Recharge your batteries and your brain in our lounge, and find out about our lounge's Flash Mob Happy Hours by following us on Twitter (@AmericansElect) and via #sxaelounge.
We'll have charging stations, classic board games like Battleship, Connect Four, and Operation, videos to watch, swag, and a version of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots that we modded with donkey and elephant heads just for SXSW!
And if you happen to see a giant plush elephant and donkey walking around SXSW, they're with us. Like the two parties, they can't agree on anything. Tweet photos and videos of them in action at #donkeyVelephant and you could win your own Limited Edition Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots: Donkey v. Elephant Edition. Only five exist in the world!
More about Americans Elect:
We're hosting a national online primary this summer. Any registered voter can participate, and whoever the American people choose will be on the ballot nationwide, right next to the Republican and Democratic candidates.
We're nonpartisan, so it's completely up to you to pick this third option. We're using the internet to empower voters and circumvent the two parties. Together we'll pick a president, not a party. Check us out at www.AmericansElect.org !
2008 was the first Election in American History where bloggers and vloggers helped shape the political narrative and carry President Obama to the presidency. 4 years later, the Administration has not nurtured these pop cultural connections. Will the blogosphere turn out for Obama in 2012?
How do you get reliable information about elections? Many voters get their information about who is running for election and what the issues are from friends and family. Increasingly, those friends and family are online, getting their information from social media sources and passing it on. What’s the conversation between voters and election officials? What’s the potential for increasing civic engagement through social media? This panel will discuss breakthroughs and cautions, experiences and pointers. What you learn about who is using what and why will surprise you.
By 2014, more of us will access the Internet with mobile devices than with desktops or laptops. Android phones, iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices are quickly becoming our primary gateways to the Internet.
Everything we do online -- the ways that we produce news, organize our communities, and communicate with each other -- will increasingly depend on access to these devices and the broadband data connections they provide.
Meanwhile, wireless companies are seeking to determine what content we can see and how we can access it. As users fight for control over their mobile experience, it's fair to say that your Android or iPhone is political.
This panel of policy experts, tech journalists and public interest advocates will discuss how demographic and social shifts are changing how we use mobile devices and networks, how carriers and the public are fighting for control over them, and how good policies can protect consumers from wireless carrier abuse.
Most things in our lives are now custom fit. If we want coffee, we can order it 50 ways. If we want to watch a movie, we can choose between Netflix, iTunes, On Demand, etc. If we need a restaurant review, we have OpenTable, Yelp, etc. However, for one of the most important aspects of our life, politics, we still have only two "meat or fish" options. We are also at a point where people are more disaffected than ever by political parties. A Pew post-election poll in 2010 found for the first time in modern American history, Independents outnumbered Democrats and Republicans in terms of party affiliation. This need for tailoring our lives has now met our distaste for political institutions. While political parties will always be a piece of American politics, their relevance is being severely diminished by the growth of social media. The biggest political movements in the last year (Wisconsin, the Arab Spring, the Tea Party movement) all came together OUTSIDE of political institutions, not from within (and largely due to social media). This panel will discuss this trend.
In Washington, there is no such thing as a sure thing. Still at one point, passing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP (PIPA) seemed like a cakewalk. Both bills were aimed at curbing access to so-called “rogue” websites. But critics cried foul, pointing out how SOPA and PIPA would undermine internet security, compromise free expression and chill innovation. A massive internet blackout as well as millions of emails and phone calls to legislators stopped the proposals dead in their tracks. Meanwhile, the US government continued to push for adoption of the multi-national Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which sparked massive protests across several European nations. What are the takeaways? Can the sides come together to protect intellectual property without endangering what’s great about the internet? How we answer these questions today will impact generations to come. Join us at this Meet Up for a conversation about where we might go from here.
Instead of guns and knives, the revolutionaries who descended upon Tahrir Square on Feb. 1 packed a potent arsenal of technological tools that ended the corrupt, 30-year reign of President Hosni Mubarak. Their weapons of choice: Twitter, Facebook and YouTube – everyday tools that can be used to plan a party or plot a revolution.
“We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world,” wrote one protester in a particularly succinct tweet.
But with one third of the world living under Internet censorship, the tools we take for granted in America are precious commodities elsewhere. When Mubarak’s government hit the kill switch, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – and those using these tools to rally – were rendered powerless. When the Internet goes black, as it did Jan. 27, how do revolutionaries access these invaluable social channels to communicate, mobilize and ultimately overthrow an unjust government? How do citizens in radio silence tune into the rest of the world – without incurring the wrath of their government? What are the tools behind the tools that every revolutionary should include in his tool kit? And why should you care?
In the United States, only 50% of people vote in presidential elections. That drops to 40% for midterm elections, and 10% for primary, local and special elections. Worldwide, we rank 138th in voter turnout. The Internet has made it easy to find your old friends from college; download any song you want; get shoes delivered the very next day, and help create social change by signing petitions, making donations and lobbying congress.So why hasn't the Internet made voting awesome? Seth Flaxman and Paul Schreiber of Democracy Works will talk about why the voting system is so broken, and how the Internet can route around inefficiency and bureaucracy to increase voter turnout and make voting fit the way we live today.
My new book, The Big Squeeze, will be coming out from Yale Press after SXSW, and I'll have a chapter for attendees. Did you know that a couple of enormous cable distributors control wired Internet access in America, and that they never compete with one another? Did you know that we have a grinding, crushing duopoly in wireless access? Did you know that the wireless guys (AT&T/VZ) have quietly divided up the world with the cable guys (Comcast/TW) and never compete across these markets? Did you know that many companies are afraid of criticizing any of these actors for fear of retribution? Did you know that the carriers treat the FCC as (at best) a peer and have zero fear of oversight, competition, or regulation? It's a genuine crisis. You guys - the public - are going to have to jump in, because politicians don't respond to arguments. They only respond to pressure and money.
After months of discussion and debate, ICANN, the governing body that oversees the use of domain names, has finally approved the creation of suffixes based on brands, hobbies, political causes, and just about anything else. This means that major brands like Apple can create addresses ending in ".ipad," Citi and Chase could compete over ".bank" and cities like New York can—and are— leveraging “.nyc”. However, starting a new registry to manage a new gTLD (generic top level domain) will be expensive ($185,000 for the application alone), and many people still have questions about if, or how, these new extensions will ultimately benefit their brand. This session will discuss the most important things entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketers need to understand in regards to the new gTLDs, the impact they will have on search and SEO, and the unique ways companies and organizations can use them not only to increase brand awareness but also to improve customer loyalty.
PurpleSight is a startup focused on building technology that will make consuming, aggregating, and analyzing political news more efficient. Our vision is to modernize the way political campaigns operate by applying Lean Startup methodologies to create innovative, turn-key solutions. PurpleSight was developed in the University of Texas at Austin 1SemesterStartup incubator.
9th–13th March 2012