The first Social Media Week went live in 2008, as Twitter was just hitting the mainstream and Lehman Brothers announced it was going bankrupt and would take down the economy with it. For better and worse, much has change. And Social Media Week continues to expand. It started to stress connectivity across continents last year, and this year the list of host cities already includes Barcelona, Bogotá, Doha, Hong Kong, Jeddah, LA, Shanghai, and Turin (among others). Individuals can register at any point for this year’s program, and organizations can prepare submissions to offer sessions for next year. What will the 2012 week bring?
Most nonprofit staff probably won’t be heading to São Paulo or Berlin for the week, but being a part of the international brainstorming and future-planning is made easy by technology. Here is the full global schedule. Topics include: “Truth. And Trust. Why What You Do Matters In Social Media” (London, 24 Sept.), “The App Phenomena In A Fast-Changing World” (Jeddah, 25 Sept.), and “Social Media For Social Action: Empower Your Supporters, Advocates and Customers” (Chicago, 28 Sept.). Registration for most events is free, is done online, and gives you online access to some of the brightest thinkers in technology and communications. Follow the Social Media Week Twitter feed for up-to-date developments before and during this year’s festivities.
If you either can’t get involved that particular week, or if you have the expertise and interest to be a facilitator in such a program, SMW will be launching a School of Emerging Media and Technology on the opening day. The mission is “to connect the world’s greatest leaders in social media with professionals whose daily jobs and activities require a basic-to-advanced understanding of the tools, technologies and best practices that are driving change in industry.” The classes will be offered through the Skillshare web platform (sorry, still no trip to São Paulo), and one can already sign up for the first round of classes, which begin soon after Social Media Week. As Toby Daniels, founder of SMW, put it in an exclusive interview to The Huffington Post,
The School will be the first accredited school on the Skillshare platform and will provide a way for leaders in social media to provide education and training to professionals whose daily jobs and activities require a basic-to-advanced understanding of the emerging tools, technologies and best practices that are driving change in their industry.
For those organizations who want to sponsor classes for future years, and if your city would like to host events, the application process is not onerous. According to SMW’s own guidelines, “Your host team will need to have at least 2 people working full-time to organize SMW at least 6 months prior to the conference. 2-3 month leading up to SMW, you will need to have closer to 4-5 people working full-time.” So an Olympic-sized committee isn’t necessary, though an urban culture of technological innovation is expected.
The entry costs for this ever-growing event are minimal, so any ambitious nonprofit that wants to improve its outreach and fundraising should invest a few staff hours in these online classes!
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Written by: Christopher Gardner, PhD