With over 3,000 SXSWi panel submissions this year, picking panels that are interesting and worthwhile can be totally overwhelming. We have helped you out by doing our research and offering suggestions to you. We chose the following set of panels for you to consider based on both the panel topic and the presenters. We hope you’ll hop on the PanelPicker site and give a thumbs up to all of these great sessions. Voting closes September 2, so make your choices heard!
We would be remiss if we didn’t suggest the panels Farland Group put together, so we’ll start with those. Then you will find an additional set of panels that we are looking forward to attending which also promise to be great additions to the SXSWi program.
1. Panels Farland Group submitted for SXSWi this year
While I have been to SXSWi for the past four years, last year, I was on a panel at South by Southwest Interactive for the first time and I had the fortunate opportunity to present with several people I respect in the industry. I learned a lot more from being a panelist than I did from attending any other panel. I did plenty of research on the subject of lurkers in a community and learned from my fellow panelists, as well as from the audience. We had a great discussion and the questions they asked allowed me to further my understanding of how people perceive community members.
Based on this great experience, this year, I submitted a panel and I encouraged my colleagues at Farland Group to submit one as well. Beyond the education we’ll gain from presenting, we are also very excited to have the opportunity to share some of the experiences we have had in community building with an exceptional group of peers, clients and companies.
The community revolving door: staying a step ahead
Some say getting started is the hardest part – and it can be, but often this is a phase of excitement organizationally and a time where everyone is focused on the shiny new toy. Year two, those internal stakeholders are on to the next new thing, your customers are back to their regular day jobs and you are stuck having to push that community rock up the steep hill of engagement. Welcome to the biggest challenge presented by community. From continuing to seek out new members, to finding the next evangelist, membership evolution can be an unexpected challenge, but so is content evolution and most importantly, strategy evolution. The first year or two of your community takes lots of seeding and seeking out content, and fine-tuning core areas of value. While you can’t forget those important elements, your next couple of years will be more about member nurturing and making fine adjustments to the focus of your community based on member interests, engagement, and shifting expectations of value.
Panelists: Heather Strout – Farland Group, Jim Storer – The Community Roundtable, Mike Pascucci – Ektron, Mark Wallace – Environmental Data Resources, Inc. (EDR)
Customer Communities: Connecting to the Future
Companies of all types are beginning to embrace community as a critical channel to integrate the voice of their customer into the business and deepen relationships, co-create new ideas for product or service development and evolution, and collaborate on strategies for business growth. While business communities are still an evolving concept, those that successfully secure deep customer relationships have great potential to disrupt how companies go to market. So what is next for communities in business? Will they become a necessary component for customer-centric competitive advantage? Will they be a commodity? What best practices will emerge as this value-based collaborative approach to the market becomes prevalent? How will communities be used and what does that mean for marketers looking to the future of marketing innovation? We will look at the future of closed versus open communities; insular versus distributed communities; at the evolution of co-creation and crowd-sourcing, and how you can prepare for the evolution.
Panelists: Roanne Neuwirth – Farland Group, Rachel Happe – The Community Roundtable, Daniel Brostek – Aetna, Matt Johnston – uTest
Community Scorecards – Metrics that Matter
You’ve finally launched an online customer community, you have the buy-in of key decision makers and your customers have arrived. Congratulations – now how are you measuring impact? This is a familiar scenario for many community managers and executives who are trying to understand the value of community and how it will have direct impact on their business that is measurable. This session will provide practical lessons and cases on how community managers and leaders are establishing successful scorecards that communicate the value of community to critical stakeholders.
Presenter: Jane Hiscock – Farland Group
Community Management at a Crossroads*
Community management is not a new discipline, but as traditional organizations work to evolve into social businesses, community managers are finding themselves in the spotlight. No longer relegated to back rooms, scanning message boards, community managers are finding their way into the boardroom to help executives understand this dynamic new reality. But community managers can’t claim victory just yet. The same changes that brought them from the back room to the boardroom could send them right back again. Services such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the next great social app (insert name here____________) require community managers to constantly evolve the way they think about their organization in the social space. This panel will discuss how community management continues to evolve and how community managers can stay on top of it all.
Panelists: Jim Storer – The Community Roundtable, Heather Strout – Farland Group, Mike Pascucci – Ektron, Mark Wallace – EDR
*Farland Group didn’t submit this panel but I am a panelist
2. Other panels you should consider giving a thumbs-up
As I said in the beginning, there are lots of great panels out there. We have chosen these for content that is interesting and for the panelists who are compelling. Because SXSW’s panels are crowdsourced, it is up to us to pick panels where we know the panelists will work hard and do their homework to bring us a good presentation. In many cases, I have heard these people speak and I know they’re good. There are a few panels here where I haven’t heard the people speak but I know they have something valuable to say.
