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How This Year's Social Good Summit Advanced Its Audience Reach

The seventh annual conference offered a new live stream element through Facebook, a virtual-reality station, and big-name speakers including U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

By Ian Zelaya September 22, 2016, 6:45 AM EDT

Speakers at the seventh annual Social Good Summit included comedian and talk show host Chelsea Handler, who discussed her Netflix show.

Photo: Christopher Gregory/Mashable

World leaders, celebrities, educators, social activists, and more gathered at the 92nd Street Y in New York to participate in the seventh annual Social Good Summit, which was held September 18 and 19 during United Nations General Assembly Week. The conference—which highlights the impact of technology and new media on global social good initiatives through a series of interviews and panels—was presented in partnership with Mashable, 92nd Street Y, the United Nations Foundation, and the United Nations Development Program.

The annual summit has always been innovative in terms of how it reaches audiences remotely, with tactics including live streams that are translated in seven different languages, organized meetups to watch the event across the globe, and social sharing marked by the event's theme and hashtag #2030Now. This year, Mashable partnered with event sponsor Facebook to add a new live stream element for those who wanted to tune into the discussions.

“We partnered with Facebook to post about 20 Facebook Live streams of panels across multiple channels,” said Natasha Mulla, director of experiential marketing at Mashable. “We hoped to take the conversations happening onstage and not only elaborate more on them, but also deliver them to folks who weren't watching the main live stream.”

Other event sponsors included Pfizer, MasterCard, Nike, and the Taco Bell Foundation, all of which found ways to integrate themselves into certain aspects of the event. “We reach out to different brands, and those that come to us are looking to have additional connectivity,” said Mulla. Pfizer had gotten involved with the United Nations' Global Goals series branding in 2015, and emphasized its commitment to that initiative with an informative and branded booth in the conference's digital media lounge. Taco Bell Foundation's youth leaders spoke during their own panel, while MasterCard sponsored the summit's live stream.

Sophie Oreck, program manager at Mashable, noted that another new feature at this year's conference was the integration of virtual reality through a partnership with Samsung and Nothing But Nets, a global grassroots campaign that aims to prevent malaria. A virtual-reality viewing station was set up at the event, featuring content from the United Nations Population Fund and Conservation International.

For future conferences, Mulla said the goal is to reach even more viewers across the globe. “Every year we regroup and address how we want to advance the event,” said Mulla. “Our biggest goal is to get as many people engaged in the conversation as possible. As we continue to plan for future years, we hope to find new ways to get info out there and continue the conservation.”

Speakers during the two-day conference included U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, talk-show host Chelsea Handler, singer Demi Lovato, L.G.B.T. rights advocate Jazz Jennings, and actress Connie Britton. According to event organizers, this year's Social Good Summit attracted more than 1,800 attendees over its two-day duration, and hit 1.8 billion impressions on social platforms with the #2030Now hashtag.

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