How is Internet Week different from any other week, you might ask? Are you required to do more tweeting, Facebook stalking, online shopping, Grindring and illegal downloading? No, you are not.
Internet Week, which kicks off today, is a seven-day festival of panels, parties, workshops and Klout superstars that celebrates the way the web has influenced the culture and people of New York.
We sat down with festival co-chair David-Michel Davies to find out what Bjork, Bill Clinton and Instagram all have in common.
What exactly is Internet Week?
It’s a city-wide festival celebrating our industry’s thriving community. It’s a fun and interesting model for a festival in that it really mirrors the way the Internet works. Instead of us sitting in a room and coming up with events, we work closely with New York’s Internet community to program the festival, which means there are more than 200 events that are thrown by all sorts of different organizations under the festival’s umbrella. Those range from panels and conferences to arts events and parties. We also have a 50,000-square-foot headquarters at 82 Mercer Street. It’s relevant to what’s happening on the Internet today because the content is created by the city itself.
What events are you most looking forward to?
I’m excited to see the New York City photo exhibit at the W Times Square. It’s New York’s most talented Instagram photographers taking photos of the city and shown in a gallery there. There’s another exhibit at a Soho gallery called The Art of Apps, where people like Peter Rojas will have an exhibit of art interfaced with iPhone and iPad by some of the world’s top designers. And we’re having a panel at the headquarters with comedian Billy Eichner and others talking about comedy on the Internet.
And you also produce the Webby Awards, right?
We do produce the Webby Awards, which will be on May 21 at the Hammerstein Ballroom and will be hosted by Patton Oswalt, so it’ll be super funny. Even if you can’t come to the show, it’s live streamed at webbyawards.com at 5:30 EST and anyone can tune in. We’ll be honoring Louis C.K., we’ll be honoring Bjork, we’ll have a special tribute to Steve Jobs that we’ve been working on which will feature video message from President Clinton, Al Gore, Jimmy Fallon and more.
Do you see Internet Week as helping the pale, sweats-clad people of the web overcome the stereotype of being socially awkward loners?
The thing about it is that the web is really the hub of pop culture today. When I was younger it was television, that was the media that drove conversation. Today that’s the internet. We see all sorts of type of culture emerging online and Internet Week is a way of seeing that and bringing it to life in real space. Absolutely it’s a way to see people outside of behind the screens, but it’s also mirroring how vital the Internet is to the world.