Tuesday, November 17, 2015

#NaBloPoMo Day 17: Social Media Week, Mumbai - An evening to remember

NaBloPoMo November 2015

Social Media week always holds fond memories in my heart. After having discovered this event in September last year, I seem to have come a full circle with my 3rd SMW last evening. I was a novice last year, a learner who parked herself at the Learning stage - a venue dedicated to beginners and was in total awe of this mammoth event which had social media titans milling about. By the time the second SMW came around in February this year, I had a lot better understanding of social media and was in the official social media team for the event. And it will remain some of the most memorable times of my life. I made great friends with the team, understood the hard work that goes in the making of such an event and had a great time working for the team.

I was really looking forward to the interesting sessions and catching up with my social media friends. Though a couple of things did stump me right at the start. And this is in comparison with the last two times when the scale and volume of the event was at its grandest. The choice of venue was a little odd. With Monday evening traffic, Lower Parel did not seem like the most conducive venue for people to travel to. Also, this might sound like a tiny glitch, but when people arrive from work, they do look forward to a snack before the event. And to me, cookies and coffee don't make the cut. Another think that struck me was the limited number of events in one venue as opposed to the usual spread across locations, event bumping into each other grind of this event. But I like the scaled down version better. One can focus on the talks without having to worry about missing the others or moving through locations.

With Ummehaani, all set for Day 1 of Social Media Week, Mumbai
Well, to give the event its due credit, it did live up the high standards of quality it has always had. Ummehaani and I settled down right in the front row. The venue was done up very well. The huge screens on either side of the stage ensured all of us felt as if we were sitting right in front of the stage. The sound system was brilliant and worked seamlessly all the time. Once we got started, it was one event after the other at a brisk pace with a certainty that only meticulously planned events can have. The live streaming option covered quite a few people who could not make it. And I think audience like that justifies all the effort put into such events a little more.

We started behind schedule but with this powerful brand campaign of Tata Motors who just signed up soccer superstar Lionel Messi as their brand ambassador. While this was really a sponsor thing and not much to do with social media, it was a brilliant case study on how a real campaign went live. Delna Avari, the marketing manager of Tata is this passionate woman, well versed with how marketing is linked with ROI. They tracked the whole campaign from genesis to the future path during the discussion.

Up next, the social media insights from Bobby Umar were absolutely useful and brilliant. Every word he said made sense. And he walked the talk later during dinner when he went around meeting people at different tables striking conversations with the participants.

Bobby Umar: A slightly blurry pic of the man himself
And then came the much awaited women-only discussion with women who have used social media effectively to create a presence for themselves. I feel there was a lot of potential to this discussion which wasn't explored to the maximum. The audience seemed a little non interactive and the questions to the panels weren't burning enough.

The panel with Social Media Hackers discussing what it is like to be a woman online
The final event with The Suhel Seth was passionate and hilarious as usual. But he seemed to have ruffled a few feathers by taking a dig at the sponsors and suggesting to a social media novice to start with Tinder - a lady at that!

To sum up, the talks were inspirational and full of learning. I can safely say that any time spent at this conference has to be well spent. I caught up with people I knew from offline and online. If you haven't been a part of this magnificent event, I suggest that you look up their website or hit them on their Twitter handle for your passes for the rest of the days. The event ends on 20th November and has loads of promising events till then.

Discliamer: This is not a paid post by the event sponsors and are my own views of the event as a participant.

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