Erika Gessin
Erika Gessin
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Last week, Ning was at Social Media Week in San Francisco, driving great conversations with thought leaders in the social media space. We had the opportunity to curate a series of panel sessions designed to identify and discuss emerging trends and topics that have an impact on the way we use social media today.

Ning at Social Media Week: Trends and the Future of Social Media

From left: Hermione Way, Michael Brito, Jason Rosenthal, and Ben Parr

The discussions proved to be insightful and instructive, and I think everyone in the room, including myself, heard something they could begin using right away to ramp up their social strategies. Here’s a selection of our favorite, most thought-provoking, quotes and takeaways as demonstrated by the influx of tweets and retweets to #NingSMW:

THE FUTURE OF THE SOCIAL WEB (download the podcast)
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Moderated by Ben Parr from Mashable, featuring panelists Hermione Way, Journalist at The Next Web, Michael Brito, Vice President of Social Media at Edelman Digital and Jason Rosenthal, Ning’s own CEO.

  • “2011 will be a breakout year for mobile intersecting with social.” – Jason Rosenthal
  • “Once Facebook figures out search, we’ll be logged into it 24/7.” – Michael Brito
  • “What will happen when everyone can get a Harvard education on their mobile phone?” – Hermione Way
  • “When will we see a war caused by social media?” – Michael Brito
  • And our favorite (albeit, most biased) quote of the day: “Show of hands: Facebook users (all). Would you use Facebook as your exclusive web presence? (almost none) – Jason Rosenthal

THE RECIPE FOR SUCCESS IN SOCIAL (download the podcast)
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Moderated by Athena von Oech, Cofounder + Partner at Red Magnet Media, featuring panelists Babette Pepaj at, Rick Bakas at, Sean Timberlake at and Alexa Andrzejewski at

  • “Growing a successful community doesn’t happen overnight– it takes nurturing, building relationships with key people, and a genuine passion for your topic, whether it’s food, wine or anything else.” – Athena von Oech
  • “Please remember, it’s not your community – it’s their community! Be the mayor of the town and give them freedom to discover.” – Babette Pepaj
  • “Use tweets to create a call-to-action back to your site.” – Sean Timberlake
  • “Contests should be transparent. And change them up!” – Babette Pepaj
  • “We use Facebook and Twitter to express that we’re real people, too.” – Alexa Andrzejewski

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Moderated by Ning’s own Anne Driscoll, VP of Business Operations at Ning, featuring Gareth Hornberger, Digital Marketing Manager at Levi’s, Blake Cahill, Principle at Banyan Branch and Joanne Wan, Senior Digital Strategist at Ogilvy Public Relations.

  • “Social media at its core is all about having a dialogue with your customers – it’s about people investment.” – Blake Cahill
  • “Social media consultants are not the way to go – get them fully hired into your company” – Gareth Hornberger
  • “When hiring a social manager, look at their social footprint and their personality. Are they a fit with your customers and company? – Joanne Wan

Finally, a big thanks and shout out to @Krystal at Social Media Week for helping us organize such a stellar lineup of events and to @amywhiggins for capturing the most memorable quotes on Twitter.

Talk about conversation starters! Let’s keep it going – share your perspective with us by commenting below.