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SMWChicago12: Warhol Meets Social – the Intersection of Crazy Good

I kicked off my Social Media Week Chicago festivities last week with the “Warhol Meets Social” panel, featuring a diverse set of artists David Hartt, VP Creative Director at Critical Mass, Young Sun Hang, Independent Artist and Michael Kozien, Associate Professor of Digital Media & Design College of Lake County.  Moderator,  Catherine Coykendall also from Critical Mass, fired up the conversation by asking about the social implications for today’s overall digital landscape.

Social Media Week Chicago 2012 - Warhol Meets Social Panel

Michael Kozien, Young Sun Han, David Hartt and Catherine Coykendall discuss social’s impact on the digital landscape during SMW Chicago week.

All three saw a fairly permanent shift in how social media and the Internet are progressing beyond the hardware into data-driven, cloud formats.  The trio also agreed that much of social media was becoming a ‘mundane behavior’ for the average user, making truly transformative experiences all the more elusive to create.  The winners aren’t necessarily those who garner 1000s of followers/likes, rather how they are taking that massive audience and parlaying it into real, tangible value.  The ultimate winners, one of them went on to say, will be the ones who clearly understand the CONTEXT in which they are creating and distributing within the social realm.

Ah, yes, we often hear so much about the other C – CONTENT but how many of us understand the other 2Cs – CONTEXT and CURATION?  These two elements, in my humble opinion, are so often overlooked yet are the essential keys to unlocking the real power of our never-ending social web.  You want social commerce that’s so crazy good that people can’t help themselves but share and buy?  Get those pieces right.

These couple of tweets really summed it up well:

Social Media Week Chicago - Warhol Panel Celia Jones TweetSocial Media Week Chicago - Warhol Panel Graham Wolfe Tweet

Something else struck me as the panel wrapped up their session.  Each of the artists sitting on the panel represented a unique creative intersection with the social world.  The first one shared how he had grown up with traditional art and looked at social as a means of distribution and broadening the reach of his existing traditional works.  The second, part of the Millennial generation, had discovered social media could be the instrument of creating his original art works.  The third, looked at behaviors taking place in social media circles (in his case presidential election comments) and saw an opportunity to blend them with traditional art media (neon signs) into something completely new.

To me, these distinctive creative approaches represent what’s taking place as companies evolve their social media initiatives.  The majority of consumer brands have embraced the social marketing megaphone to extend their campaigns and promotions. While a smaller subset of provocateurs like Etsy, Threadless, Airbnb and Kickstarter are experimenting to create new business models based on social media culture and technology.  But most interestingly, there are those in the third group who are beginning to mash up pieces of the social world to re-form loyalty programs and kick out new offerings.  This is the group that intrigues me the most and I think they will lead us to the next intersection of business, creativity and technology that is ‘can’t help it crazy good’.

About Michelle Batten

Michelle Batten is a seasoned digital marketing & advertising leader. She has spent two decades in the interactive arena, working with Fortune 1000 brands + start-ups to define and execute their digital initiatives. An emerging media visionary, Michelle is currently serving as Head of Global Marketing for Mobile & Innovation Intrapreneur for Amadeus, a global travel technology company. She is also the President for the Chicago American Marketing Association. Her passions include culture + tech evolution, mentoring, experiential travel and foodspotting.

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