Community Management is the New Black
Community managers wear a plethora of hats these days, from community ambassador to storyteller and back again. There is no one job responsibility or hat. Each organization has to find the right mix and balance of hats a community manager must wear, but don’t be mistaken, a single hat does not define the species. Similar to a chameleon, a community manager does not change colors or hats to blend in, but as an act of communication. The position title, community manager, is relatively new, but the role is not new and is evolutionary of the public relations practitioner, customer service representative, and marketing consultant. It is the networks and subsequent transparency of those networks that have changed and will continue to change. Social networks, both online and off, will come and go, yet the conversations making up the content of these networks will remain the same. It is the responsibility, not just the role, of the community manager to participate in the communities of conversations and focus on the people behind the engagement, not the technology. Community management is not the ‘management’ of a community response, but the awareness and educated engagement of the community manager and organization represented. To succeed, community management begins as a mindset, the seed of strategic change and open communication within the business culture, then progresses into unique processes for smart community participation.
Presenter: Lauren Vargas – Aetna
The next Generation of Ideation
Remember when “ideas” sites were all the rage? IdeaStorm, My Starbucks Idea? Media attention to these communities declined, but the communities’ themselves evolved, and the second wave of customer-led innovation is fast-approaching. The panel will explore the first generation of ideation sites, and talk about how they are evolving their ideation communities to take full advantage of the social web, create more meaningful and impactful dialog amongst stakeholders and ensure that ideation is a key activity in their community engagement model. The panel will be punctuated by real-time online ideation activities with attendees. Panelists include social media executives that drove strategy for IdeaStorm, My Starbucks Idea, as well as a key industry analyst.
Presenters: Bill Johnston – Dell, Vida Killan – Starbucks
Community by Accident
Sometimes the best things that happen aren’t planned. The same is true for successful online communities. Facebook started out as a closed network of Ivy League students. Today, it’s a global phenomenon shaping our age. The Spiceworks community was a software engineer’s pet idea that was almost nixed by the CEO. Now it’s the world’s largest community of small business tech professionals. While it’s important to actively care for your community, the most successful flourish by learning how to capitalize on happy accidents. In this session, community experts from Spiceworks will share ways you can recognize and make the most of happy accidents. From picking an orange dinosaur as a mascot to using chili peppers as a rating scale, come learn about all the accidents we’ve had along the way and how we’ve made lemons into lemon hand grenades.
Presenters: Nicholas Tolstoshev – Spiceworks, Tabrez Syed – Spiceworks
Community & Influence: How to not piss people off
Marketing is social. We’re all sold. But how do you maximize your return in social without appearing like a douchebag? One the one hand, top influencers in the social space are the ones who can truly drive action back to your brand. Yet, on the other hand no one likes a brand who refuses to interact with the little person. As social marketing becomes more serious, more serious metrics are being demanded — learn what works and what doesn’t. And what about service — should influence affect whom you help first?
Panelists: Megan Berry – Klout, Evan Hamilton – User Voice, Maria Ogneva – Yammer, Frank Eliason – Citibank
Get Lucky: Create Serendipity to Spur Innovation
Call it chance, luck, or juju, serendipity is the act of unexpectedly finding something of value. It is the muse of innovation and a silent driver of business; consider how Alexander Fleming’s accidental discovery of the antibiotic penicillin revolutionized medicine, reducing suffering across the entire world. From the world changing to the mundane task of finding relevant information on Google+ or Twitter, serendipity is the mysterious force that gives us the breaks that many of us seek. But what is serendipity? How do you encourage it? Is there a downside to it? How does it apply to work, art or play? Can you design for serendipity? We say you can and should. Whether you’re building the next super social network, doing scientific research, or building a community, there are steps you can take and skills you can develop to help you recognize and act on it. It is more than just naturally being fortuitous; rather, it takes practice to get lucky.
Presenters: Rawn Shah – IBM, Rachel Happe – The Community Roundtable
Down in Front! How to Control Bad Fans
The customer ISN’T always right. You want to love your fans (customers, commenters, activists) but sometimes they don’t deserve it. The bad fans who tore up Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup deserved jail time, not a Kumbaya approach. The same is true for the social-media-enabled communities we count on to buy our products and promote our causes. An analogy: Major League Baseball games are a lot more fun to these days because ballclubs started cracking down on fights and drunkenness in the stands in the 1980s. Have no pity for the jerks who got tossed: the rest of us are better off for it. Just as organizations should “think before they click,” users of social media have a responsibility to respect the very organizations that they demand respect from. This panel will follow the fast-paced, ultra-interactive style of 2011’s “The Steroid Culture of Social Media” to call for new thinking about the implied social contract of social media, for organizations and fans alike.
Panelists: Tim Walker – BreakingPoint Systems, Aaron Strout – WCG, Troy Nalls – Third Cousins Media, Kate Brodock – Other Side Group
Aristotle Shops @Wal-Mart | CSR, Ethics & Community
Aristotle is known for his establishment of what we consider “value ethics” and five years ago Aristotle would NOT have stepped foot into a Wal-Mart. At the time the company was under fire from environmental and labor groups. In fact, a 2004 report found that between 2 and 8% of Wal-Mart’s customers had stopped going to their local Supercenter because of the negative press they had heard about the chain. Today, Aristotle would be a Wal-Mart greeter, or perhaps manage its online community. What happened? The company changed their vision when CEO H. Lee Scott Jr. launched a massive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) campaign to, in his words, “…create a better story”. CSR can take many shapes, from environmental to socioeconomic, and it often can grow revenue and profits. CSR has also become a main marketing vehicle for establishing communities, online and offline, centered around the company. Though not every company has the size, reach and resources of a Wal-Mart, all companies need to consider how CSR can help build and strengthen online and offline communities. This session will dive into how to build CSR programs and use them to help build online and offline communities.
