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  • Rebooting Iceland: Crowdsourcing Innovation in Uncertain Times

    by Derek Lackaff, Gunnar Holmsteinn, Dilja Amundadottir, Heida Helgadottir and Guojon Mar Guojonsson

    In the US, social media innovators are changing the way people work and play. In Iceland, these innovators may offer the best hope of rescuing an entire nation.

    Iceland emerged in the 1990s as a financial powerhouse after a thousand years on the sidelines of global history. Icelanders became one of the world’s wealthiest and happiest nations. In 2008, three of its banks collapsed, sending the national economy into a tailspin and shattering the people’s trust in government and industry. The government was quickly replaced by one promising transparency and reforms, while a protest party headed by a comedian took control of the Reykjavik city council.

    This new cast of politicians is not alone in their efforts to move Iceland out from under the economic cloud. Members of the country's tech and entrepreneurial sector, which saw explosive growth in the lead-up to the collapse, have emerged as leaders in grassroots efforts to set Iceland on a sustainable path. Last year a loosely-organized group calling themselves the Anthill convened a “national assembly” of 1,500 citizens. The day-long event, based on Agile methods and crowdsourcing theory, resulted in a coherent set of values, vision and ideas.

    Now the government is planning a similar meeting in preparation for rewriting the constitution. Inspired by open-source processes and leaning heavily on social media technologies, these citizens are rapidly prototyping new forms of democracy utilizing the web and open innovation.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 2:00pm to 3:00pm, Friday 11th March

    In Room 9ABC, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage video

  • The Steroid Culture of Social Media: You Use?

    by Tim Walker

    Ever think about taking shortcuts to boost your numbers? You know, the numb that show the success of all those interactive social media marketing programs. The numbers that decide your end of year bonus. The numbers that make you "important" to all those other social media influencers. I know you have. You know you have. But did you use those performance enhancing social media techniques?

    Humans are naturally drawn to shortcuts. Even when they are already successful. Take Barry Bonds. Not the Barry Bonds you remember with the bulging muscles in San Francisco. The younger, leaner version. The one who was with the Pirates and on his way to the Hall of Fame. Each day he worked hard on the fundamentals of the game. Then, boom, he was on steroids, a caricature of himself and a tarnished legacy. Why? The numbers competition.

    We all know the equivalent of a Barry Bonds in social media. Someone who is enhancing their performance the wrong way. Maybe it started with a simple list buy of Twitter followers. But then suddenly they were researching blackhat SEO techniques for a temporary boost in traffic. Then one day they wake up in a cold sweat after an all night Astroturfing session.

    It's time to get help!

    Join us for a frank discussion on how the steroid culture has infected the social media realm. We will discuss the signs of a social media steroid user, how it hurts us all and a 12-step program to rehab those that have already fallen down the hole.

    LEVEL: Intermediate

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 11th March

    In Room 6AB, Austin Convention Center

  • Why Everything is Amazing But Nobody is Happy

    by Zachary Burt and Daniel Hope

    According to Louis CK: "Everything is amazing and nobody is happy". Are we humans overwhelmed by witnessing Moore’s Law in action? Has Social Media and it’s accessories left us technologically rich but spiritually bankrupt? This panel will explore the effects Social Media is having on us as humans and spiritual creatures in three areas:
    -Our Evolution: Humans have spent millions of years hunting and gathering but just the past few pointing, clicking and tweeting. What effect is Social Media having on our development as human beings? Is it ushering us into the next stage of human evolution or is it just making monkeys out of us?

    -Our Relationships: Facebook is being cited by divorce lawyers as the next big catalyst for marriage break-ups, but it can also connect us with amazing people we never would have met otherwise. And what about our relationships with ourselves when we can’t even sit quietly alone because we have an iPhone? How can we use these tools to become actual friends and not just Facebook friends?

    -Our Spirituality: Social Media can connect us with some truly transcendent moments (Paul Potts singing opera) and these moments can make the human spirit soar. But, in the long run, is it just dumbing us down with instant gratification and vibrating Twitter notifications?

    This panel will explore how we can use our embarrassment of technological riches to become better and more content people.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 3:30pm to 4:30pm, Friday 11th March

    In Room 5ABC, Austin Convention Center