Will Social Media Week Move Further East in 2011?

Social Media Week 2010

If you are going to be in or near Berlin, London, San Francisco, São Paolo, New York or Toronto in the first week of February and you have an interest in social media, you need to check out the program in the respective city for this year’s Social Media Week. This will be the second such event.

Looking at the lineup of cities participating in this second Social Media Week, I’m

  • impressed by the fact that in one year it has gone from being in one city, New York, to being in six this coming February, and – no doubt a tad selfishly –
  • wondering if the event in 2011, assuming there is one, will add more cities in the Eastern Hemisphere.

From the website:

Social Media Week conferences take place simultaneously in multiple cities around the world. The aim of each event is to advance the use and understanding of social media in the corporate, public and non-profit sectors.

The first such event was held in 2009 in New York City and according to the Facebook site attracted some 2,000 people to 35 events, with another estimated 5,000 participating virtually, via the web and specifically via Twitter and Facebook.

It’s good to see the Eastern Hemisphere represented by Berlin. And it would be good to see in 2011 some representation further east of the current centers. Looking at the country usage for “global headline sponsor” Meebo, there may not be a huge incentive from their viewpoint to add centers further east, but India is better represented in those stats than the UK, and the Philippines not so far behind.

For some other current sponsors there is an understandable New York/ US weighting of interest, but one would have thought that IDEO would have an interest in, say a China node for the event in 2011 or subsequently.


It’s not as if there is a lack of interest in the topic in this part of the world. In precisely the same week appropriated as Social Media Week for the six city event in the US, Canada, Brazil and western Europe, there will be a simultaneous two day event, dedicated to social media marketing, in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Maybe trying to encourage the event which started in New York to “think East” is too much of a challenge. Would it be smarter to think about an event which starts here in the Eastern Hemisphere? If so, where would be a good place to start? Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney, Delhi, Bangalore …? Suggestions, anyone?

Image credit: Hemisferio Oeste, by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez – via Wikimedia Commons

Des Walsh

Business coach and digital entrepreneur. With coach training from Coachville.com and its Graduate School of Coaching, and a founding member of the International Association of Coaching, Des has been coaching business owners and entrepreneurs for the past 20 years. Over the same period he has also been actively engaged in promoting the business opportunities of the digital economy. He is a certified Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) coach, and a certified specialist in social media strategy and affiliate marketing.

Similar Posts


  1. China – 360 million online. Now there’s an audience.

    I’d opt for Beijing as Shanghai is preparing for the 2010 Expo and you won’t get a room!

    Also, Dubai must be looked at. Tremendous opportunities in the Gulf.
    .-= Ivan Walsh´s last blog ..Comment on How to Add your site to Bing’s Directory Listing by Ivan Walsh =-.

  2. Great post Des, I couldn’t agree more. When we founded Social Media Week we had a goal of tackling the issue of cost related to running traditional conferences, hence the distributed model.

    In 2010, we are experimenting with the model further by having conferences take place simultaneously in six cities. The goal this time is to foster cross-collaboration between different countries.

    The choices with regard to which cities participated was somewhat arbitrary and certainly not a reflection on where the innovation, talent or audiences are.

    Would moving east make sense? Absolutely! In fact, we have been inundated with people wanting to host next year in places such as Hong Kong, Sydney, Moskow etc, which is why we’re seriously considering hosting SMW in September in six different cities.

    Thanks again for your post and please keep the feedback coming!
    .-= Toby´s last blog ..Greetings from Social Media Week Global HQ and Happy New Year! =-.

  3. You are waiting until 2011 to come East? Thing move so quickly out here that this sounds like a century away!

    Where to do it depends on what kind of Internet space you want to look at. Asia is very much divided on a country basis that you should probably go for the market that is most interesting, which is probably China.

  4. @Ivan It’s a good point about Dubai, although I frankly don’t have a clue about how compelling that would be as a destination for people in social media and people in business, government, not-for-profits wanting to know more. Beijing surely has a stronger claim at this point, for a whole lot of reasons, symbolised by the number you cite of people online.

    @Toby Thanks for weighing in. It’s great to know that you are thinking along these lines. I would hope that some people from one or other city wanting to do this would be able to get to the New York event or one of the other participating cities in February, to get the “on-the-ground” experience.

    @Thomas I love the comment about time – 2011= next century! LOL. It’s good too that you make the very valuable point that Asia (and, by extension, social media in the region) needs to be looked at on a country by country basis. So is it Beijing? Or is that too fraught a question you mightn’t want to be drawn on? 🙂 And picking up on Toby’s comment, could something worthwhile be put together by September this year?

