>play Conference Makes San Francisco Debut Oct. 25

Reflecting the “always on” mentality of Bay Area professionals, the >play Digital Media Conference moves to a Friday in San Francisco this year, making it even easier for tech innovators to attend.

Previously one of the largest student-run events on campus, >play leaves UC Berkeley for the first time in favor of San Francisco’s Nikko Hotel on Oct. 25. The conference also moves to a Friday this year, bucking the tradition of a Saturday conference.

“Up until now we had mostly students in the conference, and some alumni from Berkeley, but we wanted to change from a student conference to a technology event that will attract the whole Bay Area community,” says marketing leader Laura Espin, MBA 14.

As in past years, about 600 people are expected to attend; the main difference is that professionals should represent a greater portion of the overall mix than ever before.

This year’s theme—"always on"—should help attract technology professionals who, like many students, find they’re living simultaneously in two worlds: one physical, one virtual. It’s a trend with profound implications for social interactions, privacy, business, even education.

“The whole conference is about being connected all the time,” Espin said.

Facebook, naturally, is front and center: Tim Campos, the social networking giant's CIO and a Haas alumnus, will deliver the afternoon keynote in a discussion with blogger and tech evangelist Robert Scoble.

Panel topics will include fitness technology, photo technology, social commerce, and music streaming. Other panels will consider cutting the cord on cable and redefining the body’s interface with computers.

The ninth-annual >play conference is being organized by the Berkeley Digital Media and Entertainment Club, a Berkeley MBA student group geared toward helping people learn about and get involved with emerging trends in digital media and entertainment. As many as 75 MBA students are involved in planning the conference year-round.

Tickets to >play cost $35 for students, $65 for Haas alumni, and $95 for professions, and are available at playconference2013.eventbrite.com. For more information on this year’s conference, see playconference.net.