Digital Media Conference West, a one day conference held at the Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco, focused on a wide range of topics including online video, social media, investments, online advertising, mobile entertainment, mobile apps, the future of news media and the relationship between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. There were also a number of well known digital media leaders there to speak including Jay Adelson of Digg and Craig Newmark of Craig’s List along with other great speakers from the industry.
Bill Trancer of Hitwise and Nick Veronis of Veronis Suhler Stevenson kicked off the conference with their view of the trends of the Internet. Bill’s trends can be found in his book Click: What Millions of People are Doing and Why it Matters along with his blog I Love Data which he gave a few shout-outs about. His post about the competition of Twitter vs Facebook provides a clear analysis of the trends, spelling out his observation that Facebook, with its 6% of all U.S. Internet visits, is not threatened by Twitter. Nick Veronis spoke of ad spending trends where $210 billion is allocated to digital advertising, search is huge and growing with over $11 billion while classified spending has been reduced by 50% most likely due to competition with free services such as Craig’s List. The main problem according to Nick Veronis is, “Distribution used to be the issue, now its gaining the attention of users”
It was like hanging out in a cafe during Jay Adelson of Digg’s talk with Mike Vorhaus of Magid Advisors, a research-based strategic consulting firm (founded in 1957!). Jay shared amusing incidents such as when he was hailed back west from NYC to return to the Digg helm and his biggest concern was the transportation of his daughter’s Gecko. He “twittered” for information inquiring how does one transport a Gecko and was blown away by the amount of knowledge his followers shared with him about Geckos – a testament to the power of Twitter. His first hire was a coder from eLance who turned into a full timer. Digg would have been Dig if Disney didn’t already own it. He isn’t thrilled with the depiction of him as despising VC’s as detailed in an entire chapter on him called Fuck the Sweater Vests by Sarah Lacy in Once Your Lucky, Twice Your Good. He does prefer Angel funding. Digg is hiring and allows dogs, even parakeets in the office. And he shared “secrets” including that Digg is releasing new features in a week and focusing on verticals, content types and also on multiple levels of promotions.
The agenda was packed with great content yet it seemed to always come back to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace in each and every conversation. Lunch was served along with a chat from Craig Newmark who still goes by his title of Customer and Service Rep from 12 years ago when he first started the site. He was candid, honest and a delight to listen to even though folks were having lunch while he spoke. His main concern is about information not being shared. He is so concerned that he gave out his Twitter, Facebook and even his email address to all, suggesting they contact him in the afternoons when he isn’t dealing with spam. Great information was shared during the conference by the speakers and through the Twitter hashtag #DMCW that was displayed front and center on the big screen on stage with the speakers. Attendees at the conference and off-site kept the live stream fresh. What were they sharing? They shared when they arrived for the “party.” They promoted their speaking engagements coming up. They shared who they were looking forward to hearing speak. They provided links to information such as the Pew Study on Twitter Users tweeted by @nedsherman. They gave a play-by-play of who is speaking and about what. And they promoted themselves.
Check out more about the Digital Media Conference West and Buzz on its Twitter Feed at #DMCW