Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2011 about Activism in Hyatt Regency Austin

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Sunday 13th March 2011

  • The User Generated Revolution, Social Media Overcoming Censorship

    by Julian Siddle

    In 2009 the Iranian government expelled most foreign media organisations and jammed international broadcasts. For the BBC's Persian TV emails, video, Twitter and facebook postings from Iran became the main source of news. Groundbreaking stories were complied using material from viewers and listeners - often sent in with great personal risk to themselves.

    The current protests in Egypt, seem to have begun on Facebook. In the Xingjian province of China government censors were defeated by a tweet - news of a popular uprising amongst the regions Uighurs in this remote province leaked out to the world's media. A military clampdown ensued, but not before foreign media got to the region and heard the Uighurs grievances. Conversely the oppressors use the same social media tools, partly to spread disinformation about their activities, but also in the cases of groups such as the Taliban, to push their beliefs.

    The panel will discuss how censorship and suppression is made more and more difficult to hide by the social media revolution, and the impact of this for traditional media organisations.

    Julian Siddle the inventor of the BBC's technology programme Digital Planet leads the panel with journalists from the BBC Chinese and Persian services who were actively involved in these stories. Examples of UGC - user generated content; videos produced by the public in places with repressive regimes, will be shown during the panel.

    LEVEL: Beginner

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Sunday 13th March

    In Hill Country AB, Hyatt Regency Austin

    Coverage sketch note

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