Sep
29
2013

My Experience of Being a SMWReporter at SMWMumbai

It all started with a contest organized by Nokia Connects where the winners would get a chance to be one of the eight SMW (Social Media Week) Reporters for Nokia. Now before going in to the technicalities of the contest let me give you a brief intro about SMW. SMW is a leading media platform and worldwide event organized & managed by Crowdcentric.

Image Source : socialmediaweek.org

The event has global reach across five continents, including Europe, North America, South America, Africa and Asia. The event reaches millions of social media users including professionals working in a PR firm, digital marketing agencies, bloggers, journalists, social media managers, students etc. For more information on SMW visit SocialMediaWeek.org.

This year SMW has the theme “Open and Connected:  Principles for a Collaborative World” and People at Nokia (Headline Sponsor for SMW) & Social Media Week Organizers came out with an interesting contest where they would choose 2 people each from four different countries and swap their locations. All you need to do was tell them why you should be chosen as one of the SMWReporters.

Luckily I was chosen as of the SMWReporter from India and I was suppose to fly down to London to cover and report live from SMW London. But unfortunately my VISA got delayed and I was not able to attend the event. People at Nokia are very helpful, co-operative and understanding so they knew how I must have felt and to my surprise they offered me to attend and cover SMW Mumbai.

I readily said Yes to the offer since I wanted to attend SMW as I have never attended the same before. So I flew down to Mumbai last Sunday to attend the SMW Mumbai from 23rd to 27th September. I have been to Mumbai couple of times before, always due to work but never got a chance to explore and interact with people. This time it was a great opportunity for me to explore Mumbai and interact with people.

In the afternoon I Met other SMW reporters from London – Jessica (prcompany.org.uk) and Zaneta (creolitaculture.com). I also met Alex Oberberg (Head, Markets Engagement, Nokia) and Ben Scheim (Director, Social Media Week) who are the people behind the Nokia Connects SMWreporter Competition. So basically these two are the people who made it possible for 8 people to fly down to different countries and attend the SMW. Also each reporter was given a Lumia 1020 to cover the events 🙂

SMW Reporters (From Left: Jess, Zaneta and Akshay))

SMW Reporters (From Left: Jess, Zaneta and Akshay)

There was a small party or you can say get together organized for us on Sunday at BlueFrog so that we can get to know each other and get ready for the events starting next day. Next day i.e Monday 23rd September the event kicked off with organizers including Ben and Alex talking about Social Media Week. Here is the keynote address by Alex:

After the initial opening address and keynote it was time for the events, panel discussions, sessions and much more.

1st Panel Discussion at SMW Mumbai

Unfortunately there were 4 venues and events were happening simultaneously so we could not attend all of them. Choosing which events to attend was the most difficult task for us.

So we kept hopping from one venue to other to attend various events. It was fun but the only problem was traffic in Mumbai. We ended up spending 1 hour in the taxi for the distance which under normal traffic should have taken somewhat around 15 minutes. Traffic in Mumbai is really bad apart from it Mumbai is a great place.

I also went for the Photography walk for Bloggers on Day 1. The event was organized by Nokia and the main purpose of the walk was to showcase the power of Lumia 1020. Each blogger was given a Lumia 1020 to capture images/videos and make a documentary on the spot. What’s more? One of the lucky Bloggers present at the walk will win a Lumia 1020 for creating the best documentary using Lumia 1020.

Here are few photos from the Photography walk organized by Nokia where bloggers were busy taking images using the Lumia 1020:

Then there were number of other events such as  Making ‘Free Art’ profitable, Music & Social Media Connect – A panel Discussion etc. I won’t be discussing about the individual events in detail as there is a recording of these events present on Social Media Week website. All I can say is that these events were simply amazing. I learned many new things about and related to social media. Visit SMW Mumbai to watch recorded sessions.

There was a opening day party on Day1 but we went to a separate restaurant as other SMW Reporters wanted to taste the Indian Curries :-). It was a good decision because we discussed a lot about Indian growth, problems and much more.

