A brief summary of a fantastic week at SXSWi

I just finished writing this summary for work, and it took me HOURS, so I thought I’d share it here as well. Crossposted from http://www.hastac.org/blogs/ruby-sinreich/sxsw-interactive-30000-feet

I just returned/recovered from attending my second South by Southwest Interactive, and I must say SXSW has really solidified its place in my heart as one of the very best tech conferences one can attend these days.  The content is broader and and more innovative than I get at my typical nonprofit tech gatherings, but still has a place for discussing the social uses and implications of always-evolving online communication.  Most of the panels and speaker were top-notch, bringing not only informed ideas, but clever and engaging presentations.  Each session came with it’s own official Twitter hashtag, which functioned as both a backchannel and a Q&A tool (for the more wired facilitators).

There is always too much to do at SXSW, and this year was no exception for me. Even though I eschewed the famous parties, I still found myself exhausted after four-and-a-half days of learning, meeting, thinking, and talking with a wide variety of people from around the world.  The best way to learn from HASTAC’s participation at SXSW was to watch our Twitter stream (especially since Twitter’s archive is shockingly meager), but I will do my best to encapsulate some of my favorite sessions here.

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Visual problem-solving: 5 diagrams

5diagramsAs you probably figured out if you follow me on Twitter, I had the pleasure of attending South by Southwest Interactive this year. (Only my second time, and the first since my first SXSWi in 2006.) I went to over 15 different panels and talks, and most were excellent. I did a lot of live-tweeting of the good ideas from them as @HASTAC (a shared work alter ego).

Only one session inspired me to actually take notes and it was the shortest one I attended. Visual Problem Solving: 5 Diagrams in 15 Minutes was led by Dean Myers who quickly demonstrated the use of 5 techniques for visualizing thought processes. I consider myself a mostly-visual thinker, but I’m also pretty linear/logical in my thought (and I can’t draw at all) so I’m a big fan of diagrams. I was familiar with most of these examples, but I really appreciated how they were presented as a toolbox, with the different advantages and features of each.

READ ON to learn about the five diagrams…

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Help pick SXSWi 2007 panels

South by Southwest is inviting folks to help them select the panels for their 2007 Interactive conference. I put in two proposals: “If All Politics is Local, Why Are you Still Reading DailyKOS?” and “Advocacy 2.0: Movement-building in the Age of Connectivity” (featuring Marty Kearns). Both are listed in the politics/social activism category. There are …

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