Milan Fashion Week: Models Off Duty

by Zoë Noble

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Social Media Week Berlin Highlights

by James Glazebrook

We may have been in Milan for much of Social Media Week, but I still made it down to a couple of thought-provoking sessions before we left. As with Hello Etsy the weekend before, the best thing about SMW was the chance to put faces to the URLs of our online buddies, including Travels of Adam, Nicole is the New Black, Yvonne from Just Travelous and Katja glamcanyon. When I wasn’t talking crap over a Club Mate, here’s what I learned:

Gamification is set to be The Next Big Thing

The keynote speech from Gabe Zichermann of gamification.co focused on the “process of using game concepts and mechanics to engage users”, particularly location-based gaming concepts. As a foursquare refugee, it was refreshing to hear an expert describe pure location-based gaming as “a total shitshell”. Also, as a social media consultant with automotive clients, it was interesting to hear about the games built into the dashboards of hybrid and battery electric cars like the Nissan Leaf, that give feedback to the driver about the vehicle’s performance.

Unfortunately, the below video is missing the fascinating round table discussion that took place immediately after, with Berlin-based social games developer wooga and the inspiring Willempje Vrins from figure running, the crazy Dutch folks who started drawing pictures on maps using existing running applications, then ended up building their own app. As with everything that co-opts a (historically) niche subculture and turns it to commercial gain, gamification has been criticised by videogames experts. Personally I disagree with Ian Bogost’s core argument that gamification is “marketing bullshit” because it is “used to conceal, to impress or to coerce”, as that is what marketing is supposed to do. That’s like 1976 punks bemoaning the fact that hair product commercials feature kids with fauxhawks. Accept it, move on.

Aaaanyway, watch Gabe’s speech for yourself and see what you think:

Keynote on Gamification – Gabe Zichermann – Social Media Week Berlin – Sept. 19, 2011 from SMWBerlin on Vimeo.

Everyone wants to be a Community Manager

It was fascinating to hear from the community management experts at Nokia Germany and Soundcloud, among others. Their discussion reinforced some basic principles (number of fans is less useful than activity and engagement) and revealed philosophical differences between those companies for whom their community is central to their mission and those that either treat social as a marketing channel and/or outsource it.

It was also interesting to hear about the number of people who want to get into community management (especially here in Berlin), to have some common illusions dispelled (no, it’s not just getting paid to tweet) and to learn about some unusual – but in retrospect, obvious – approaches to securing these jobs, like: join a community, and build your profile within it.

Job Title: Community Manager – Social Media Week Berlin 2011 (EN) from SMWBerlin on Vimeo.

Trendsmap is cool

This tool, that CNN uses to source stories, plots real-time Twitter trends on a map, according to the location from which they were posted. Check out what our fellow Berliners are talking about.
Trendsmap Berlin
iReport is also cool

iReport is CNN’s own tool, which bridges the gap between the immediacy of social media reports, and the accuracy of mainstream news media. Essentially, anyone can submit a story which will appear on the iReport website, and then CNN will do their journalistic thing and follow them up, mark legit stories as vetted, and use them in their online and broadcast news reports. You can see reports from Social Media Week here.

Facebook isn’t as useful for brands as they have been led to believe

I was gutted to miss a talk from Market Sentinel, a UK company that I work with. However, this blog post breaks down the results of a summer’s worth of research: Facebook ads don’t work for brands; Facebook fan pages don’t work for brands; Facebook apps should work for brands, but often don’t. Illuminating reading.

Social is great, but real life is better

Berlin is full of inspiring people doing amazing things in social, but we never get to see them! We have plans for a meetup of our own, but in the meantime the 4-Hour-Workweek Berlin group will act as our real-world support system. See you down there!

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Music Montag: Dillon

by James Glazebrook

BPitch Control’s Dillon is an artist about whom we know refreshingly little. While the singer-songwriter isn’t scared of fame, having – apparently – gained her first shows and the attention of Ellen Allien’s label with her own YouTube channel, she seems determined to communicate through her music rather than hype. As she recently tweeted: “I COULD START TELLING YOU STORIES NOW, BUT I WOULD RATHER SAVE THEM FOR WHEN WE MEET IN PERSON.”

What we do know: Dillon is based in Berlin, but with the real name Dominique Dillon de Byington, probably wasn’t born here. She plans to release her debut album, This Silence Kills, on the palendromic date of 11/11/11. DJ Koze likes her: “She sings comfortably imperfect and true. She has character.” We like her.

