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Social Media Week Now Has a Health and Wellness Hub

The madness that is Social Media Week (SMW) officially begins on Monday, but organizers, sponsors, and partners kicked things off today with a press conference at the Hearst Building in New York City.

One of the new additions this go round is a Health and Wellness hub in NYC, which was introduced by Saatchi & Saatchi‘s Wellness MD Ned Russell.

“Social media is the great leveler” in so many areas, said Russell. That includes healthcare. Click here to check out the schedule for this and all of the other activities for the week.

Along with keynotes and discussion, Russell announced that they’ll also be crowdsourcing social media guidelines during the course of the week, with results sent to the Food and Drug Administration. Calling the existing guidelines “vague,” he says that more organizations in the healthcare space would like to go digital, but they’re nervous about the legal repercussions of any missteps.

“No one wants to be the first in the water,” said Russell. “But they do want to be a close second.”

The #SMW12 theme is “Empowering Change Through Collaboration.” In keeping with that theme, SMW VIPS made appearances from all over the world to talk about the importance of social media. “It’s changing the way we orchestrate capabilities in societies,” said Don Tapscott, author of Macrowikinomics and the event’s global curator. He called in from Toronto.

And to really bring home the whole “social media connects the world” idea, live presser attendees were introduced via Skype to Martin from the U.K. and Daphne from Singapore (image right). The two have agreed to exchange countries with nothing but the clothes on their back and access to their social networks for the week. Daphne says she’s already managed to get hooked up with tickets for transport from Heathrow Airport (where Martin was Skyping from) to Paddington Station through new digital connections. You can read more about #CanManLondon and #CanManSG here.

And finally, after re-affirmations of New York’s prominent status as a technology hub from a few city government officials (the city’s chief digital officer Rachel Sterne called the city the “Social Media Capital of the country” and introduced us to The Daily Pothole after handing over the official “Social Media Week” declaration signed by Mayor Bloomberg), we were treated to the video above.

We’ll be checking out some of the activities throughout the week. Let us know if you see/hear/do anything interesting as well.

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