Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Social Change

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Friday 11th March 2011

  • Help! A Giant Meteor Is Headed Our Way!

    by Brian Reich

    There is a giant meteor headed our way... and we need to knock it off course or life as we know it will cease to exist.

    If that news turned out to be true, you would do everything you could to save the world, right? Well, an equivalent disaster is unfolding before our eyes. Everything about our society is changing - rapidly and constantly. How we communicate, get and share information, and engage each other - online and offline - is different than it was just a few short years ago. Information moves faster, people are more closely connected, and the level of interest and commitment that people have when it comes to the organizations they engage, the transactions they make, the issues they care about and the causes they support has never been greater. Our society has changed and how organizations operate and communicate, the products we sell and services we offer, what causes we support, how we address serious issues - and find solutions to the biggest challenges we face as a global community -- needs to change as well.

    If we don't change - everything - we are doomed. This session will outline the changes... in thinking, organization, education, engagement, government, media, and everything else... that need to be made.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Brazos 2/3, Marriott Courtyard Austin Downtown/Convention Center

Monday 14th March 2011

  • #Hashtag Takeovers and Successes in Innovative Virtual Activism

    by Andrew Blair, Sean Bonner, Chris Eaton and Royale Ziegler

    The goal of this panel is to uncover new and exciting ways to use social media as a means for social change. This session will go beyond the basics—sending targeted action alerts and creating online petitions—and discover fresh and innovative virtual campaigning techniques for real results.

    When NASA public affairs specialist Stephanie Schierholz was speaking on a customer service panel at TWTRCON, PETA asked monkey-loving supporters to hijack the #TWTRCON hashtag with messages of about NASA's plan to fund cruel experiments in which dozens of squirrel monkeys would be blasted with harmful space radiation. Tweets about NASA's radiation experiments began appearing on the conference’s large projectors meant to display tweets about the event.

    In another example of a non-profit getting the upper-hand online, Greenpeace created a parody YouTube video, calling into question Nestlé’s methods for acquiring palm oil, which spread rapidly through online community channels and eventually caused Nestlé to meet their demands within just a few weeks of the campaign's start. Mainstream media covered the video and Nestles failure to manage dissent on their Facebook page.

    Using inventive tactics to leverage social media for good means creating the possibility for millions of passionate people to band together and create tangible change, wherever, whenever, whoever they are.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

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

    In TX Ballroom 2-4, Hyatt Regency Austin