We think Dillon sounds like this: the whimsical naïveté and alt-folk weirdness of CocoRosie, plus the more straightforward pop sensibility of Lykke Li, with the post-club residual rushes of Glasser and Bodi Bill (see a video of Dillon covering Bodi’s “Willem” live). Album closer “Abrupt Clarity”, unfortunately not yet public, is essentially an update of Björk’s “Hyperballad”.

We know Dillon sounds like this: download “Thirteen ThirtyFive”, or listen to it below.

Dillon looks like this:


To find out (a little) more about Dillon, visit dillon-music.com. Or wait to hear This Silence Kills, out on BPitch Control on November 11th, for yourself.

This article originally appeared on Bang Bang Berlin.

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Milan Fashion Week: Anna Dello Russo

by Zoë Noble

So to answer the question, who was wearing the most blingtastic outfit of Milan Fashion Week? It could be none other than Anna Dello Russo of course!

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Milan Fashion Week: Guess Who?

by Zoë Noble

Milan’s swarming with famous fashionistas…guess which Editor I snapped outside the D&G show today??

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Hello Etsy! Highlights

by James Glazebrook

Hello Etsy Name Tags
The opening introduction to Etsy’s first summit on small business and sustainability included the smart observation, “a conference is only as good as the people make it”. And sure enough, Hello Etsy felt like giant meetup, giving us a chance to get some hactual face-time with our online friends Raquel of Capital Sisters, Cheryl Howard, Georg AKA Digital Cosmonaut, Simon of Berlin Unlike, Melissa Rachel Black, Katja from glamcanyon, as well as Nina from the travelettes crew.

As outsiders to the Etsy/craft community – with the exception of Melissa, who makes gangster rap greeting cards – we found some of the sessions either irrelevant or a little basic. (Although as a journalist, blogger and former social media PR, I can vouch that Rachel Bremer of Twitter’s tips “secrets to good PR” were solid.)

However, some of the talks were truly inspirational. Here are our highlights from two days of eye-opening events:

1) Urban Farming and Local Empowerment

The most Berlin-centric talk we saw, and the greatest surprise.

Prinzessinnengarten is an urban (mobile!) farm cultivated on wasteland in the middle of the city by the couple behind Nomadic Green, and countless volunteers.

Today, the not-for-profit project includes a garden restaurant and cafe and has inspired similar projects in Cologne and other cities. Its open garden days bring together different communities (old turkish women, hipsters, even “normal people”!) and when young people help out, they are paid a wage (“we don’t do social work”).

Far from the special interest greenie talk I was expecting, this passed on valuable lessons that can be applied further afield, such as the project’s approach to informal learning: you don’t know, we don’t know, let’s find out together.

2) On Tour with the Grateful Thread

I love Threadless. The social-before-social-existed company has been crowdsourcing t-shirt designs from its online community for ten years now. Its held a special place in my heart, providing some of my favourite tees and my stock answer to the interview questions, “who does social well?”

Basically, Charles Festa had my dream job and now sports my dream beard. And he’s hilarious. Queue awkward jokes, Lionel Richie impressions and anecdotes about throwing shit off roofs.

The embodiment of rule #1 of social media: be yourself.

3) Douglas Rushkoff: Program or be programmed

Not really about programming, but a dissection of the biases inherent in systems like the internet and free market capitalism. Rushkoff will change the way you think about technology, media, even money.

Almost as an aside, he explains how communities like Etsy can help free the world from its dependence on jobs, big business and top-down economies.

Forget what you think you know.

4) Welcome to the Future

A round table between the social media bods at Etsy, TOMS, Holstee, and Bitly, and my man Festa. A great introduction to social strategy, tools and analytics, and a good reminder of fundamentals principles. In fact, Matt from Bitly was a one-man fountain of wisdom:
“social media IS writing”
“you don’t know until you know”
“the best tool for social analytics is not Bitly, it’s basic human intelligence”

5) The venue

We went clubbing in ewerk two years ago to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Mauerfall. So we’d already seen the former power station’s main hall – but not the stunning views from the roof or the control room, which retains the original equipment. All the sharp edges were softened with handmade banners, cushions and other knickknacks, to make for a truly unique setting.

You can see more more talks on Etsy’s livestream channel, and find out more about Hello Etsy here.

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London Fashion Week Details: Monochrome

by Zoë Noble

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London Fashion Week Details: Hardware

by Zoë Noble

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London Fashion Week Details: Brights

by Zoë Noble

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London Fashion Week Day 1

by Zoë Noble

Somerset House is always such a great backdrop for taking pictures. I saw these two walking away and it looked like a scene from a movie!

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