Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Communication

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Monday 14th March 2011

  • Comedic Communication: Designing for Pleasure and Play

    by Adam Frucci, Baratunde Thurston, Chelsey Delaney and Lisa Cohen

    Reaching disengaged communities usually doesn’t include building an app or a Web site but creating a more tangible experience—And, inspiring those who are long lost to apathy to even consider taking part in this experience is the first and most difficult step. Designers often end up using stereotypical and common forms of serious, logical argument in communicating pertinent issues.

    But many designers have failed to acknowledge a common tool as one of the most powerful rhetorical strategies for use in their work: humor. The majority of publications within the field of humor research have surfaced in the past decade. Design is the one field that has been barely explored as a humorous rhetorical genre. Neglecting humor’s potential eliminates the chance of mastering a method of communication that has an unlimited usage scope because of its cultural role and human value.

    There exists a need for humor to become better understood in communication design both in use and in evaluation. Humor in design, through this panel, can be explored to establish a way of communicating serious issues in a non-intimidating fashion. Discussions would provide advocacy organizations or individuals with new and more effective methods for deeper poignant messaging. The hope in furthering awareness of humor research in design is to significantly add to the area of design for social change using strong emotional approaches. As Mark Twain said, “The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow.”

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage sketch note

  • Your Web Developer Thinks You're an Idiot

    by Babette Pepaj

    "What we have here is a failure to communicate." This famous line (spoken to Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke) aptly describes the relationship that can develop between a Web site publisher and the site's developer. We'll examine real-world examples (some hilarious, others downright frightening) and discuss strategies to help non-techie entrepreneurs communicate effectively with their tech/development team.

    This panel will help your bootstrapped startup avoid being taken for a ride.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Monday 14th March

    In Rio Grande A, Marriott Courtyard Austin Downtown/Convention Center

  • Communication and Innovation: Does Culture Still Matter?

    by Max Niederhofer

    An in-depth exploration from panellists on how innovation and communication differs from country to country. Panellists will discuss and provide insight into the barriers currently affecting innovation and communication in countries across the world and how we can learn from one another as we continue to move forward and evolve in these capacities at the global level.
    The panel will also discuss how the rise of the internet and related technologies have facilitated the ease of bridging any barriers affecting multicultural innovation and communication and how they have ultimately created a new set of rules for doing business.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Monday 14th March

    In Rio Grande B, Marriott Courtyard Austin Downtown/Convention Center

Tuesday 15th March 2011

  • Persona-fication or: Falling in Love with a Bot

    by Kyle Bunch

    By the time SXSW ‘11 kicks off, there will be well over 500 million “people” on Facebook and well over 250 million on Twitter.

    We used to ask how many of the users on sites like MySpace had a real person on the other end. Today, as increasing sophisticated bots and artificial intelligence intersect with the simplified relationships that fill our social media spaces, we have passed the point where that really matters. The collective cry of the bots grows ever louder: "If you poke us, do we not tweet?"

    Social touchpoints like toll-free numbers have long been manned by automated systems designed to put a barrier between the customer and the people behind the scenes. Is it any surprise that the same tactics are being used when it comes to social media?

    This isn't just companies. The virtual world has always offered an opportunity to become someone else, from the earliest BBS and chat room environments to MMORPGs and now social networks. Even if you're not talking to a company-created bot, there's a good chance you're talking to someone pretending to be someone vastly different than their real world doppleganger.

    When we establish relationships with people we've never met IRL, where does someone become real? And for someone looking for interactivity, how much does ‘real’ matter? If a relationship is little more than passing timely and relevant links and media back and forth, is finding out that you're sharing a friendship with a bot really such a bad thing?

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 15th March

    In TX Ballroom 2-4, Hyatt Regency Austin

    Coverage slide deck