This past week, I attended Social Media Week here in New York City, at my company's sponsorship, and it was definitely an incredible experience. SMW has been held in NYC for the last six years, and I've attended the last three. Every year, I make some incredible connections, learn a heckuva lot, and came away with some great ideas and quotes that I intend to use.
The biggest change this year was them having a single, centralized location for the majority of the events. A single staging ground, combined with the volunteers actively clearing the room after each session, made this conference a lot more tolerable than it has been in years before. In addition, I no longer work in Financial District and have to "commute" to Flatiron; the stage was in this CRAZY out of the way location (over by Chelsea Market, at 15th and 9th Ave) but I work in Flatiron now, so getting to the convention center was a matter of two trains and walking a good block and a half. Basically: it wasn't too bad.
It was also the largest Social Media Week I've ever seen. Talk after talk was filled to standing-room-only, and nearly every masterclass was filled to capacity. Most of the panels and talks were also streamed by LiveStream, and the videos continue to remain in perpetuate, linked from the individual event pages. I attended about half of my planned events digitally and half physically, and the experience for both was comparable. We live in the future, and it's basically amazing.
I often have found that Social Media Week tends to talk to large agencies and PR firms more than startups and smaller houses. That was not the case this year; there's a convergence happening in media, and large agencies have begun pushing towards representing themselves the way startups do, or at least engaging their users and fans in ways more in tune with new media entities (e.g. Buzzfeed, whose name was all over this year's SMW) and their strategies. Mercifully, "millennials" was a seldom-used word.