The Internet Makes You Social

Social Media Week Wants to Save the World

Notoriously fluffy event seems more socially-conscious this year.
motherteresa Social Media Week Wants to Save the World

Mother Teresa. (Wikimedia-Commons User Túrelio)

Here at Betabeat, we live every week like it’s social media week. But this week is also Social Media Week, the fourth such annual event and the “Super Bowl of Social Media,” which takes place simultaneously in cities around the world. And on Twitter, #smwnyc.

The surprising thing about the agenda: Social Media Week has taken a turn for the socially-conscious. In New York, at least, the lineup is heavily filled with do-gooder topics. This year’s theme is “Empowering Change through Collaboration,” featuring collaborative consumption panels and collaborative consumption consumption, and there seem to be a ton of events focused on health, a few based around education, and many more with an eye toward making the world a better place for people rather than brands. Just today, there’s a keynote on redesigning the hospital room and an event called “Educate Girls, Change the World.”

The week features plenty of soulless corporate fare, staples like “We’re All Social Now: Why B2B Marketers Can Get With the Conversation.” But there’s also HackEDU, a fireside chat on the “rise of the patient platform,” and a keynote from Douglass Rushkoff on civic movements. But even though there are 45 advertising and marketing events, there are 31 health and wellness events, and six events focused on education. Even some of the marketing panels are nonprofit-centric.

“Nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers live in poverty, struggling to afford basic necessities such as rent and medical care while trying to put food on their tables,” foodie social network Mopac reminds us, quoting City Harvest, which will have a rep on hand with donation cards during the startup’s panel, “SMW Foodie Social.” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed tweeters can change the world.

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com