We Media NYC: This Time it’s Personal

By Kati Tusinski Berg

Last week I attended the We Media conference in New York City. Now in its seventh year, the We Media conference is where “technovators, changemakers and socialpreneurs” apply media, tech and ‘the power of us’ to bring solutions to 21st century challenges. Unlike other professional conferences I have attended, We Media has a totally different vibe to it – digital, innovative, and forward thinking.

Before we even arrived to NYC, the conference organizers encouraged participants to share their biographical information and contact points via Facebook or LinkedIn. During the short but insightful presentations, participants, including myself, used Twitter to highlight key ideas about digital communication, revolutions of journalism, changing world of advertising and waves of digital communication.

I really enjoyed Scott Heiferman’s presentation titled “People, not iPads,” because as the founder of Meetup he uses social media to connect people with similar interests (from Tea Party activists to people who hate to exercise to moms wanting to improve education) who then meet up face-to-face to engage and interact with each other. He believes the “next wave in social media isn’t media but people connecting with each other.” He wants people “to use the Internet to get off the Internet.”

According to Heiferman, groups interacting together are much more powerful than listening to one speaker. His message resonated with me because it gives students an opportunity to fuse their interest in social media with community action to Be the Difference. Social media is a great way to get the conversation started and to connect people but in order for people to take real action they need to meet face-to-face so to increase the collective power of their actions. Out of stories of me should come stories of we—the power of us.

I could go on to explain three waves of the digital age (commercialization, democratization and validation), talk about why the 30 second ad doesn’t work any more, or discuss the challenge of making content relevant and personal to consumers but let’s take Heiferman’s advise to heart and chat in person. I can be found most days in 519 Johnston Hall. Stop by chat.

Kati Tusinski Berg is an Assistant Professor of Corporate Communications and Public Relations in the Diederich College of Communication.
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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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