Posts Tagged: sxsw

You Have The Power to Level the SXSW Playing Field

I tweeted yesterday about voting yes or no for every SXSW panel, so I thought I’d follow it up with a quick post.

Is SXSW valuable as an experience? Yes – it is always good to take your online relationships offline, and it’s a breeding ground for collaboration down there in Austin, Texas.

It’s also a popularity contest. Some folks think it “turned into” one, but the way voting is structured, it’s always been about self-promotion.


Just gave a thumbs up or down to all 2300+ SXSW Interactive Panels. Tomorrow: Film and Music.Thu Aug 12 01:18:00 via Seesmic

What this means is that some great panel ideas get overlooked in favor of panels proposed by folks that are “known” already. Endless blog posts are written about how to get your panel into SXSW, endless backchannel bargaining goes on to get votes, and then there is the incredibly obnoxious constant stream of “vote for me” status updates, blog posts and in person conversations. As more and more panels or proposed, this is partially a problem of sheer numbers as well. There are 2346 SXSW interactive panels alone, not even counting Film and Music. (And don’t think Film and Music are immune to the popularity contest aspect, folks. Thanks to the weight given the various aspects of panel selection, last year’s SXSW Film mirrored Sundance in both screenings and panel topics- hardly a representation of true user driven panels and films.)


Thought: instead of urging people to vote on YOUR panel, think of the whole and encourage y/n vote on ALL panels at SXSW. Devalue popularityThu Aug 12 01:23:38 via Seesmic

What I am encouraging you to do is “take back” your conference. It took me 45 minutes yesterday to use the SXSW Panel Picker, page by page, to vote yes or no to every Interactive panel. Granted, I have FIOS internet, so YMMV (your mileage may vary). I’ll go back and do Film and Music this weekend. Being able to look at multiple panels on a page, hover my cursor for a longer description and then click thumbs up or thumbs down was a huge time saver. I made a short note to myself about any I wanted to go back and leave a comment on (we’ll go into why that’s important in a minute). I completely ignored the name and company of each panel organizer. I voted only using two criteria: 1) Do I think the topic is relevant and interesting 2) Would I go to this panel. That’s it. I was more likely to vote no if your panel title was worded like link bait, I was more likely to vote yes if the title made it immediately apparent to me that it was going to be useful, but in each case I read the pop up description before clicking.


Voting on all & not popular will require reading about all. This = learning current valued ideas, themes, evolving memes, more. #sxswThu Aug 12 01:24:42 via Seesmic

Some people will think that voting on all panels will not make a difference. It will if everyone does it, but you are right – our vote is not all that matters in the SXSW selection process. Our collective vote is only 30%. This is where comments come in – thoughtful comments, and lots of them, can push a good panel over the edge and into the selection committee’s consciousness, regardless of who proposed it. Throwaway comments just to get a comment, like “Rad panel, man!” are less helpful. The rest of the vote is 30% SXSW Staff and 40% Advisory Board. This doesn’t help in getting some of the up and coming thought leaders heard! The fact that folks are more likely to be picked if they have had a panel at SXSW before or have been published or otherwise are “known” is too bad, but if we start to let the organizers of SXSW know it’s time for a change by how much and how we vote, it can make a difference.


@leslie this whole voting on all 2300 panels thing is a hard act to follow but you’ve inspired me to wade in! cc @CMajorThu Aug 12 04:40:55 via web

So, what happens if thousands and thousands of the 12,000 or so who attend each year vote differently and completely, and we still can’t effect change?

Start your own conference. You can always effect change.

Online Profile: Asset of the Future

If you follow me on Twitter then you know I have a new book in the works with co-author Jim Keenan. It’s pretty exciting stuff, and we are so excited by the work we are doing we have a panel up for SXSW 2010 based on our research as well. Voting is still open until tomorrow (9/4/09), by the way, so please go vote for the panel and comment on it as well if you would like to hear our case studies, research and thoughts in person!

The basis for the book is the simple yet heady premise that your online profile will become your greatest asset as we march toward the future. It will be worth more than your house, your car, the status of your parents, your race, your gender, your monetary background, and more. Because of the way the online world (not just social media) works as aliving breathing resume, an extension of your whole life experience, it can be leveraged continually to direct the path of your life.

Some of the things we touch on in the book:

  • Why we will have more online friends than offline friends
  • Why we will give money to strangers and date people we’ve never met
  • Why having a strong online presence will be critical to ones social and financial survival
  • The value of eliminating traditional expectations
  • The diminishing emphasis of the handshake and face to face interaction
  • The decline of the traditional resume in favor of the living resume
  • How it’s no longer about “First Impressions” but “Lasting Impressions”
  • The expectation that any online activity could be a contribution to society and your future
  • Why providing information on a “need to know” basis will no longer be acceptable
  • The shift to a global economy and the need for an online presence to compete
  • Why social media will be at the core of our daily lives
  • Online presence as validation
  • Wisdom and peril of the crowd
  • Industry and technology trends and how they will affect you
  • So much more… I’d have to disclose too much of the proprietary information in the book to list everything here, though.

Guest Post on Technosailor, SXSW Panel Up for Vote

I was privileged to write a guest post for Aaron Brazell of Technosailor for his Green Tech blogging week. There were so many great guest posters – be sure to go over and check us all out and weigh in on Green Tech issues. My post is on the hidden human cost of government forcing citizens to go green before giving them access to the tools they need to survive the change.

I’m also nervous. I have always wanted to present at SXSW, and this year I finally bit the bullet and submitted a panel idea for SXSW 2009. If you are a member of the SXSW community, and you’d like to hear a panel on “Can Social Media Save The World?” offering concrete solutions to real world problems using social media, please go vote it up. Voting is open until August 29th, 2008.

I have several posts and reviews on the way for Uptown Uncorked this weekend as well, and also will be at NH Media Makers on Sunday if you want to talk about social media with me in person (sorry to have to miss TechSet, Boston. I need two of me sometimes, I swear.)

Also, in the spirit of housekeeping, I don’t mind getting pitched by PR people, it’s your job after all (we’ve been getting a lot of pitches this week), just please make sure it is social media relevant. Hey, I can dream, right? The email for PR pitches and other press contacts is here.