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This is going to be an awesome event, less than two months away now…
-Definitely my most exciting side project to date.
After several months of quiet work, I’m extremely excited and proud to announce my latest side project.
The St0ry is a unique gathering of 30 innovative, disruptive, entrepreneurial thought leaders, from a diversity of fields (media, academia, journalism, social activism and more), coming together because of a shared passion for the evolution of storytelling, digital trends and the increasing role of story in almost everything.
The all-expense-paid event will be held in Las Vegas, preceding CES, in January, 2013. Funding is generously provided by ROI Community and Taglit-Birthright Israel, as part of a series of gatherings for innovative Jews doing impactful work around the world.
My vision for the event is to bring together 30 amazing, fascinating people, get them away from day-jobs and comfort zones, behind closed doors, off the record, no audience, no live-streaming and no live-tweeting, for frank, inspirational and actionable discussion and brainstorming.
From C-level executives of hot startups to PhDs, Emmy-winners, published authors, film makers, artists, activists and creators of really popular digital content and YouTube channels, this will be a one-of-a-kind event!
In addition to the 30 participants, three groundbreaking ‘guest catalysts’ are joining for special sessions: director, producer, podcaster and digital innovator, Kevin Smith; actress, activist and humanitarian, Eliza Dushku; and Viacom Media Networks’ Executive Vice President, and poet, Ross Martin.
Today I had the honor of speaking with a group of about 60 high school sophomores. The event was organized by BUILD and the Viacom Corporate Responsibility team. BUILD focuses on college-readiness for kids who might otherwise not have college as a viable option.
“BUILD’s mission is to use entrepreneurship to excite and propel disengaged, low-income students through high school to college success.” All the kids are working on their own entrepreneurial endeavors and receive great mentorship from business leaders.
Below is what I told the kids, after starting with a video that covers the world of social media within Viacom. I chose to stick to the basics of social media as opposed to getting into the trends of Social TV, etc. (although it did come up during the Q and A).
…so that’s what I do, working with our social media managers across the company to make sure we maximize the potential from social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and everywhere else. We have over 200 people working across our dozens of brands to grow over 1000 social media accounts. The reason why I wanted to show you the video is to make the point that you all are at the perfect age and getting the best entrepreneurial mentorship to insure that, once you graduate college, you’ll be able to join companies like Viacom or do your own entrepreneurial things. I truly believe that.
This is the best time to be your age and going off to college. When I went to college there were no classes in digital entrepreneurship, Internet strategy, social media or anything like that. But now you can learn these things and get a head start by understanding what came before… both the successes and the failures. When you graduate college you’ll be able to go either route that interests you, whether in a company like Viacom or in your own entrepreneurial pursuit.
On the entrepreneurial side of things, you’ll be graduating into a world opened up to amazing opportunities for entrepreneurs because of all sorts of new models that are being figured out and tested right now. Whether its new ways to raise money, create products, host websites or market companies… there are so many new ways to do those things than existed even 5 years ago. And they’re all at lower cost and lower risk too. Again, you’ll be able to learn from the case studies of those that came before and figure out the best strategy for you and your project.
And if its on the more traditional side of things, getting a job in a place like Viacom, I also strongly believe you’ll be in a great position to succeed. That’s because the things that come so naturally to you, how you act and behave online with your friends and with brands, how you use technology… those lessons are in very high demand by companies like Viacom. We need you! So many things are changing, and changing so fast… but what we call “trends,” “insights” and “research” you just call “living your life.” We have to study, experiment and work hard on the things that come so naturally to all of you.
Who would have thought just a few years ago that people exactly like you would now be acting as the voice of major brands all over the world?! Most of the social media managers that I work with are young and are being given amazing access, authority, responsibilities and more because the folks in charge need our brands to be sincere and authentic and the only way to do that is to get people like you on board, sharing your ideas and passions.
College degrees are still definitely needed but just know that, when you’re ready, you’re coming into a world that needs you, recognizes that it needs you and is waiting for you.
The key in all of this is authenticity, figuring out what makes you tick, what you’re passionate about and then doing whatever you can to make that happen. People your age are literally changing the world, redefining how companies like Viacom create and distribute content and how they make money. If you’re serious, work hard, take in all the great advice you’re getting from your mentors, you can achieve amazing things with your college degrees.
And in the meantime, if there’s anything I can do to help, just connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else. And I mean that! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have… now or after.
