Veronica and Beth collectively attended both days of the inaugural Seattle Interactive Conference and all three evening parties. Beth was on site at the conference the first day, Veronica the second. Below, we’ve compiled highlights from sessions we attended. We’ll make sure to post conference slides and video once they become publicly available.

The hashtag from the conference is #SIC2011, if you want to view all tweets.

Day 1:
Sean O’Driscoll (@seanodmvp) of Ant’s Eye View – The Practitioner’s Guide to the Social Engagement Journey
Tweets from the session: #sic2011 + @seanodmvp
Sean presented the core of Ant’s Eye View’s consulting philosophy: the five levels of social engagement for companies as a whole. He said too many companies treat social engagement like an on/off button: “Are we on Twitter?” The takeaway everyone tweeted is that social engagement requires organizational change to get everyone in the company on board, and he provided advice to convince management that social engagement is important. He also mentioned that companies cannot simply have social media policies  and nothing else; they need to incorporate education into their social engagement journeys.
Louis LoPresti (@redpantsmeme) of RedPants – Meme and Miasma: Context Shifts in Social Media
Tweets from the session: #sic2011 + @redpantsmeme
Louis started his presentation with the statement, “Twitter has reminded us that words have much more power than we imagine.” In his opinion, the Arab Spring would not have been possible without social media. He talked about his predictions for the future of social media, such as that Facebook will become a social browser in 5-10 years. In the best and worst practices section of his presentation, he said your social media voice not only has to be authentic, it has to be honest. According to him, the reason Kenneth Cole’s apology for exploiting Cairo tweets was not successful is people didn’t think it was sincere. It was great how he left 20 minutes for questions at the end of the presentation, encouraging attendees to ask him anything.

Transformation of News Media Panel:
Will Hunsinger (@billykid) of Evri – moderator
Mark Briggs (@markbriggs) of KING-TV
John Cook (@johncook) of GeekWire
Mike Davidson (@mikeindustries) of Newsvine
Curt Woodward (@curtwoodward) of Xconomy
This was, of course, an excellent panel. Beth liked how panelists brought up how online community has changed the timeline of interviewing versus publishing articles. It used to be that for feature articles, journalists would do all their interviewing up front then be done with the story as soon as it published. Now, John Cook prefers to get a story done with as much information as he can get quickly, then write follow-up posts based on reader comments and breaking information. There were also a couple of really good points made about revenue for news sites. Curt Woodward brought up that Craig’s List killed classified ad revenue for newspapers forever. Mike Davidson believes that news sites can generate revenue by bundling the cost to view articles with real-life goods, such as through Groupon-type deals.

Shauna Causey (@shaunacausey) of Nordstrom and #SMCSEA – Beyond Social Media Platforms: When Conversation Sparks Innovation
Tweets from the session: #sic2011 + @shaunacausey
In this session, Shauna presented a series of case studies of social media use by consumer brands, both negative and positive. She gets bragging rights for perhaps the most tweeted quote of the whole conference: “95% of companies don’t respond to questions/posts on Facebook.”
Ben Elowitz (@elowitz) of Wetpaint – SOS – The Social Operating System: How the Social Web has Rewired the Digital World from the Ground Up
Tweets from the session: #sic2011 + @wetpaint
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Wetpaint, it’s a highly successful entertainment news site founded in Seattle. For this session, Ben basically talked about the evolution of Internet use and advice for creating and maintaining a successful website, sharing Wetpaint best practices. It sounds like Ben’s secret to success is measuring tons and tons of data to make decisions, both when starting a website and maintaining it. He emphasized the importance of constant tinkering and measurement, and said that Wetpaint’s audience of women aged 18-34 was a deliberate part of Wetpaint’s original business plan.

Day 2:
Jamie Monberg (@lomcovak) of Hornall Anderson - Interactive Environments: from URL to IRL (in-real-life)
Tweets from the session: #sic2011 + @lomcovak
The Chief Experience Officer of Hornall Anderson, Jamie Monberg emphasized the importance of going back to the basics, brand engagements, and its affordance. According to Jamie, “great brands tell great stories, but they also give their consumers great stories to tell about them. When people share memories, brands are created.” Another great takeaway from Jamie’s talk is that we as humans fail all the time, but the important thing is to fail forward. Jamie encouraged us all to go back to the basics  because if you go the the screen without a pencil and a storyboard, you might miss the message. A tweet by @optimusdiaz summed up Jamie’s talk “put down the screen & dig in your own sandbox, your mind is your tool, your environment inspires growth & new ventures.”
Derek Halpern (@derekhalpern) of SocialTriggers
Tweets from the session: #sic2011 + @derekhalpern
Derek spoke to a crowd of entrepreneurs, marketers, freelancers, and individuals who are in the business of contributing to an organization’s bottom-line. The top three takeaways from Derek’s talk are: 1) Focus on one thing. Fewer options mean more sales – diversifying your product and services too much can clutter your main value proposition. 2) Gain instant credibility by showing the proof that it works. People trust facts and authority. 3) Focus on the losses and fear rather then the gain. When working with prospects emphasize your solutions rather than the features and benefits.
Darnell Holloway (@darnelljustin) of  Yelp - Yelp and Small Businesses
Tweets from the session: #sic2011 + @darnelljustin and #sic2011 + @yelp
Yelp has become a transactional social media outlet. The reviews must be in first person; otherwise, the filter automatically deletes fake and inappropriate reviews.  During this session, it was surprising to learn that 80 percent of the reviews are 3 stars or higher on Yelp – totally changing Veronica’s perception that more people will go out of their way to Yelp about a negative experience.
Digital Music Panel
Ross Reynolds (@rossophonic) – KUOW-FM (moderator)
Nick Harmer (@onewhoharms) – Death Cab for Cutie
Aaron Starkley – KEXP
Tim Bierman (@10CTim) - Pearl Jam Fan Club Manager
Sir Mix-A-Lot (@therealmix) – Rhyme Cartel Records

This session probably had the most active tweet stream of both days. You can view GeekWire’s post on it here: Highlights: Sir Mix-A-Lot, Pearl Jam, Death Cab, KEXP and music in the digital age.

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