Media and Social Network Leaders Open Up at ‘The Guardian’ Activate Summit

For those making and breaking recent headlines, The Guardian Activate Summit held at New York’s Paley Center for Media was a venue of choice on Thursday. Notable media and social network executives were there to discuss openness, social good initiatives, and describe new offerings.

Among those making appearances were Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, whose company just purchased SlideShare; Arianna Huffington, whose Huffington Post is the subject of recent sale rumors; and Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian, the outlet that uncovered News Corporation’s wrongdoings. Nike’s recently unveiled sneakers designed for Olympians also debuted on stage. Below are key highlights.

LinkedIn promotes volunteering and helps nonprofits. Leading social platforms are known for social causes, including Facebook and its recent organ donor effort and Twitter for its role in facilitating political uprisings. Now LinkedIn is making its mark by encouraging its professional members to include volunteering in their profiles, according to Hoffman. The social network is also “working to help nonprofits find board members. Matching professionals to organizations is the core of our business, so it’s a virtuous cycle creating good on all sides.”

Arianna opens up about President Obama’s WHCD comments, the merits of linking and a new de-stress app. Arianna Huffington took some of President Obama’s WHCD needling about HuffPo in stride. “Any time the President jokes about your Pulitzer it’s a good joke,” she noted. However, she defended her brand’s business model. “It’s amazing how long it takes for reality to catch up with the narrative, since we live in a linked economy.”

She also described a new app HuffPo plans to launch in a couple months called “GPS for the Soul.” “You’ll be able to personalize it with photos and other content to get back to your zone,”she said.

It seems AOL wasn’t in her zone on Thursday, since she didn’t mention her parent company.

The Guardian hosts an open house for its British readers. Rusbridger described The Guardian as having “an open model that encourages collaborative journalism to handle the explosion of content.” The Guardian recently opened up a New York office, and back in London it literally opened its offices.

“On a recent weekend we invited our readers to tour our offices, and about 6,000 showed up.” He described it as a “fascinating opportunity to have direct contact with readers” about every section of the paper, including crosswords.

Nike’s neon green sneakers steal the spotlight. On a sustainability panel, the moderator asked Hannah Jones, VP at Nike, to remove her neon green Flyknit sneakers (pictured above) and pass them around the audience for inspection. That’s because the running shoes were made using just one thread, they only weigh a few ounces, and will soon be worn by some Olympic athletes. Jones claimed that Nike is more open now, and noted, “Secrecy used to be thought of as the code to competition, but now if you’re going to make it you’ve got to be buff.”