(L to R) David Carr of The New York Times, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith, WaPoLabs Chief Strategist and Editor-at-Large Rob Malda, and Flipboard Editorial Director Josh Quittner.

In an event hosted by New York University’s Center for Publishing and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies last night, social media experts discussed the shift to social content and what that means for the media industry. Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed, Rob Malda, chief strategist and editor-at-large of the WaPo Labs, and Josh Quittner, editorial director of Flipboard, opined under the moderation of the New York TimesDavid Carr. The mood was decidedly optimistic—as Quittner said at one point, “I think we’re all techno-optimists on this panel.”

The Social Epiphany
The conversation started on the shift to social. “I don’t really surf anymore,” said Carr, “most of my content… comes from somewhere and it’s like this vast, human enabled RSS that is pushing things towards me.” According to Smith, there was a dramatic change between 2010 and 2011 in terms of BuzzFeed’s traffic. Within a year, their biggest referrer went from Google to Facebook. As people change their media habits from seeking content to more passively getting content in the form of their Facebook or Twitter feeds, will they be able to stay well-informed? Read more