Here’s everything you need to know about the second day at Social Media Week NYC!

Rev. Jesse Jackson: Why Diversity in Tech Matters

The timekeepers tell Jesse Jackson his session is over, but he takes one more question.

The timekeepers tell Jesse Jackson his session is over, but he takes one more question.

Much like with Martha Stewart, when you think tech you don’t necessarily think Reverend Jesse Jackson, civic rights leader. But like with Martha, Jesse has some surprising ties to technology.

Jackson is president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, which works to increase diversity at major tech firms, including Google and Facebook. The coalition’s strategy is to first expose demographics and data and then work to implement strategies for diversification.

This morning Jesse spoke to SMWNYC attendees on why diversity is important in tech.

Here are some quotable moments from his talk:

  • “We didn’t know how good baseball could be until everybody could play.” Rev. Jesse Jackson on why diversity in tech matters.
  • “What is Twitter without #BlackTwitter? It’s nothing.” (Anil Dash)
  • “Social media can be superficial. It must be used for change.”
  • “Data makes people light up. Expose the numbers.”

The New Millenial Model for Business: Under 30 Leaders Sound Off on this Generation’s Impact

If you’re a brand unconcerned by millenials, you best rethink your strategy. By 2025, 75% of the global workforce will be comprised of millennials. While being a seasoned veteran in your field used to give you the upper hand, that’s not always true today. The innovation and creation coming from Gen Y and Gen Z is changing the way we do business.

This talk centered around three of Forbes’ 30 under 30 list: Elise Andrew, the founder of IFLScience (I F*cking Love Science); Jeremy Cabalona, community manager at Vine; and Rachel Gogel, creative director at The New York Times. Here are some of the best takeaways:

  • iflWhen asked whether including the F word in her brand name was a positive or a negative, IFLScience founder answered that while advertisers don’t always like it, people can relate to it. It’s real, not very corporate, and has a lot of personality. Plus, “No other word conveys that same level of emphasis.” While traditionally this may have an adverse affect, celebrating the avant garde and being down-to-earth can go a long way.
  • When each was asked to describe their biggest professional fear, the answers greatly differed from the answers that their parents or grandparents may have given. Job security is a concern of the past. The workforce of today and the future is mostly concerned with aspects like losing creative control, losing the hunger for what’s next, and not feeling challenged.
  • As many of us have witnessed and as IFLScience founder noted, “The comments section on social media is a cesspool.” I too often scroll through comments looking for general opinion on matters, but the negative typically outweighs the positive. Name calling, online bullying…for whatever reason, people are drawn to get much nastier online than they would likely ever get in person. This panel spoke to the importance of adding a voice of positivity if you agree with the OP, because many do read comments. Even if general response is overwhelmingly positive, it’s easy for the OP to focus on the negative minority. Speaking to one particularly extreme social media attack, Elise says “I hid under my bed for a few weeks.”
  • As a brand, if you’re trying to relate to and engage Millenials, don’t just read a story about it; consider hiring a 15-year-old consultant who can share a perspective with you that you may not have considered. You may find Gen Z is using a platform differently than you. Follow the target audience. See first-hand how they’re interacting on these platforms.
  • Remember the 5-year plan? 10-year plan? Yeah…most Millenials don’t have a 1-year plan. As Elise put it, “I have no idea what’s going on. I’m enjoying every second of it and taking advantage of opportunities.” Jeremy echoed her thoughts, observing, “Who knows what the landscape’s going to look like in five years?”
  • An audience member asked how, as creatives, we can “calm a client down” about an idea that may seem very scary, new, and risky. It’s every agency’s roadblock. Rachel shared that she will typically try a few things, show that it works, and measure engagement to create trust and open up the doors for more creative ideas.

Networks of Influence: Hosted by Translation, Elite Daily, and Crimson Hexagon

smwsignThe rise of the connected class has made it theoretically easier to reach target audiences, but more difficult to forge authentic connections with consumers. This shift is seen most prominently in the ever-coveted millennial audience, where conventional approaches to marketing have an adverse effect.

This session focused largely on targeting “networks” rather than “audiences” and how marketing to the connected class requires a deeper understanding of cultural influence and the role social plays in the spread of products and ideas.

  • The people we hang out with influence how we act. We look to the people around us for social cues. What’s socially acceptable (e.g., if a room comes to their feet for a standing ovation, you will stand). People drive the behaviors we take on.
  • We’re constantly trying to sway behaviors to get people to buy. Advertising is about understanding people – that much has always been true.
  • People rely on people. That’s what makes social media so unique and powerful. Advertising is linear, but social marketing forces brands to tap into the online social norms, rituals, etc. If brands can tap into the glue of the network, then things start to happen.
  • Target audiences aren’t real, they’re fabricated. No one wakes up and says, “I’m a digitally connected savvy millenial.” Networks are real people – our friends, families, and community. They have social norms, rituals, that you can’t break or you get kicked out of the network.
  • Target audiences are efficient, but relationships aren’t. Take time to find your influencers.
  • When people talk about influencers, they’re talking about a lot of different things. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish to help; identify. Your ideal influencer may be someone who receives a lot of mentions or who has the biggest following or who is the biggest online extrovert.
  • Elite Daily initially started by targeting small networks of college students, such as sororities and frats, and asked them to write something cheeky. They would also segment groups of friends on Facebook and monitor what they’d share to know what type of content to generate, and it had a snowball effect. Many people trust their friends more than news and would rather have authenticity in content than fanciness.
  • ED says they do content better because they follow the FUBU model. If there’s nothing out there like what you want, make it yourself.