and the presentation will be complete with just enough time to get you home for supper- that is if you didn’t over do it on the snacks. You can get more information and register at Eventbrite to let us know you’re coming. The tickets are free and we’d love to meet you- the whole SMG team will be there!

There are also a number of other events being hosted as part of Social Media Week that will be worth checking out. Doing homework for you, BlogTO has done a nice job of summarizing the week’s events including descriptions, dates, times and locations. You should probably reserve your tickets now. I’m guessing they’ll go like hotcakes since some events already have waiting lists. Hope to see you there!