NEW YORK--Tuesday evening was the first night on the job for at least one of the waitresses at the brand-new Standard Hotel, a Los Angeles import straddling the about-to-open High Line elevated park in Manhattan's downtown Meatpacking District. And it must have been quite the trial by fire when several dozen unexpected patrons showed up for an impromptu Internet Week New York gathering.
That's the thing about Internet Week. It has no centralized location, and events can vary wildly by geography. (It seems like half the panels and conferences are in midtown hotels and the other half are in downtown NYU lecture halls.) So after-parties seem to be where everyone winds up.
This one was the work of The New York Times social media marketer Soraya Darabi and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who invited a few people to the outdoor bar at the Standard. Guests "checked in" to mobile networking site Foursquare, their friends dropped by, and soon the place had snowballed to such an extent that the guests decided to give the bar staff a break and relocate to the notably less highbrow Hogs & Heifers Saloon across the street.
On the bright side, I'm expecting that some of the well-off dot-commers in attendance at the Standard, including billionaire Mark Cuban, probably tipped well.
However haphazard it may seem after-hours--Monday night, for example, featured an installment of the Ignite geek-talks series, a TechSet party at champagne bar Bubble Lounge, and the festival's official kickoff event hosted by YouTube and the New York Observer--Internet Week has an agenda.
"New media and Internet technology are very important to the city of New York, certainly important to the film, television, and advertising world," Katherine Oliver, commissioner of Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, said at a small opening event at the new, Google-powered New York visitors center in midtown. "All of our mediums are converging, and we're exploring ways that we can help these companies."
That's pretty clear at some of the events, like reviews site Yelp's party on Tuesday night, which aimed to showcase and promote local businesses in the Chelsea neighborhood, or the old-meets-new media partnership of YouTube and the Observer for the kickoff party, or Tuesday and Wednesday's convergence-themed Mediabistro Circus conference.
It's less evident, say, at 2 o'clock in the morning at Hogs & Heifers, where one of the primary objectives seemed to be convincing the people who'd flown in from San Francisco to get up and dance on the bar, as is customary in the establishment. (They didn't.)