From February 13-17, in 21 cities, and with over 60,000 participants worldwide from Washington DC to Sao Paolo, Social Media Week held over 80 events all over downtown Toronto. The event is in its 4th year, and like most things world wide web & technology, Social Media Week has seen rapid growth. Before noon on Monday of last week #SMWTO was already trending on Twitter in Toronto, and trending in Canada soon followed, with big events throughout the week trending as well, like #SMWTOremix, and #SMWTOroi.
Most events were free, and required simple registration online. Even those that said sold out as the week started did in fact have space available. Once I figured this out, I went wherever my little heart desired and got a seat at everything I could make it to, enjoying coffee, snacks and yumminess from sponsor Chobani yogurt. Social Media Week takes place twice a year, so look out for the next one in the fall!
A big thanks to one of SMW’s producers Entrinsic for hosting the VIP Party at their College & Spadina HQ. It was a blast! Other selected event pics are from Successful Audience Engagement at The National Ballet School and Social Media, Social Art at The ROM – check out the pics below!
Now for a bit of a condensed rundown, here are 11 things I learned at Social Media Week Toronto:
1. Pulse Check, the kick off event Monday morning, had an excellent rundown from 10 experts in different industries, all under the blanket of Social Media. They each gave a 5 minute presentation, most with slides. Some key points that penetrated my brain-place and still have me googling and thinking about them are: In 18 months we’ll be off email. Video is the new means of communication, not consumption, especially with youth. Looking ahead, businesses need to take charge of security and legal issues before the government and law enforcement does it on their behalf.
2. Whether you’re a newbie looking into your first Facebook page, or the CEO of a company, or want to use Social Media to post about food, pets, charity or fashion, Social Media Week can inform all levels.
3. People are eager to use the power of social media for more than sharing cat photos. The fundraising potential social media offers non-profits if they tap into for-profit business models is exciting! I’m looking forward to the good this can do for the world.
4. At events, we were given the option to tweet questions to the panel using the event’s hashtag. I understand its efficiency, but still this felt kind of silly, sitting across from them. Hopefully Social Media hasn’t (already) robbed us of IRL interactions. I know, kind of counterproductive, I just don’t want us to forget what came first: people or the Internet?
5. Social Media experts tell you about the best LOLs.
6. Social Media experts tell you about the best Awws.
8. If you’re speaking on an expert panel and someone asks you a specific, opinion-based question, the answer “Do a google search” is not acceptable or informative. I could be googling at home. With PJs and ice cream. But I’m not. I’m here in my cardigan and pen & paper asking you a question. Please and thank you very much.
9. Can’t atomically split yourself to make multiple events at the same time? Have no fear! The Twitterverse will give you an informative play-by-play with all the need-to-know info and links. Here’s the Twitter feed for the much buzzed-about event “Getting Serious About Travel Blogging” at The Gladstone Hotel.
10. There is an opportunity for people in the industry to take the reigns and create their own jobs. Don’t sleep, the time is now! Apparently, speaking solely of Facebook’s app economy, it contributed 182,000 new jobs and more than $12.19 billionto the U.S. economy in 2011. #Swag.
11. Don’t forget to network!
11.5 I like Lauren O’Nizzle’s SMW wrap-up a tad better than mine.
Photos by Becca Lemire (Click to Enlarge)
Becca Lemire is one part events & street style photographer for SheDoesTheCity, Crawford Bar, nightlife, corporate, private events & freelance, and one part Social Media-er for small & medium sized companies. We love her for her internet savvy and serious skill behind the lens. To see what all the fuss is about, e-mail email@example.com