  5. I would opt for a southern exposure like Shenzhen. You’d pull the Hongkese and you’d intro the mainland to western social media and those outside the borders to the uniqueness of the Chinese SM scene.
    Shenzhen is hungry for fresh ideas and lots of support for it….Too often neglected in favor of the usual suspects in BJ and SH…
    Guangzhou drew an SRO crowd of 700+ for TEDx in a venue far off the beaten path. We are not conference weary here yet…
    I hope this means you’ll be coming around Des….You have a big fanbase here…


  6. @Ivan We would love to consider China among our next set of cities and Bejing is very much on our hit list. We need strong advisors on the ground however. The reason we were able to lock in Berlin and Sao Paulo was due to have two very well connected people who were looking to create cross-collaborations between the participating cities.

    @Des yes, we hope so too. NYC is such an incredible place to host an event of this nature for many reasons. I hope that what we collective manage to achieve in NYC will inspire others to do the same.

    @Lon Are you based US side or in Asia? Would love to connect on this as it sounds as though you’re very much in the know, and we need such expertise.
    .-= Toby´s last blog ..Greetings from Social Media Week Global HQ and Happy New Year! =-.

  7. @Toby – you want someone well connected, Lon’s your man, and he is there on the ground, in Guangzhou. His recommendation to go for Shenzen is well worth considering, for the reasons he mentions and maybe others.Disclaimer: Lon and I are business associates – but I’d say the same even if we weren’t.

  8. Hi Folks,

    Some good suggestions here. FWIW we might get more to attend if we focus on a larger city (eg HK rather than Shenzhen) as it makes travel easier (less hops/visa issues) and also there may be a perception that the event is more important if it’s in say HK than Shenzhen.

    …and you know what they say about perception?
    .-= Ivan Walsh´s last blog ..Comment on How to start a career in Technical Writing by Ivan Walsh =-.

  9. Shenzhen is home to the world’s third largest messaging service QQ (Tencent), a new billion Yuan seaside resort and conference center and it boasts ownership of Mission Hills the world’s largest golf complex with 12 championship courses…..Shenzhen may not sound very cool to a western ear, but it was Deng’s first real economic triumph in China. The Pearl River Delta does 1/3 of China’s entire GDP and considered important enough that a new bridge will link it to Macau and Hong Kong. It is a walk across the border from Hong Kong, an hour’s ferry ride to Macau, sixty minutes from Guangzhou and there are another 60 million people within 2 hours by ….
    I was at an apartment complex opening there two weeks ago and met 5 of China’s newest billionaires….
    Hey, Obama’s brother lives and works there so it cannot be all bad 😉
    I live in Guangzhou–ten million strong–and we have a lot to offer here, but Shenzhen pulls top talent from around the world for the arts, entertainment, and IT–as does neighboring Dongguan….
    To market in the south is “Blue Ocean” savvy…
    Have fun and I wish you much success….

  10. Just as I was typing my comment a friend sent me a link to a mag’ article about our last event, TEDx Guangzhou. Seems there were 700 at the event and another 50K online via live stream on Tudou…
    I love Beijing and have many friends in Shanghai. But, every event I attend at either place–Web 2.0 or SM oriented–seems to draw the same crowd. I have sponsored events here for the last two years and love the huge influx of new folks eager to join the conversation….I have felt that as a mandate here to try and engage folks not in the choir…
    I am not really stumping for you to come here….Maybe I am just sounding myself on the idea of such an event….And it sounds tremendous to me.

    Lonnie Hodge

  11. @Ivan @Lon – I’m listening 🙂

    @Lon – that is a great article on TEDx GZ: would love to come – looks like Toby needs a few people on the ground to help make it happen, somewhere in China

  12. @Lon, @Des, Ivan

    The unique aspect to Social Media Week as a conference is that we do not try and force our ideas and approach on others, instead we partner with local organizers and give them the tools and support to plan and execute a week long series of events that makes sense for their market.

    I am sincerely interested in discussing this more. Let me know if you would like to discuss this further.
    .-= Toby´s last blog ..Greetings from Social Media Week Global HQ and Happy New Year! =-.

  13. Much needed and I really value what you are doing…..

    Happy to visit and assist in any way at anytime…

  14. Toby:


    Error establishing a database connection

    on your site
    .-= Ivan Walsh´s last blog ..Comment on 5 Reasons You Should Leave Facebook and Join LinkedIn by Ivan Walsh =-.

  15. Pingback: Chinese Social Media Event 2010 – Are You Interested? | Corporate Blogger
  16. Des,

    FYI – Debbie said June works for her.

    Someone else emailed me this morning. Talk to you later. off on school run

  17. @kristie, I think that such a goal is admirable, but Social Media Week’s model is not the same as Social Media Club and it’s important that we do not confuse the two. Not to take anything away from SMC, it’s a phenomenal project and has scaled in an extraordinary way.

    From our experience of moving from 1 to 6 cities, it’s patently clear that we have not been able to provide as much leadership and support as we would have hoped. Our aim is to focus on quality. not necessarily quantity, which presents a completely different set of challenges. I’m sure that Chris would agree with that.

    Would love to discuss this further with you.
    .-= Toby´s last blog ..How To: Scan & Share #SMW Buzz with the Collecta Widget =-.

Comments are closed.