At the end we attended the SMW Mumbai Opening Bash where we got a chance to interact with lot of new people who are working as PR professionals, Bloggers, entrepreneurs etc. Day 1 ended quite well and I really enjoyed all the events especially the party 😉

Day 2 was even more interesting, more events more party more fun. We attended number of interesting events on Day 2 such as How Social Media Dictates Journalism, The Role of Social Media in Politics ,Session on Personal branding etc. At the end there was a Bombay Street Style Party organized by Miss Malini (missmalini.com) which was simply awesome.

At Bombay Street Style party

At Bombay Street Style party (Photo Credits: Olive Bar & Kitchen)

After the party I went with my friends to visit few of the famous beaches in Mumbai including the Juhu Beach. I am amazed that the Mumbai is on of the city which never sleeps event at 2 am in the morning you would see so many people on the beaches.

Juhu Beach at Night

Juhu Beach at Night

On Day 3 we have more interesting sessions and unfortunately we have to say Good Bye to Ben & Alex as they were heading out for SMW London. The good thing about them is that they are very cool and fun loving people. Usually you won’t find the working professionals/organizers having fun as they are always busy with work but this is not the case with them. It seems that they are very efficient in managing their work and you would always find them in some or the other party at night.Before Ben left he introduced us to Toby (Co-founder & CEO, Crowdcentric and Founder & Executive Director, social media week).

We also visited the Gateway of India on Day 3 and it is a must to visit place if you are in Mumbai. We got ourselves clicked by the photographers there and they will give you a quick photo print as well for few bucks.

gateway of India

Gateway of India

At the end I left for the hotel as there was a ladies night event and obviously men were not allowed there 😛

It was already Thursday i.e Day 4 or should I say second last day for the SMW Mumbai. There isn’t much to talk about Day 4 as we just attended events and nothing else. It might sound boring to you but believe me when you are attending an event like Social media analytics you won’t notice the time.

Finally or better to say unfortunately it was Day 5 our last day as the SMW Reporters. We took a Taxi from hotel to the venue along with Toby. We learned many more new things about Social Media Week from Toby before reaching the venue.

The day started with a opening address from Toby and believe me it is one of the best I have ever attended. So if you missed it you can watch the recording below:

After the sessions it was time for our last party in Mumbai. The party was simply awesome with live performances from Shraddha Sharma, Armaan Malik and the Band Coshish.  After the party we said good bye to all the awesome people we met during the week and clicked photos.

Closing party SMW Mumbai

Closing party SMW Mumbai

We were back to our hotel at around 1:30 am so I just started packing my stuff as we were suppose to leave for the Airport at 10 in the morning. In morning I had my last group photo with Jess & Zaneta and we headed for the Airport. Here is a small video overview of my experience as SMW reporter:

Being a SMW reporter was an amazing experience. It gave us a chance to interact with new people and learn many new things about Social Media. Overall being a SMW Reporter was a once in a life time opportunity and I really want to thanks Nokia Connects (Katie & Alex) & SMW (Toby & Ben) for providing me this opportunity. I really hope I could be a part of more SMWs in the future. I Would also like to thanks Jess & Zaneta without whom I would have been bored to death. I would definitely miss you (Jess & Zaneta), Alex, Ben, Toby, SMW and Mumbai.

Disclosure: I am already checking out socialmediaweek.org/jobs/ to get a chance to work with an amazing organization and travel around the world 😉

About the Author:

Akshay is a Tech Enthusiast, who loves to write about Technology and Gadgets. He is very passionate about blogging and has been blogging since 2009.

4 Comments+ Add Comment

  • Awesome Man!! hope you could have made it to London it would have been better.

    • Initially I thought that Mumbai would be less interesting than London but I was wrong.. I enjoyed a lot and it was super fun to be at SMW Mumbai.. Regarding SMW London I would try to attend it in future 🙂

  • Thorough, apt review man!

  • […] Akshay really gave us a unique perspective being an Indian highlighting how vast the country is. My Experience of Being a SMWReporter at SMWMumbai […]

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