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Social Media Week offers compelling reasons to attend

Social Media Week (SMW) is a leading news and publishing platform and worldwide event that takes place in close to 20 cities each year. It will debut in Johannesburg, together with 19 other cities, including Sydney, Berlin and Rotterdam 22-26 September 2014.
Social Media Week offers compelling reasons to attend

Its mission is to capture, curate and share the most meaningful ideas, trends and best practices with regard to social media's impact on business, society and culture. Here are reasons why you should attend this fast spreading, pioneering conference. All main events will take place across Braamfontein and Milpark including the Wits Theatre, Wits Amphitheatre and Jozi Hub (44 Stanley Ave). There will also be a number of independent events taking place throughout the city from Melville to Bryanston.

What Social Media Week has to offer

1. One of the headline speakers is COO of GroupM Interaction in North America, John Montgomery, who heads the group's digital data strategy, innovation and policy. He will be delivering a keynote on the opening day of the conference on 'The Internet of Everything', which will extend on issues around data and privacy.

2. Managing Director of Technology Strategy at Accenture, Lee Naik will present a keynote on emerging digital technologies in transforming service delivery for governments and business. This will explore ideas on how Johannesburg, using technology can become a centre of innovation leading to better service and opportunities for its citizens.

3. Herman Singh, Managing Executive of M-Commerce will be in conversation about mobile banking focusing on the future of payments and transactions in Africa. This will touch on M-Pesa and how cultural nuances are critical in the success of mobile banking.

4. From a healthcare perspective, Dr Sindy van Zyl, who is very active and vocal on healthcare issues on twitter, especially when it comes to sharing information on HIV/AIDS, will talk on navigating the communication landscape of social media and healthcare.

5. The emergence of blogs specialising in sharing information on black hair care is the impetus behind the panel looking at how the internet is spawning black hair care material in South Africa. South African women are using digital tools from Pinterest to YouTube to raise their savvy on the best styling and maintenance solutions and products on the market, practically re-writing their own beauty standards. This session includes sassy bloggers like Janine Jellars ( and Kavuli Nyali-Binase (

6. If you want a breakdown of what the social media trends are globally and in the continent, trend watchers such as Lola Pedro will cover this. Lagos based, Pedro oversees sub-Saharan Africa's content for and her work focusses on innovation, technology, sustainability, entrepreneurship, art and culture.

7. "There are those who look at things and ask why. I'd say dream of things that never were and ask why not," reads the twitter profile of young trailblazing millionaire from the UK, Jamal Edwards. His talk, a Q&A hosted by the British Council and ConnectZA on the power of social media and the drive to entrepreneurial success kick-starts the youth sessions. Staying with driven youth, local dynamo and pioneer of the futuristic Gqom sound, Okmalumkoolkat lends his voice to a different conversation looking at music and social media, branding and digital promotion.

8. Mark Kaigwa from Kenya, well known for his blog, mark: my words on African technology, innovation and social media, will share with his audience the charms and quirks of the popular Kenyans on Twitter, #KOT.

9. With popular feminist hashtags like #Girl Boss and #Ban Bossy, wordsmith, blogger and digital strategist, Luvvie Ajayi, takes this on with a master class titled: From Blogger to Boss. Luvvie has been blogging for 11 years and is known for her award winning entertainment and humour blog, She will impart her insights on how to move from being a beginner blogger to making your blog a business.

10. Social Media Week Johannesburg will be screening a groundbreaking documentary called Web, which tracks what it means to have connected communities and the impact thereof in society. Directed by Michael Kleiman, it takes a special look at his expedition into rural communities of the Andes Mountains and Amazon jungle in Peru where he gave the villagers their first taste of technology with the One Laptop Per Child program. Including interviews with co-founder of the internet, Vint Cerf and founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, the narrative explores immense possibilities that arise when the dis-connected get online and what that means for the future. The screening is free and it takes place at the Bioscope at Maboneng precinct. Register here to attend.

Official app

Social Media Week has the official mobile app, sponsored by Microsoft that helps attendees enhance their experience by connecting with other SMW fans; accessing exclusive feeds and content as well as exploring the event schedule and speakers. Features include connect and network for group or individual conversations with SMW enthusiasts.

Live video and content allows you to view live video feeds of keynotes, panels, and workshops from SMW cities across the globe. You can also follow content and real-time conversations across social media channels and trending topics. You can track the events and speakers that matter to you with the favourite events and speakers feature.

Though entry is free, attendees must register to be able to participate as there is strictly no entry without registration. Register for Social Media Week here

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