Presenters: Kyle Flaherty – BreakingPoint Systems, Alex Hahn – Vox Global
Future of Location Marketing: Dummies Perspective
Three years after the launch of foursquare (at SXSW no less), the business world is starting to warm up to the idea of building loyalty, discovery and deals through location-based services. While many companies know that there is some “there” there, they have no idea how to leverage the concept of location-based services. During this informative session with the authors of Location Based Marketing for Dummies [http://amzn.to/lbm4d], Aaron Strout and Mike Schneider will walk through the 5 golden rules of location-based marketing, the key players along with several business case studies (big and small).
Presenters: Aaron Strout – WCG, Mike Schneider – Allen + Gerritsen
Can growing a moustache change the world?
Movember is a global movement committed to raising awareness and funds for critical men’s health issues. Over the last seven years, Movember has grown from a handful of friends in Australia to the largest non-government funder of prostate cancer research in the world, with over $174 USD million in funds. This has been accomplished in part by creating and nurturing a passionate online community of brand ambassadors. Join Adam Garone, CEO/co-founder of Movember, as he discusses how Movember leveraged the support of a few daring partners and pockets of loyal fans to generate a global movement that saw 450,000 moustache growers in 2010. 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. Discover how inspiring supporters to become ambassadors helped Movember stay lean as it expanded globally. If you work with a non-profit, this is THE panel to attend. If you want to turn customers into ambassadors, this is THE panel to attend. Just grow it – get inspired and change the world.
Presenter: Adam Garone – Movember
Elastic Waist Entrepreneurship for Women 40+
Some of us running a startup-type business online also have families, mortgages, minivans, hot flashes….and years of work experience and savvy. Although we do order a lot of pizza like those young’uns, we don’t ever sleep under our office desks (hey, that’s hard on our back.) Did you know that 80% of the total entrepreneurship activity during the teeth of the Great Recession (2009) was from people over 35? TourismCurrents.com co-founder Sheila Scarborough and serial online entrepreneur Wendy Piersall (the Woo! Jr. network and author of “Mom Blogging for Dummies”) will talk about strategies and lessons learned for 40-ish women and older who are interested in taking advantage of tech and social media to launch online businesses that bring their passions, knowledge and life experiences to the web. We may need reading glasses for our smartphones, but we can still kick butt. Step aside, young pups….Mama’s starting a business on teh interwebz!
Presenters: Sheila Scarborough – Tourism Currents, Wendy Piersall – Woo! Jr.
Can You Tweet That? Social Media and the Law
A resident tweets about a moldy apartment; the apartment company sues her for libel. An employee is fired because of a photo on Facebook. A monkey takes a self portrait on a digital camera accidently left in the forest by a photographer. Who owns the copyright – the monkey or the photographer? A month after the court verdict, there are more than 40 Facebook pages entitled F*ck Casey Anthony. In today’s digital age, technology is advancing faster than the law. Do old-school laws apply to new-school technology? Don’t we have 1st Amendment rights online or should we be scared about what we post? In this thought-provoking session, we’ll look at legal issues, such as defamation, copyright, the 1st Amendment and hate speech, and how these issues apply to social media. We’ll discuss the definitions of these issues and examine recent court cases around social media and let the audience decide if these cases have merit.
Presenter: Dara Quackenbush – Texas State University
Marketing vs. IT: How to End the Bloodshed
IT is frustrated by Marketing’s constant changing direction. Marketing wants to fire IT because it’s too slow and limiting. What’s going on here? The rapid growth in digital channels are increasingly the intersection between technology and marketing departments. This increased interaction frequently causes friction as Marketing becomes more focused on digital channels and IT seeks to gain relevance through alignment with business partners. The two departments usually have very different perspectives on priorities, decision making and cost management. Further, they are subjected to different internal pressures that drive them to view the world differently. In this session we’ll review the situation in more detail offering insights in how Marketing & IT can co-exist in better harmony.
Presenters: John Refford – Natixis Global Associates, Rob Brosnan – Forrester Research
Other SXSWi panel lists for your consideration
I hope you found the list of panels valuable and that we have made it easier for you to find interesting and useful panels for you to vote on. We are not the only ones to put together panel lists. In fact, I used these lists to help me choose which panels to vote for.
2012 SXSW Interactive panels worth your vote
By Bryan Person
Bring on the Content at SXSW 2012!
By Aaron Strout
SXSW PanelPicker 2012: What Boston Companies Are Doing
By Kaitlin Maud
I’m looking forward to seeing you all in Austin next March! Did I miss a great panel? Let me (and readers) know in the comments.