It’s less than 24 hours until the masses start filling the Austin Convention Center for one of the biggest and best Interactive conferences of the year: South By Southwest.
My favorite part of SXSW in recent years is the flood of nonprofit and socially conscious topics, speakers and movements that are becoming more prevalent on the line-up. And for anyone attending the event and looking for some insight into how to get in on the philanthropic and social advocacy action, here are some of my recommendations on sessions, events and activities that have gold stars next to them on my personal event agenda. (For news and happenings from the live event, feel free to follow me at @jordanv on Twitter)
1. SXSW Web Awards: Last year was the first year SXSW introduced the Advocacy award and this year there are some amazing nominees up to be recognized for their creative and effective use of interactive for social good.
2. The Nonprofit Technology Bash will be the best place to mingle and meet with folks from all across the nonprofit technology sector, as well as kick back and have some fun on the last night of the Interactive conference. And for all you people using Four Square, it’s also one of the official Check-in for Charity locations (hint: new badge anyone?)
3. The Beacon: Lounge with a Conscience! Beaconfire will be hosting the “Lounge with a Conscience” throughout the Interactive festival. The lounge will be the place to meet the best and brightest socially-conscious Geekeratti at SXSW and catch some unplugged local music.
4. The HardlyNormal Cup of Coffee, Social Media for Social Good series. For three mornings (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) in the BeaconFire Lounge, respective leaders and experts in the field of using social media for social good will be speaking and recording an online tv series. Chris Brogan, Beth Kanter, Jeff Pulver, Kari Saratovsky and LifeChurch.tv will all be featured and sharing their standards of “now communication” with Mark Horvath who is leading the discussions.
5. Games for Good panel Monday, March 15 at 12:30 PM– “You made an amazing, educational, and progressive game using the latest in gaming technology- now how do you get people to actually play it? Hear from the nonprofits that have made it happen.”
6.Technology For Results Not Profits panel Saturday, March 13 11:00 AM– “When technology is leveraged around passion and purpose for the sake of results not profits, powerful things can happen. While most non-profits are not known for technology, some are, and they are defying the traditional business models that drive technology.”
7. Crowd Sourcing Innovative Social Change panel Sunday, March 14 at 03:30 PM – “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. We’ll share big ideas for using social media for nonprofit program delivery and some good tips for crowdsourcing for social change.”
8. Digital Marketing for Non-Profits panel Saturday, March 13 at 03:30 PM– “How to work with limited marketing budgets and a failing economy to build an online brand, raise awareness of a cause and fundraise effectively. We’ll also talk about how you can get sizeable online grants and free/discounted help from key professionals.”
9. Change the World, Lives, with Bikes core conversation Tuesday, March 16 at 11:00 AM– “This core conversation will talk about how cycling, the bike, and social media are changing the world and lives. You’ll learn about Livestrong’s community and Bike Hugger’s blog, events like the Mobile Social, and the millions who follow Lance Armstrong on Twitter. It’s a discussion of bike and pop culture and socializing the good with these Interweb tools”
10. Uprising Tide panel Saturday, March 13 at 03:30 PM – “Inciting Online Communities into Offline Movements – Ready to put your tech community on the map? Some unlikely instigators from New Orleans did just that with little more than passion, a bus, T-shirts, and some duct tape. Let them show you how to create an organic net-roots movement that upends traditional power structures
and galvanizes your community.”
11. Yes Mr. Lessig we can Change Politics panel Sunday, March 14 11:20 AM– “Last year at SXSWi, Larry Lessig introduced Change Congress, a movement to clean up corruption in Congress. But that’s only the beginning. All elected offices (local, state, and yes even Congress) need more techies, scientists, and engineers. Now! Why techies should run for office — and how they can win.”
12. I Don’t Trust you One Stinking Bit panel Saturday March 13 12:30 PM– “What gives people confidence on the web? Bringing together experts in social capital and online trust, we help you build the company your users can love and call their own.”
13. In code We Trust: Open Government Awesomeness panel Friday March 12 2:00 PM– “In Code We Trust” is the new motto for Government in the 21st century. Across the country, geeks inside and outside of government are developing a new model for a participatory and transparent Federal, State and Municipal governments. Built upon open-source tools, open standards, and best practices, this panel will highlight practical examples of initiatives from private, public and government sectors.”
14.Don’t Stop Believin: Singing our Way to Changing the World Monday, March 15 at 05:00 PM – “Karaoke came on like a ninja…stealthily entering North American pubs and Koreatowns. But it wasn’t here to enterain, no. Karaoke came to unite us in song. In fact, Karaoke is a core part of our reMix culture and this panel will show you how. This stellar group of speakers (some of whom wrote books on the subject) will uncover the real impetus behind the karaoke revolution.”
15. The Future of Influence Saturday, March 13 at 11:00 AM– “The ability to share online has allowed consumers to control and filter the web. For brands and publishers, tapping into Influence is critical to social media’s future. What is influence and how is it measured? Leading voices in social media from multiple backgrounds will define the value of influence, discuss best practices, and predict future impact. Data will be shared! This panel is sponsored by ShareThis.”
16. Why Gen Y Wants to Wrok “With” You , Not “For” You Monday, March 15 at 03:30 PM– “Put aside the negative stereotypes of entitled, rebellious 20-somethings and take a minute to dig deeper and see what makes us tick. At almost 80 million strong, the Gen Y workforce is shaping the cubicle nation and the way brands are forced to engage consumers. It’s more than a desire to wear t-shirts and jeans to work; it’s a new mindset. As we digital natives migrate into a workplace full of Boomers and Gen Xers, worlds collide. Truly learn the concept of ”with” vs. ”for” straight from the minds of 5 diverse and successful Gen Yers!”
Of course there are a TON more sessions, events and yes, parties I’m looking forward to but these are all the to-dos on the top of my list so far. Looking forward to seeing all you other do-gooders and techies out and about it the coming days. I’ll be posting from the event, and if you see me around the convention center stop by and tell say hi!
**Addition: As my buddy Chad Norman at Blackbaud reminded me, I neglected to include “Debunking the Myth of Social Media Fundraising” on the list above. And while the panel has come and gone, it was a great session filled with some wonderful material…blog post coming soon on the takeaways! And great job Stacey Monk, Brooke McMillan, Frank Barry, Donna Wilkins and Jodie Kolkowski!