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SXSW 2012: Your chance to choose the content you want

September 2, 2011 Comments

Each year SXSW does a great job of engaging the interactive community by giving them a chance to vote on what sessions they want to see the following year. They receive thousands of submissions so this process is as necessary as it is inclusive. I would love to speak next year but I need your help to get there as community votes constitute 30% of the selection process. The topic I submitted is called: ‘Will the social web build the world we want?’ and here’s a short description of what it will be about.

Social media is transforming politics, the Middle East, corporate behavior and social activism. But how far can it go? Can citizens and customers, armed with social media and connected by shared values, create the movement for change that our world needs? Or will political manipulation, corporate self-interest and consumer fatigue overwhelm them? Drawing on the latest in social technology, business strategies and global economic insights, I’ll examine how the latest in social, mobile and gaming technologies will impact the way we elect leaders, generate profits and support causes in the future. I’ll look at the accelerating merger of the real and virtual worlds, the rising importance of virtual currencies, and the competing interests of nation states, companies and a connected global community. The speech will address the issue at the heart of the social media revolution – will it be an historic force for good, or merely a further complication of our already fractured lives and world?

Here are five specific questions the speech will answer:

1. How social media fundamentally shifts the practice of capitalism in ways that are good for society and the bottom line.

2. How social media empowers brands, customers and citizens to create a third pillar of social change in addition to government and philanthropy.

3. How game theory, virtual goods and social gaming can become a sustainable force for social change.

4. How corporations and their customer communities collaborate to massively scale social change.

5. What must happen if social media is to build on its momentum and become an historic movement for change?

I’d love your support so click here and hit the ‘thumbs up’ icon to vote for my speech.  I’ll also be sharing links to other speeches and panels I’m excited about once we know who gets in. Thanks for helping to make this possible.

Are there any other issues you’d like me to explore around this topic? Do you disagree with any of the questions listed above?



Robert Tercek: This Week In Social Media

August 31, 2011 Comments

Robert Tercek kindly invited me on his new show ‘This Week in Social Media‘ last week. As one of the world’s most prolific creators of interactive content and former President of of Digital Media at OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Robert is a world authority on the future of digital media and someone I highly recommend watching and following. The new show is designed to provide weekly insights and updates on the latest in emerging social technologies and that is critical to every business today. We discussed branding social change,social tactics/strategies, Facebook and privacy, and a bunch of other contentious issues. I hope you enjoy the interview and thanks to Robert for including me. You can follow Robert on twitter @superplex and the show here.


Belief in brand America: The true cost of the debt ceiling debacle

August 28, 2011 Comments

Image credit: Eyeteeth

It is not surprising that the partisanship that paralyzed the U.S. Congressional process around the raising the debt ceiling debate has now shifted to a blame game surrounding Standard & Poor’s downgrading of the U.S. dollar credit rating from AAA from AA+. As the European Union calls emergency meetings and Asian stock markets examine whether Sovereign borrowers in the Asia-Pacific region would be affected, few have mentioned an intangible cost that is likely to have even greater long term effects – the erosion of a belief in the American political process.

America is a brand that is exported daily through its protection of fundamental human rights around the world, through its currency dominance and through its Hollywood movies and pop culture appeal, among others. But when its own system proves to be paralyzed by self-serving politics that would risk the well-being of the country as a whole, and by extension financial markets worldwide, the legitimacy of the brand is thrown into question both at home and overseas.

The effects of such politicking extend far beyond Wall Street, foreign stock markets or Congressional job approval ratings of 13%. Consumer confidence, a critical driver in economic renewal, cannot help but stall in the face of such political inertia. In fact in August it reached its lowest level in three decades. As Reuters reports:

High unemployment, stagnant wages, gridlock in Congress, and a stockmarket slump all contributed to a consumer mood that was as grim as when Jimmy Carter was President during the recession of 1980 and interest rates were more than 20 percent.

At home, employers will be likely to reconsider whether to hire new staff further frustrating full-time job gains, while overseas belief in the values and political process that underscore the United States brand will suffer in direct proportion to our domestic dysfunction.

The success of all brands turns, in part, on belief in the story that they tell. Beyond stimulus packages, tax relief or even debt ceiling extensions, parties on both sides of the political divide must now inspire companies, employers, entrepreneurs and employees to believe that it is possible to achieve the changes and growth we need to restore this country if we are to achieve sustained economic growth.

Politicians on both sides of the aisle ignore this fact at their peril. A demoralized political base is far harder to reanimate and a depressed economy more difficult to stimulate when belief in the very system they uphold has dimished. By eroding our belief in the political process politicians hijack our belief in ourselves, costing this country far more than dollars or profits.

In the short term the responsibility for brand stewardship of the political process falls to the debt super committee whose constitution does not bode well for a swift or substantive result as both parties rise to the challenge of compromise. But as we enter deeper into the Presidential election cycle both parties would be wise to restore a fundamental belief in politics that underpins support for any and all politicians.

Do you believe the political process is damaging belief in America around the world or simply in politicians?




charity: water’s 5-year anniversary: Drilling for hearts of gold

August 25, 2011 0 Comments

This September marks the fifth anniversary for charity: water, and I’ve had the priviledge of knowing some of the people involved in the organization for much of that time. I first met its founder, Scott Harrison when he was out …

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Images and Voices of Hope Summit: Is media disconnecting us from ourselves?

August 24, 2011 1 Comments

I’m really excited to be speaking at the Images and Voices of Hope world summit in September in New York. I wanted to share the event with you because it addresses what I think is a very important question. The theme …

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Chuck Carey of Troika: How listening and design shape brand storytelling

August 22, 2011 0 Comments

Each week the We First blog reaches out to an industry professional to provide insights into different aspects of branding or storytelling, and to highlight different strategies for social change. This week our guest is Chuck Carey of Troika which …

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GOOD Magazine and Jumo: A powerful partnership for change

August 19, 2011 0 Comments

A new partnership emerged this week that is exciting on several levels. On Tuesday, Mashable announced that GOOD magazine had acquired the social networking platform for non-profits called Jumo that was started by Chris Hughes who helped to create Facebook and …

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Top ten social media survival tips

August 17, 2011 7 Comments

In this economic climate it’s not surprising that many people are feeling pressured on several fronts. Social media needn’t be one of them. In fact, shifting gears or taking a breather is often healthy and allows you to recalibrate your …

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About Simon Mainwaring

We First training and consulting helps the world’s most innovative brands tell the story of the good work they do in ways that build their reputation, employee productivity, sales and social impact.

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