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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I am a great panelist

Why do I mention it? Well neither of my brilliant proposals for sessions at South by Southwest Interactive 2007 were accepted, but I really, really want to go. It’s a lot easier to ask my organization to foot the travel bill if I can get a free registration and a little good publicity for our …

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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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Honor roll

For the first time in 15 years – if not ever – I made the honor roll! South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) has published a list of the best sessions from 2006, according to the participants. The panel I was on, “Election 2008: Revenge of the Blogs” scored a 4.32 out of 5.

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Mark Warner wants blogger love

One of the several SXSW “parties” that I attended on Sunday was hosted by folks working for former Virginia Governor Mark Warner. He’s been making presidential noises, and he has a John-Edwards-like ability to talk about his Christian family values, etc, etc. Personally, I don’t have any reason to favor him over Edwards in ’08, …

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Revenge of the panelists

Today’s SXSW panel “Revenge of the Blogs” – organized by Henry Copeland and featuring me, Markos Moulitsas, and Mike Krempasky – turned out very well. We struck a good balance between talking about the influence of local and national blogs, and some people even began to draw a connection between the two. Judging by the …

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Kos is coming

I have seen various descriptions of the panel I will be on this afternoon at South by Southwest. They all list me and Mike Krempasky (RedState .org), as well as our facilitator Henry Copeland from BlogAds.com. But only a few of them listed Markos Moulitsas of dailyKOS.com which has been the movement central of countless …

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