The digital gateway to Europe: Berlin and the Social Media Week
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Social Media Week kicked off for the fifth time in Berlin yesterday and we spoke to Programme Director Jewell Sparks to learn a little bit more about what is going on this week.

The event will run until the Friday the 26th of September with many lectures free of charge. Events will take place in startup campus The Factory and in the conference and co-working spaces Supermarkt and Platoon Kunsthalle. Follow the event on Twitter via #SMWBerlin for real time updates on the conference. 

WebMagazin: What is the basic idea behind Social Media Week?

Jewell Sparks: Social Media Week aims to inform members of the community, business professionals, and journalists about the latest trends and resources used to connect people all over the world.

What makes social media important in a city like Berlin?

Social Media, is changing how people connect. Berlin is the „Digital Gateway to Europe,“ and the world is trying to connect. Together, Berlin and social media can change the world. There is very strong startup culture here in Berlin. My personal goal is to „Bridge the Gap“ between Silicon Valley and Berlin, the best way to do this is via social media.

What reasons are there to participate in the event?

Content is King and/or Queen as they say. If people in the community want to learn about social media and connectivity they should attend talks in the following areas; Work and Enterprise, Technology and Innovation, Creative Collision, Society, Lifestyle, Ethical Economy. Social media is blurring the lines! During Social Media Week Berlin, those in attendance will hear from experts from all over the world and learn about cutting edge technologies.

If you want to learn something, attending Social Media Week is the place to be next week. We will have people, content and parties all in one place. This is an event not to miss, a hidden treasure sort of speak.

How do you see social media developing in the following years?

Social media is „Minimizing Barriers to Entry.“ There are no boundaries. Social media must be managed, or it will manage you! I see social media becoming a tool that people use to enhance their lives. Currently, people are trying to figure out how to balance and manage all of the social tech tools that are available to them.

In Germany, Facebook is used more than Twitter. In the US, people love Twitter because they can communicate with the rest of the world while on the go. Short and sweet as they say. Different cultures adopt different tools based upon their lifestyle.

Here in Germany a cup of coffee beats social media any day. I hope that Social Media Week Berlin ’14 sparks thought provoking conversations, and enables those in attendance to find a way to balance out social media tools, personal preference and what is going on around the world. Social media is not going away, so we must use it to our advantage and enhance our lives both personally and professionally. How do you use social media? What is your favorite social media tool? Tell us by sharing and using #ysm#SMWberlin!

Can you tell us about some of the current trends in social media?

The current trends are based upon culture and lifestyle. There is not one solution or one trend that dominates. I travel all around the world and the only trend I see is that, the happier people are with the balance between their work lives and their personal lives, the less they tend to utilize social media.

When one is relaxed and feels heard or valued, why utilize social media? I personally utilize social media when I want to be heard and during times when I am happy because sometimes its important to share (even with those you don’t know) in order for greater outcomes to occur. I hope you will join us for #SMWBerlin, the entire team has worked very hard to bring something of value to everyone.

Social Media Week runs from the 22 -26th of September. Check out the schedule here.

Jewell Sparks is the the Programme Director for #SMWBerlin. Jewell is a global business strategist and journalist specializing in providing „Out of the Box“ business development and market diversification solutions for startups, nonprofits and businesses in transition. 

As the CEO and Founder of Strategic Diversity Group Incorporated (SDGI), BiTHouse, OTGC- On The Green Carpet, AgTech Connect and Intuit FT. Jewell advises and mentors startups on team effectiveness, brand development, social media marketing, and funding strategies.

She is a cellular biologist/business management professional turned inclusion hacker/serial entrepreneur, with over 20 years of sales, strategic alliance, organizational effectiveness and business development expertise.

Jewell helps organizations diversify their leadership teams in order to be effective in the following areas: organizational effectiveness, diversity and inclusion initiatives, strategic partnerships/alliances, social media messaging, conference development, hackathons and pitch event execution.

Feature image via Social Media Week Berlin

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