Social Media Week Hamburg 2013 Flyer

Social Media Week Hamburg 2013 #SMW13

With over 160 events on five days and way more applicants than available seats and sessions, the Social Media Week Hamburg established its place amongst the most important digital events in Germany.

With around 9000 applicants on over 160 events, one needs to be fast to register for the sessions and workshops that raise one’s interest. For five days, Hamburg becomes the epicenter of everything digital & social media related.

Attending any session and workshop  is free, given that you’ll make it to “book” a seat in advance. In general this fact is quite remarkable, as the whole event depends on sponsors (especially offering locations) and lots of volunterring.

The following few paragraphs describe the three sessions that I’ve found to be most memorable, although this has been only a fraction of all things offered:

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Shit Social Media Experts Say #SSMES

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[tab title=”Speaker”]Martin Giesler, Journalist at ZDF[/tab]

[tab title=”Location”]Macromedia Hochschule für Medien und Kommunikation (MHMK)[/tab]

[tab title=”Hashtag”]#SSMES[/tab]

[tab title=”Website”]Shit Social Media Experts Say[/tab]

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My week kicked off with a session that’s been something between self-reflection and fun; hosted by Martin Giesler from the digital branch of the ZDF, the sessions purpose was to create a video that shows off some of the lingo many digital workers get to hear and say all day long. From the likes of “I forgot Google+” to one worders like “Foodporn!”, the group (and even some remote participants) created small clips that Martin cut together.

In the end and especially considering the rush in which both the takes and the cutting were done, the end result turned out to have become quite a remarkably amusing video:

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I’m speaking and nobody is listening #SMWtalkToMe

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[tab title=”Speaker”]Jeremy Abbett, Creative Evangelist at Google[/tab]

[tab title=”Location”]Kulturwerk West[/tab]

[tab title=”Hashtag”]#SMWtalkToMe[/tab]

[tab title=”Website”]I’m speaking an nobody is listening[/tab]

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To be honest, my expectations on this event were quite high, although I wasn’t entirely sure on what to expect. Luckily, speaker Jeremy Abbett from Google gave one of the most interesting and well presented sessions of the whole week. As announced on the events page, a quote by Neal Stephenson pretty much sums up the session:

Interesting things happen along borders – transitions – not in the middle where everything is the same. – Neal Stephenson

Jeremy presented things like a radio that played Spotify songs, which are being saved on RFID chips (the actual link more probably) then are to be held in front of the device, which instantly starts playing the song, bridging the gap between both new and familiar technology.

Being a creative evangelist at Google, Jeremy showed a not-so-new, but nevertheless really impressive video of a blind man, using one of Google’s self-driving cars in order to get some food at Taco Bell, a thing he was never able to do before:

One great idea on combining technology with a human touch is something Jeremy built himself: A hanging lamp that both adjust its height and direction based on where in the world Jeremy currently is (using Google Latitude) in order to give his family a sense of being connected.

The event summed up:

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Von Social Media zum Social Business

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[tab title=”Speaker”]Stefan PfeifferMarketing Lead Social Business Europe, IBM[/tab]

[tab title=”Location”]Macromedia Hochschule für Medien und Kommunikation (MHMK)[/tab]

[tab title=”Hashtag”]#SMWIntranets[/tab]

[tab title=”Website”]Von Social Media zum Social Business[/tab]

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The most appealing thing about Stefan’s session what the simple fact that in a company like IBM, which has around 430k employees, things that one would refer to as being “social” are lived by day by day since quite a while.

Stefan emphasized that social technology simply can’t be stopped and that businesses should take advantage of the fact and treat social channels just like any existing form of communication, also these might still show a higher rate of participation. Furthermore he pointed out that not only the actual social channels/services are important touchpoints, but also the fact that the whole chain of devices, from mobile over tablet to desktop should be considered when crafting corporate communications.

The obligatory shift from digital immigrants to digital natives was shown and especially regarding the business side, underlined by some studies that showed the importance of being on the edge of marketing and online communications.

Another study that was presented dealt with the use of the home/mobile office rather than having a “forced” workplace. Whilst many companys still are hesistant about finding solutions regarding this matter, is has been shown – despite some other things –  that employees who work from a remote location do work between seven and twenty hours more per week, a fact that surely can be seen from two sides.

At last, Stefan pointed out how all of these drivers of change come together at IBM. Not only has the “new” CEO, Virginia Rometty started a video blog rather than sending mass emails, but the employees themselfs are creating communities around general and specialized interestests, therefore spending less time on solving problems and actually saving money.

Many more interesting facts can be found in the presentation Stefan gave:

Bottom Line

The Social Media Week promises to be offering interesting sessions for both “beginners” and “professionals”, and that’s exactly what it delivers. The choice of different topics and speakers makes it both easy and hard to pick one’s favorites, as there are simply to many great sessions one might go to.

The sessions described here are only really the tip of the iceberg and no matter one’s background, there are enough interesting sessions, people and workshops for journalists, media professionals, politics,  nerds and people generally interested in the topic itself. Of course, the discussions following sessions and workshops are mostly even more interesting, and the casual and open atmosphere engages talking to each other.

Would I visit again next year? Most definitely.

 PS: One big thanks goes out to the organization team and all volunteers. As an attendee, almost everything worked flawless and all events were not only on time, but generally offered no problems for registered attendants as well as people who just tried to drop by.