I’m excited to announce I’ll be speaking on the “Beyond Social TV - Now With Real Storytelling” panel at StoryWorld, in LA, in mid-October. You can see all the details here.
The overview for the panel is:
While spoiler tweets, 2nd-screen apps and check-in badges have been getting all the buzz, they barely scratch the surface of how television can really be social and break the fourth wall. This panel will look at the heart of what makes a social TV experience thrive from a story perspective, going beyond today’s 3rd person experience where fans talk with each other about TV programs, and looking at the 2nd person experience where fans interact with TV characters, and the 1st person experience of fan fiction and fan co-creation. We’ll discuss the platforms, tools, techniques and best practices every Social TV storyteller needs, with insights from the networks.
Sounds great, right?! Totally up my alley and aligns with what I’ve been talking passionately about for several months. If you’d like to register for the conference, use code SWSPEAKER for a special rate of $525.
Although my role at Viacom spans all our brands, every so often I get to work more hands-on with a specific one for a specific project. These days I’ve been working closely with our Spike team on the All Access brand.
The All Access concept is to take viewers deep inside the worlds of tech, gaming and comics - and do so across platforms and media, embracing the potential of Social TV. Spike is doing this with over 17 hours of live coverage from the upcoming E3 video game event as well as a weekly show that airs Thursdays and midnight (hosted by Katie Linendoll). After E3, Spike is also going to ComiCon for loads more live coverage across all screens.
At these mega events, Spike gets exclusive interviews, product demos, access to product launches, the key CEOs, celebrities and more. Content is streamed across all platforms, including on-air. And viewers are made part of the action through social interaction and live/dynamic poling where the on-air talent can basically have real-time conversations with the audience.
Spike’s 2011 live E3 multi-platform special was the number one destination for E3 coverage last year, garnering more than 10 million combined online and on-air viewers, and was also the largest live streaming event in Viacom history.
“E3 All Access Live” will be supported on Spike TV through “GTTV with Geoff Keighley,” “All Access Weekly” and “Playbook 360;” online on Spike.com and GameTrailers.com; socially through its Facebook and Twitter feed @SpikeTV; on popular gaming blog, Kotaku; and through mobile phones and tablets including iPhone, iPad and Android devices, as well as on the big screens in New York City’s Times Square. Also, for the first time ever, Spike will partner with sister Viacom networks, including MTV2; MTVU; VH1; Tr3s: Música y Más and others to provide additional programming coverage.
Over the last several months, at Viacom, we’ve been conducting detailed, proprietary research on Social TV. Today we released the results and I wrote the blog posting below as an intro. This is re-blogged from my piece on the Viacom blog.
“Social TV is about integrating your favorite TV shows into your life,” said Austin, a 23-year-old from Boston who uses Twitter, Facebook and GetGlue to socialize around television. Though there isn’t one single app or service that users are flocking to right now, the lack thereof hasn’t deterred viewers from finding creative ways to socialize around television and, like Austin, integrate their favorite shows into their lives.
Keeping up with how our fans consume and socialize around our content is one of my main goals here at Viacom. That’s why I am very excited about our new breakthrough research that digs into the emerging trends of Social TV.
While most of the social TV research out there focuses on volume – how many tweeted during a show or how many ‘friends’ a network has – we chose to explore the social TV phenomenon through the lens of the viewer. We set out to get to the heart of how our viewers think of social TV, what kind of apps, services and sites they use when socializing around TV, and what they want their social TV experience to be. To those who socialize about the shows they love, we found social TV is much more than a tweet or a ‘like.’
We coined the study “Viewers C’s the Moment” because of three “C’s” that kept coming up: communication, content and comments. Our viewers are engaging in an average of seven different social TV activities (online or offline) on at least a weekly basis. They are using multiple devices and services to interact with different social circles while watching a show. A few sentiments we heard over and over:
- Social TV is about interacting with the TV… and the best part is that I can do it with my friends
- Twenty years ago it was enough to watch TV, but now it’s fun to see what your friends are watching, and if they’re laughing at the same parts
- The whole experience of watching TV is becoming more fulfilling
As this new and exciting space evolves, we’ll continue to program with social in mind, and continue to evolve our strategies for engagement. With this research in hand, we’ve got some great fodder for thought.
The Methodology: 1) a national online survey of 1,566, ages 13-54 in January 2012 and 2) 24 ethnographies in Boston and San Diego.
Read the full press release detailing the “Viewers C’s the Moment” study by clicking here.