5 Lessons Learned at Social Media Weekend 2016

After being submerged in 16 hours of content over the past two days, I would love to share a bit of my experience at the 2016’s Social Media Weekend held at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.

Social Media Weekend is an annual gathering of technology and communication professionals that brush up on the latest in the world of Social Media. My colleagues from Infinity Media USA and I have been attending this conference for the past four or five years. After attending, we always ask ourselves, what's new?

In my opinion, Social Media is still a work in progress. Every year, we see Social Media changes in leaps and bounds. In fact, the only constant thing among these platforms is change. That’s why if you were to take away one lesson it should be that any Social Media aficionado — whether expert or novice — must stay current, active, and updated.

At Social Media Weekend you will find that the panelists and participants come from the best companies, universities, organizations, and media outlets. Imagine dialoguing with Twitter's News Director or Craig from Craigslist or former CNN / Al-Jazeera analyst and journalist Ali Velshi.

Social Media Weekend distinguishes itself for the access it provides to high-profile digital and social media practitioners.

There's no more well-known practitioner than Sree Sreenivasan, creator/organizer of Social Media Weekend, digital mentor, and current Chief Digital Officer (CDO) of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met). Sree always emphasizes the importance of making connections [Always Be Connecting (ABC) — as he says].

At this year's Social Media Weekend we were introduced to new Social Media video platforms, like Snapchat and Periscope; improvements to what are considered to be "legacy" Social Media platforms — such as Facebook and Twitter; and new tools (see CUNY's Tow-Knight Entrepreneurial Journalism Center Jeremy Caplan's list of 20+ tools) to produce dynamic content from your mobile device.

The cool thing is that some of the takeaways below are even more relevant and applicable now to Social Media and the new aforementioned advances presented and discussed during this 2016 Social Media Weekend:

1 — I agree with Sree’s idea: “It’s not who follows you that matters, is who follows who follows you”, meaning, if you really want to influence and amplify your message, please keep an eye on the quality of your audience and the importance of connections.

Screenshot of Sree's Social Media Status Report where he shows the tool Twiangulate, a tool that helps you calculate the combined reach of your audience. Credit: bit.ly/sreestatusreport

2 — Video and Mobile are trending in 2016. Many of the speakers agreed on the idea of keeping your video content short and succinct. As of today, we must capture viewer attention within the first 3 seconds of the video.

Valuable advice: avoid recording vertical video (unless it’s for Snapchat).

3 — The uprising of algorithms. Digital platforms are evolving towards the use of intelligent algorithms to organize feeds according to “our interests”. Algorithms are also being implemented to decide what should appear on the “trends” section (primarily on Facebook) according to our interests.

4 — The perspective of the Digital Generation. A very exciting moment of the conference was my friend’s John Raymond Gagain presentation. He’s a 12-year-old who uses Social Media to connect with people (Family), learn more about his passions and play video games. YouTube helped John Raymond discover that he wants to become a video game programmer.

Video credit: John R. Gagain Jr., Partner at Infinity Media USA LLC.

5 — Finally, please don’t forget this 4 points that according to Sree work great online: expertise, confidence, transparency, and generosity.

Thanks for reading this far, and also thanks to Sree & Co. for organizing such a wonderful learning experience.

Puedes leer este artículo en español haciendo clic aquí.

Roman Cid is Co-Founder and Partner at Infinity Media USA LLC — an award winning media firm helping business & organizations engage audiences online [http://infinitymedia.im]. Roman has managed multimedia platforms and Social Media communities for universities, organizations, and political campaigns in the United States, Latin America, and the Middle East. He can be found on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/cidroman