"Forward Focus" - Future Trends 2010 Podcast Series Debuts with Stephen Gates

Stephen Gates
Starwood Hotels Interactive Creative Director

The social ties that bind us are wearing increasingly thin, according to Stephen Gates. As worldwide interactive creative director for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Gates has become an authority on social media and its impact on society and branding. Listen as we explore online networks as “Social Surrogates” and the implications for brand connections.

In this first installment of the Future Trends expert interview series, “Forward Focus,” Gates discusses how his ongoing professional quest to understand and optimize social media took a personal turn, and what it means for brands looking to forge meaningful relationships with consumers.

“Facebook has really almost become a social surrogate to real human interaction,” said Gates, who decided to test the strength of his own personal bonds by defriending anyone with whom he had not interacted offline in a meaningful way in the year prior.

The results of Gates’ “Inverse Facebook Experiment” may come as a surprise. In this interview, Gates provides insight to help marketers rethink the meaning of “interactivity” and how to apply it in a culture where it has become commonplace to establish and maintain relationships without speaking with or seeing other people.

Stephen Gates will also lead a symposium on the future of online branding at Future Trends 2010!
Click here to listen to the podcast

For more about Stephen Gates, please visit his blog at

October 18-20, 2010
Eden Roc – Miami

See you in Miami!

Future Trends


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