Social Media Week Opening Night Celebration, Elizabeth, New York City
February 1, 2010
I made a big mistake today -- the mistake that no intelligent, event- and party-hopping photog/writer who resides in NYC should make during an Internety-themed event week. In between a panel and a party, I... I went home. If you're participating in Social Media Week New York, then you know how grr drat cold it is out there. Imagine if you could sit on your cozy couch and finish up your work. How easy would it be for you to head back into the cold? Now you feel me. I'm motivated, though, because if Toby Daniels can be up for an 8:30 a.m. press conference and flit about the city all day long and remain upright, calm, and unflappable then I sure as hell can make my 14-minute walk from home to Elizabeth Street to join the official opening night celebration.
Elizabeth is swanky-swank. It's hard to tell what the real deal is when it's just us social-media-loving nerds all up in there, so who knows, it could be all JWoWW on the weekends. But tonight it was chilled like the lime frozen fruit bar I just inhaled. Temperature-wise it was a little balmy, but it felt good on the bones. As soon as I walked in I was approached by a server with a tray full of tall slender shot glasses nearly full of a burnt orange liquid. It was some sort of squash soup, which I had to deny due to the spinach cakes I ate before arriving (chubby avoidance tactics at work!)
As I waited for the coat dude to return with my ticket, a dark figure skirted by. I knew that profile. It was Joe Marchese, President of SocialVibe! He was heading for the restroom and I followed to check my face. The bathrooms were my favorite -- private, like your own toilet at home. Hey, sometimes the bathrooms make or break a venue. Have you ever been to Surf Bar in Brooklyn? TRAUMATIZING bathroom.
Back upstairs I went, blinking at the candles that lined the black walls, loving the metal skulls that served as lamp bases, and eyeballing the beaker-looking glass carafes on the bar for future photo op. While my corneas soaked in the flickering fires and weaving wood of Elizabeth, I nearly ran headlong into Brian Morrissey, Digital Editor of Adweek, who was smack in the center of the middle room working his social engagement metric with Deep Focus' Christian Borges, whose mortality I questioned since I haven't seen him out in forever.
I peeked into the main room and saw the familiar face of David Berkowitz, Senior Director of Emerging Media & Innovation at 360i. He was talking with Alan Wolk, Executive Director of Hive Awards and other bloggery things.
Behind the Berkowitz-Wolk party of two were Joe Marchese (he's quick!); Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus; and Peter Himler, Founding Principal at Flatiron Communications LLC, and guy who actually convinced me to spontaneously record some sound bites. I'm terrified of the results because I can hear the echo of my squirrel-like laughter bouncing off the morification lobe in my grey squish.
I made myself talk to strangers tonight, the catalyst being the realization that I gravitate toward familiar faces rather than scooping up new ones. And I think that's lazy for this column! Well, no more!
Tonight I met the dashing duo of Philip McKenzie and Yves Louis Jacques of FREE Magazine and FREEDMC respectively. Yves was sporting a velvet jacket, which always wins in my book. As I was talking with the FREE guys, Nick McGlynn, photographer, blogger, and Vespateer, materialized and snapped some pics, so now there is evidence that I was there. I hope my teeth don't look like corn niblets.
I then met student Matylda Czarnecka and her friend, who were right behind Ilana Eberson and Mark Ameres, who were both working their butts off at the panel I covered this morning. I had a mini reunion with Troy Allen of Conversation, whose name just doesn't stick to my brain. He was at a table with Sara Bekerman of Buzz Txt when I stood on a chair to get a crowd shot, and my lens cap promptly and loudly fell out of my dress.
As I made my way to the front of Elizabeth, intending to leave, I was waylaid by PRNewser's Joe Ciarallo and two PR women from The New York Times. After talking hoarding and business travel, I stepped away and into the threesome of Tiffany Hardin of Translation, LLC., the curly-haired Jeannette Arrowood of MobileBehavior,and Benjamin Scheim from The Paley Center for Media (still sporting his STAFF credentials). As I waited for my coat, Next New Networks' Michelle DeForest almost made it past me without saying hello. Thanks goodness for my clawlike hands! She informed me that their party this week would be featuring a keg, lots of wine, and the expanse of their new offices. I hope I can make it!
Thanks again to Toby Daniels, super organizer ("Nobody works harder than Toby," Ian Schafer grinned at me earlier in the night) and the Social Media Week New York crew, and party sponsors Meebo, Pepsi and Diageo. It was a beautiful venue and an unclogged opportunity to meet a bunch of new people. I'm looking forward to what tomorrow has in store - and you can find out what I'm up to here, or go ahead an follow me on Twitter, but I warn you, it's a melding of work and life, which means you'll probably know what I'm eating and my dreams about being chased by pork rinds.
Join the Social Media Week New York Flickr Group and share your experience!