Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our Top 10 picks for SXSW Interactive panels: Vote now!

South by Southwest received over 2200 panel proposals for next year's Interactive Festival in Austin, and many of them look pretty amazing. One of the neat things about SXSW is that community voting plays a large role in whether a panel is actually presented at the conference -- using the SXSW "Panelpicker" interface, citizens can vote "yes" or "no" on whether they'd like to see a particular panel.

Though it's a crowded field, we've thrown our hat into the ring with a panel called, "Digital Protests: Social Media as Activism," and we'd appreciate it if you'd vote it up and share it with others (we think it's a pretty fascinating topic given recent events). Here's a brief description:

This session will explore the role that social media plays in protests, through the lens of recent events like Iran and the American health care debate. The panel will cover the various tools (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) that are being used to elevate protests, examine the benefits and drawbacks of the internet's involvement and whether social media makes protests more or less efficient, and discuss the issue of authenticity in information dissemination.

But our panel isn't the only one we're excited for. Here's a list of other panels that are making us wish we were already in Austin:

Next Generation Politics: Where Will We Go Next?: In 2000, candidates used e-mail and websites to transmit their messages online. 2004 introduced political blogs and in 2008, social media played a major role in the election. As the 2010 election approaches and we look to 2012, what's next? A panel of national experts will predict.

Crowd Sourcing Innovative Social Change: Social media builds buzz and raises money, but what about real, on-the-ground change? The Social Change Challenge will crowdsource innovative ideas from nonprofits to change the world.

Your Friends: The Newest Breaking News Channel: When Michael Jackson died, where were you?...on the web, that is. Social media tools are playing an incredibly powerful role in uniting people around the world in awareness, conversation and action around breaking news and global current events.

Service 2.0: Evaluating Next-Gen Volunteer Opportunity Platforms: Forget about the high school community service club. The next generation of volunteering platforms is here -- from Google's All for Good to the President's But can they also combat apathy? We'll speak with experts about recent efforts to revolutionize the service space and see what gaps remain.

UX Fortune-Telling Case Study: The Future of YouTube: YouTube's early and rapid success as well as its agile development process has made it complicated to look further into the future to see the potential paths for evolving the user experience and visual design of the site. Margaret Stewart will share a case study of how she and her team facilitated a company-wide collaborative exploration of YouTube's future, and the impact this work had on short term efforts and long term planning.

CrowdControl: Changing the Face of Media or Hype?: A discussion about the new media democracy, citizen journalism and the wisdom of the crowd. We already live in an interactive society but this global proliferation and escalation exemplifies the value of the wisdom of the crowds. The panel will discuss core tenets of this theory and how it is affecting current and future digital media business models.

Blogger's Second Decade: Is Blogging Still Relevant?: Blogger turned 10 in August, 2009. Is blogging (and Blogger) still relevant in an age of Twitter, Friendfeed and Facebook? This talk will discuss the history of blogging and look at its future, and share creative examples of how blogging will remain relevant for the next 10 years.

Online Video Killed the Publishing Star: This next generation is using online video as their first stop for news, information, and even scholarly research. In this group, print media is deader than MTV. How can print-based publishers compete in this visual era? Should they compete, or is there still an audience that wants to read news?

Evolution of Online Video: The state of online video has changed dramatically since the first video went online in the early 90s. This panel assembles a group of industry leaders to speak about the evolution of online video since its inception until now and weigh in on emerging trends for the future of online video.

Voting closes on September 4 so get your votes in before then!


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