Final Thoughts on Social Media Week Los Angeles

“I always thought it was a shame the way we have to play these games.” The xx, Sunset

By the end of Social Media Week Los Angeles, I had seen some interesting talks from big players in the space. MWW Group hosted a panel of brand advocates from Uber and Subaru and Vitamin A that dug in a bit on the most pressing question I think all brands have as they navigate social networks: how do you maintain an authentic voice  when a PR flap takes place, when customers have legitimate complaints, when you make a misstep in one of your postings?

Anthony Zuiker’s conversation about digital video storytelling followed immediately by a roundtable with the largest of the digital video studios in LA inspired me to take a much deeper look at that world and excited about the possibilities of “New Hollywood.”

But, ultimately, I was left most impressed with the folks still really trying to figure it all out — the local hospitality and travel folks, the food writers and business people, and the more civic-minded people I mentioned last week.

Their audiences featured people furiously scribbling down notes and asking really nuts and bolts tactical questions. It was a reminder that no matter how fast it feels like we’re moving, these technologies and services and ways of communicating are still in their infancy. Things I might take for granted as being well-known or understood, really aren’t.

They still require the conversation. Like the one I had at lunch of really smart industry folks on my last day at the conference as we discussed the future of television or the one we had last night at my parents’ house as my mother revealed her strategy for posting on facebook and how she’s on twitter but doesn’t use it because she doesn’t “get it.”

We’ll have to talk about that more, I thought. And not online.

If anything, the biggest takeaway I got from Social Media Week is that “social” is the most important word in “social media.”

We can discuss strategies and tactics and messaging and blah blah blah but this is what is true: humans interact. They relate to each other, or not. We try to use all the tools available to us to better be heard or to better listen.

And, for all my love of twitter and tumblr, it hasn’t replaced the power of people breaking bread together, talking, growing closer, and, occasionally really figuring some things out.

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