Go to There: Social Media Week

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Yes, Chicago Ideas Week is still coming up, but Social Media Week is even closer: It’s next week. As in, it’s all of next week - from Sept. 23 straight through to Sept. 27 - and it’s got folks like representatives from Chicago pro sports teams and Google invading all sorts of venues like the Tribune Tower and Rockit Bar & Grill to discuss their social media strategies.

There’s still plenty of time to register and plenty of talks to attend, but here’s a quick rundown of what I’d suggest gravitating towards.

Is Social Media the New Complaint Department?
Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy (28 N. Clark St., 5th floor)
1 p.m. - 2 p.m.

From the event page: “Whether you’re blasted by a major celebrity or the average customer, negative social mentions and complaints can quickly become a brand’s worst nightmare. How do you control the situation? When do you take the conversation ‘offline’ - and how?” Folks from Lettuce Entertain You, Accenture and Earshot will be rounding out the panel, and they promise to share personal experiences good, bad and “flat-out crazy.” Should be fun and informative. Register here.

Branding in the Digital Space
Tribune Tower (435 N. Michigan Ave.)
2:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Okay, the event name could maybe be a turn-off for some folks, but what we’re really talking about here is a high-level chat aimed at folks looking to get started with building an identity on social media. That’s something no one looking to succeed in business can really scoff at. As the event itself says, “Branding is more than your logo. It’s the entire idea and image that people have of something or another person. It’s what determines what people expect from you, and ultimately dictates how they interact with you.” Register here.

Connect with the Dream!: Engaging Customers with Social Media in the Luxury Market
Chicago Architecture Foundation (224 S. Michigan Ave.)
4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Targeting upscale customers is one way to make a niche for yourself, but obviously that clientele requires a different approach. Who better than Ashley Boho of Mercedes-Benz of Chicago and Fletcher Jones Audi to lay out the ins and outs of connecting with these customers? I don’t agree with the event’s description that “luxury brand consumers/followers expect nothing but the best” because, well, all consumers expect that, but rest assured you’ll get some good insights nonetheless. Register here.

Yes, there are other talks on other days, but it just so happened the ones that stood out to me all fall on Thursday. Take a look around the full schedule to see what grabs you. In the meantime, I'd take a look back at my write-up on last year’s BuzzFeed and Edelman Digital SMW chat — which is absolutely still relevant.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as IFC’s comedy, film, and TV blogger, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City and an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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