Preview: Social Media Week Berlin 2012

by James Glazebrook

I’m excited about Social Media Week Berlin (24th – 28th September), for three good reasons: 1) social media is both my job and my private life – and the reason I can’t always tell the difference between the two; 2) this year’s schedule is full of even more awesome than last year’s (read my highlights here); 3) oh, and I was part of the Advisory Board responsible for putting it all together (see my biog and moody photo here). Here are my personal picks of what is shaping up to be a very special week here in Berlin. All events are free, and open to the public (although you do need to register), so I’ll see you down there!


Social Media Week Official Opening Party @ Fluxbau (event info)
A no-brainer this one, with free drinks (the Nokia-sponsored Social Bar will give away beer, wine or long drinks, depending on which of three hashtags is most popular at the time), views of the Spree and a performance by an Italian band touring all the European Social Media Weeks: Gardens of Alibis woooooo. Friday’s closing party should be something special too – silent disco, anyone?


Network Awesome @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info)
No more information on this yet, but if it’s half as awesome as Network Awesome’s cleverly curated YouTube videos, it should be Fucking Awesome. Par example, here’s a collection of their head-bangingest, mind-fuckingest heavy metal videos:

Yellow – The Movie Screening @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info)
The cast and crew of this neo-Gallo horror shot right here in Berlin will explain how crowdfunding made it happen, before screening the gruesome short film itself. The movie’s been shown at Film 4 Fright Fest in London and other festivals, and is already picking up rave reviews. I’ll be down the front, hiding behind my box of popcorn.

Yellow movie poster


Collaborative Consumption @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info)
People from companies such as Gidsy and Wimdu put their heads together to address the important business of using technology and human ingenuity to develop new ways of sharing, lending and exchanging time, skills and resources.

Beer Tasting @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info)
Need I say more?

I Wanna Dance with Somebody… in Chicago! @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info)
Berlin’s own Paulo Reachi (Tresor) goes up against a Chicago DJ as their sets are simultaneously broadcast in both cities. To get you warmed up, here’s a playlist from Reachi’s Airdrop Records, including the likes of Soul Clap.


Berlapthlon – The Berlin based Heptathlon @ Naherholung Sternchen (event info)
I’ll be taking a break from the day’s hardcore gaming/business content for the appallingly-named, but fun-sounding Berlapthlon. Don’t know if I’ll be taking part in what sounds like a silly sporting event to rival the Slowlympics, but I’ll certainly be there to witness the following activities:

1) Chess (10 minutes)
2) Table tennis
3) Find and eat a vegan currywurst
4) Swim in a lake
5) Bottle opening
6) Bottle collection
7) Get into Berghain


Tod und Social Media / Talking Death @ Design Akademie Berlin (event info / event info)
Both are in German, but I might test my language skills at the closing, and potentially most interesting, sessions of Social Media Week 2012. The first is a talk by Jörg Eisfeld-Reschke of ikosom.de, who is then joined by a journalist, founder and an academic for a discussion about what happens to us – on Facebook – after we die. After all that Deutsch and death, I’m going to need a drink!

For the full Berlin schedule, go to SocialMediaWeek.org. If you were curious about what’s happening ALL OVER THE WORLD on Social Media Week, check out these curated guides:

Social Impact
Jobs & Job Seeking
D-I-Y and Arts
Global Curator Don Tapscott’s Guide
SMW Founders Ultimate Guide

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Highlights of The Hive

by James Glazebrook

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Social Media Week Berlin Highlights

by James Glazebrook

We may have been in Milan for much of Social Media Week, but I still made it down to a couple of thought-provoking sessions before we left. As with Hello Etsy the weekend before, the best thing about SMW was the chance to put faces to the URLs of our online buddies, including Travels of Adam, Nicole is the New Black, Yvonne from Just Travelous and Katja glamcanyon. When I wasn’t talking crap over a Club Mate, here’s what I learned:

Gamification is set to be The Next Big Thing

The keynote speech from Gabe Zichermann of gamification.co focused on the “process of using game concepts and mechanics to engage users”, particularly location-based gaming concepts. As a foursquare refugee, it was refreshing to hear an expert describe pure location-based gaming as “a total shitshell”. Also, as a social media consultant with automotive clients, it was interesting to hear about the games built into the dashboards of hybrid and battery electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, that give feedback to the driver about the vehicle’s performance.

Unfortunately, the below video is missing the fascinating round table discussion that took place immediately after, with Berlin-based social games developer wooga and the inspiring Willempje Vrins from figure running, the crazy Dutch folks who started drawing pictures on maps using existing running applications, then ended up building their own app. As with everything that co-opts a (historically) niche subculture and turns it to commercial gain, gamification has been criticised by videogames experts. Personally I disagree with Ian Bogost’s core argument that gamification is “marketing bullshit” because it is “used to conceal, to impress or to coerce”, as that is what marketing is supposed to do. That’s like 1976 punks bemoaning the fact that hair product commercials feature kids with fauxhawks. Accept it, move on.

Aaaanyway, watch Gabe’s speech for yourself and see what you think:

Keynote on Gamification – Gabe Zichermann – Social Media Week Berlin – Sept. 19, 2011 from SMWBerlin on Vimeo.

Everyone wants to be a Community Manager

It was fascinating to hear from the community management experts at Nokia Germany and Soundcloud, among others. Their discussion reinforced some basic principles (number of fans is less useful than activity and engagement) and revealed philosophical differences between those companies for whom their community is central to their mission and those that either treat social as a marketing channel and/or outsource it.

It was also interesting to hear about the number of people who want to get into community management (especially here in Berlin), to have some common illusions dispelled (no, it’s not just getting paid to tweet) and to learn about some unusual – but in retrospect, obvious – approaches to securing these jobs, like: join a community, and build your profile within it.

Job Title: Community Manager – Social Media Week Berlin 2011 (EN) from SMWBerlin on Vimeo.

Trendsmap is cool

This tool, that CNN uses to source stories, plots real-time Twitter trends on a map, according to the location from which they were posted. Check out what our fellow Berliners are talking about.
Trendsmap Berlin
iReport is also cool

iReport is CNN’s own tool, which bridges the gap between the immediacy of social media reports, and the accuracy of mainstream news media. Essentially, anyone can submit a story which will appear on the iReport website, and then CNN will do their journalistic thing and follow them up, mark legit stories as vetted, and use them in their online and broadcast news reports. You can see reports from Social Media Week here.

Facebook isn’t as useful for brands as they have been led to believe

I was gutted to miss a talk from Market Sentinel, a UK company that I work with. However, this blog post breaks down the results of a summer’s worth of research: Facebook ads don’t work for brands; Facebook fan pages don’t work for brands; Facebook apps should work for brands, but often don’t. Illuminating reading.

Social is great, but real life is better

Berlin is full of inspiring people doing amazing things in social, but we never get to see them! We have plans for a meetup of our own, but in the meantime the 4-Hour-Workweek Berlin group will act as our real-world support system. See you down there!

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