How Social Media (probably) Got a Small Hotel into the NY Times

Posted on February 22, 2010. Filed under: Jazz, Newspapers, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


No other tune could accompany this post as well as Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of There’s a Small Hotel from the album The Rodgers and Hart Songbook Volume 2. Check out the rarely-heard verse! Hit the play button below, or if you’re getting this by email, visit the blog to listen.

Today my RSS feed coughed up a New York Times article by Susan Dominus about the joys of www.foursquare.com. Read the article or go on the website to learn about Foursquare. That’s not the point of this post.

Susan Dominus met one of her sources for the article at the Roger Smith Hotel on Lexington Ave between 47th and 48th. From my experience, the choice of venue might be no coincidence. And it represents the power of social media.

First let me say that, in my opinion, the Roger Smith is one of the coolest unsung spots in NY City. Its president is talented Connecticut sculptor James Knowles. The property is maybe the last remaining property of his wife’s family’s hotel holdings. The couple has lovingly embraced the Roger Smith, renovated it and given it one of the most delightful personalities in all NY hotel-dom.

I first met Jim Knowles in the early 1990s through a client Joe Scott, founder of upscale Connecticut landscape design firm Glen Gate, who engaged Jim to create an award for his most creative designers. At the time, Jim hosted Monday evening starving artist dinners in the penthouse of the Roger Smith. They were unspeakably charming and so supportive of the New York arts community.

Over time, I’d stop in there to view the artwork on display and noticed that the hotel was succeeding in attracting international visitors. But I will go out on a limb and say that it has become uber-popular with home town folk since social media guru Chris Brogan has made it his official NY stopover.

Chris tweets about the Roger Smith to his almost 125,000 Twitter followers – including me — and frequently mentions the hotel in blog and newsletter posts. So when a New York Times reporter doing a story on the website Foursquare.com hooks up with interviewee “Damien Basile, a 29-year-old social media consultant, and several of his Foursquare-happy friends” at the Roger Smith, it stands to reason that this person likely learned about the place from a Chris Brogan post and might well be wanting to establish Foursquare mayor-dom and badges at Chris’ NY hotel of choice. (Again check out Foursquare or the Times article to interpret the aforegoing.)

Makes sense to me. But more important, and what I’d share with clients, is that recognition in the social media realm has real dollars and cents value. The fact that Chris has established authority and endorses the Roger Smith likely makes it a destination for social media types and probably led to the NY Times recognition. Chris…you’ve proved it before, and if I’m not all wet here, this proves it again.

Obviously, I’m connecting the dots, but if somehow Damien Basile sees this post, please let me know if I’m right or paddling in the wrong pond. Or if Chris Brogan learned about the Roger Smith from Damien or other NY social media folk I’ll reverse, of course. But it was one of those tasty moments that seemed more than coincidence. And Chris’ endorsement of the Roger Smith certainly can’t hurt – regardless of who learned about it from whom.

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2 Responses to “How Social Media (probably) Got a Small Hotel into the NY Times”

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You’re paddling in the wrong stream. 😉 The reporter learned about Roger Smith from Julia Roy who set up the interview and suggested it be there because we all consider RSH to be the social media hotel. The reason it is like this is because myself, Oz Sultan and Brett Petersel (among many others) supported our friend Brian Simpson who moved there to do some great social media work in addition to his original food and beverage director position.

I can’t speak for how Chris Brogan came to know of RSH but I can say it wasn’t from me. While he has been a great advocate of RSH he is only one piece of the puzzle. It’s as much the local community who continually comes together at RSH to support them and what they do as well as each other. I’m sure he’d be a bigger part of this local community but he lives in Boston currently.

Also keep in mind that it was a confluence of events. If Mr Knowles wasn’t open to doing social media and hadn’t been doing videos for
years before then it may have not happened. It was that plus Brian having supportive socially savvy friends who had many other socially savvy friends. Hope this clears a bit up.

If you want to discuss further you can find me on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/db

Hi, Damien. So glad the post brought us into contact. The fun of this is that I’m happy you dashed my hypothesis all to hell. Happier — We share such a fondness for the RSH. Glad it has SM support — including Chris. One thing we can undoubtedly agree on is that Social Media brings us together amplifies and informs our thought processes. I’m going to the follow button on your Twitter profile now!


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