As this year’s SXSW Interactive conference approaches, tens of thousands of people from across the world are getting ready to descend on Austin, Texas to discuss emerging technologies, to network, and, of course, to eat barbeque.
I’ll be attending as a VolunteerMatch representative, along with Robert Rosenthal, our VP of Communications & Marketing. We’re looking forward to a whirlwind week of sessions, parties, and meeting lots of new people.
If you’ve been to SXSW before, or if you’re preparing to go this year, you know how overwhelming it can be. With thousands of sessions available for those with an Interactive badge, how do you choose what you’ll do with your precious time?
Robert and I have pulled out a few of the sessions we think are most exciting for cause-focused folks to help you narrow down your choices:
- Social Change, Social Media & Social Filmmaking
What: Bringing together top filmmakers, change agents & digital communicators, this panel will share practical tips, tools & tactics for activists, non-profit pros, volunteers & creatives to affect social change through documentary-style online video.
- Shift & Reset: Solving Complex Problems
Join Shift & Reset author, Brian Reich, for this live podcast kicking off the discussion about the big themes of the 2012 SXSW Interactive Festival. Brian will talk with some of SXSW’s hottest speakers about the best opportunities and insights that emerged from this year’s festival and the challenges that will define the year ahead.
- Tech Superwomen: Mentors and Mentees, FTW
An amazing panel of tech stars will explore the role mentorship plays in building a stronger and more inclusive community, while expanding opportunities for women to ascend to leadership roles.
- New Media and CSR: Communicating Corporate Good
Some innovative companies have learned to use interactive media to make their CSR communications come alive: Two-way communications, transparent supply chain tools, c-suite twittering, online video and social media. Understanding the power of these technologies in a corporate setting leads not only to better communication, but a more powerful, authentic brand to prosper behind.
- 21st Century Giving: Social Philanthropy’s Rise
Leaders from top social networking sites share case studies to discuss the trend of social philanthropy.
- Build. Community Is Easy, Saving the World Is Hard
This panel will uncover the organizational strategies of community building, maintaining engagement over time, and uniting a group of people who may have never met face-to-face.
- Can Growing a Moustache Change the World?
Learn how Movember captivated the attention of a demographic infamous for not discussing their health, converted them into evangelists by turning the brand over to them, and sent them off to build the campaign. If you want to turn customers into ambassadors, this is THE panel to attend.
- Data Visualization for Social Change
The power of data visualization as a tool for social change can no longer be ignored. This session aims to bring together visualization experts with advocates working for social good to discuss effective ways to visually present data in clear and meaningful ways.
- Can Gaming Make with World Better?
Armed with the philosophy that it is only by inspiring a massive shift in consumer behavior that we can make a measurable impact on the world, this panel will discuss if gaming for good can actually drive large-scale change and examine how we can measure that impact.
- Women in Tech Meet Up
This meet up, hosted by emerging global media company Women 2.0, is to promote the creation of new networks among aspiring entrepreneurs, current entrepreneurs and investors.
- Don’t Just Sell Things: Change the World
Hosted by Matthew Bishop from The Economist, the session will bring together an impressive group of business leaders to explore the intersection of ethics and economics and look at why driving for social good has become the guiding principle for the world’s leading innovators.
- Positively Inspired Change Campaigns
Social change agents often use guilt, fear, pity, or outrage to rally an audience around a cause. But does tapping into negative emotions with the hope of creating positive change make sense? Could focusing our common attention and intention on positive emotions more effectively transform our world?
Photo by Calsidyrose.