It was clear that it was going to be a different sort of panel when lawyers from Foursquare, Meetup and Etsy admitted their somewhat-derogatory in-house nicknames during the “Lawyered” panel at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival: Foursquare General Counsel Brian Chase, or “Dreamsmasher”; Meetup General Counsel Daniel Pashman, or “Lawzilla”; and Etsy Counsel Sarah Feingold, or “Dreamcrusher.” This lively panel was attended not only by interactive and social media lawyers but also by social media and interactive mavens looking for advice on how to cope with their own dream crushers, while staying on the leading edge of electronic and Web commerce. The panel offered five lessons.

  1. What should every lawyer know before leaving a cushy law firm for a startup?. Pashman says moving from a law firm to a startup was a terrific culture shock. Law firms are populated by driven, focused and analytical lawyers who often work alone, while startups often have no other lawyers but lots of creative-, technical- and business-focused individuals who work in teams and seldom focus on issues that drive lawyers crazy.
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SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

This week, we asked: Have you ever produced event coverage as part of your social media presence?

  • Yes: 65.15%
  • No: 34.85%

Almost 2 in 3 SmartBrief on Social Media readers say they’re producing original event coverage as part of their social media presence. That’s great news, because event coverage is one of the easiest and most useful ways brands can engage with fans. Feeding the content beast is one of the trickiest problems facing most corporate social media managers. Conferences, seminars, trade shows, parties and all manner of other events are easy ways to produce content not only for that day but also for days and weeks to come.

Event coverage offers several distinct advantages.

  • Events offer plenty of topics to discuss. You can report on panel discussions or keynote speeches, analyze trend, review vendors or interview other attendees.
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A challenge for social media marketers and communications professionals is coming to an agreement on transparent ways of measuring social media’s effects. That’s what led Kate Niederhoffer, founder of Knowable Research, to set up the panel “Measuring Social: The Inchworm & the Nightingale” at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival.

Inspired by a plot twist in a children’s story from the 1970s (where an inchworm escapes from a nightingale by offering to measure the bird’s song — from a distance), Niederhoffer brought together two knowledgeable figures from the worlds of social psychology and social media. The panel featured Dr. Sam Gosling, a social scientist and professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and Ken Cho, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Spredfast. Through a conversational approach touching on each person’s area of expertise, the three panelists explored ways in which social media efforts can be measured, including whether utilizing the same approach used by social scientists can be beneficial and if introducing some sort of standardization might be a much needed next step for the industry. (read more…)

Reddit was front and center at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival. Slate’s Farhad Manjoo, Gawker’s Adrian Chen and Skepchick’s Rebecca Watson sat on a panel to discuss Reddit’s “hive mind” under the title “It’s Reddit’s Web, We Just Live In It.”

Chen, Farhad and Watson spent the better part of an hour discussing some of the negative aspects of Reddit, a social network where users post topical links that are then voted up and down by other users, affecting visibility and status. Chen especially has reason to doubt the good intentions of the site after a much-publicized incident last year.

Chen has a long history with Reddit and its users. He revealed the identity of “Violentacrez” a prominent user of the site, citing inappropriate behavior that included posting pictures of teenage girls in a well-trafficked “subreddit” called “Jailbait.” His article received a lot of flack for “outing” a user — something that is taboo in Reddit culture. (read more…)

Among multimedia journalists, social media gurus and leaders of mission-based nongovernmental organizations, it’s a common refrain: All our readers or viewers want are images of kittens and puppies. Such junk food for our eyes and hearts is making it virtually impossible to capture the world’s attention on pressing humanitarian matters such as slavery in Mauritania, use of conflict minerals in electronics products we all love, gender discrimination in the production of kids’ toys and the fact that the poaching of elephants might one day make it impossible for our grandchildren to see these animals — which are nearly as cute as kittens and puppies.

At the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, CNN convened a panel of experts: Jonathan Hutson, director of communications for the Center for American Progress’ Enough Project; Amanda Kloer, director of organizing at; Ben Montgomery, an enterprise writer at the Tampa Bay Times; and John Sutter, an opinion columnist at CNN. (read more…)