Women tend to pursue what has been called the 'iconic self,' a flawless version of ourselves that we project to the world: a woman with the right job, reputation, looks, home, family -- the list goes on. When it comes to creating that ideal image, technology has arguably raised the stakes even further. Now we have to construct a perfect self to present across many channels and platforms. Who should you be on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+? What parts of yourself should you expose, when do you draw the line, and what if you cross it? Is it even possible to be authentic online? On this panel we'll delve into the sometimes paralyzing performance anxiety technology produces, how we can mitigate it, and discuss thorny questions about what should and should not be revealed online. And, once you've solved that dilemma, how to know who you really are in the midst of all these iterations.
Doesn’t it seem like a new social network launches every day? From geosocial to social TV, from social gaming to social news, it seems like we’re just adding a “social” layer to everything we do, online or offline. As a digital solution for seemingly every facet of human culture emerges, it’s starting to look a lot like...well, human culture, digitized.
We have to ask: how many social networks are people willing to sign up for? Do people want a massive social network with everyone on it or are they more interested in niche networks focused on different passions? Maybe both. Or, maybe we’ll all just get sick of it and start mailing letters to each other again.
To truly understand the human appetite for social, we will open the aperture of understanding social outside just social networks to examine how people are communicating with peers and brands in life as a whole. Some of our richest data today comes from forums or communities. As the world gets more digital and measurable, increasing our ability to capture people, places and things and the various activities and actions one can take within those combinations, the sharing of that information will be an essential extension of social.
This session will explore why people keep signing up for new social networks, look at “social fatigue”, consider evolving human social behavior and, with the audience’s help, create a collective manifesto about how we will put the “social” back into “social networking”.
As the entrepreneur Prince sang, “So, tonite I’m gonna party like its nineteen ninety-nine.”
Social media is a means to end.
Social media is also increasingly horizontal in its application across the marketing funnel.
And it is a bubble.
As in 1999, this bubble is marked by four attributes:
Escalating valuations: Our panel will prove how Groupon cannot sustain growth, and the valuations of current social marketing stocks are not sustainable
Inflated salaries: How the scarcity of social marketing experts overinflated the salaries of the very people attending SXSW. This escalation came in part of a misguided panic in not understanding how to channel consumer behavior. This is why so many people are at SXSW with expense reports.
Dizzying competition: The world does not need more than 40 photo sharing services. We are at the end of the beginning, which will include a winnowing of services and consultants.
Tremendous hype: The number of publishers versus voyeurs is actually shrinking. This inversion of word-of-mouth to buzz is what bit Snakes on a Plane in 2006. Whenever there is a sustained inversion of buzz and word-of-mouth, the situation conflates.
SXSW is ground zero of this hype. The event elevates the channel over the objective, and the buzz over the results. It is a cultural event, but does not focus on analytics, results, and research, the cornerstones of social media. What happens at SXSW has little affect on the consumer unlike CES or E3.
What does it mean to wage a story? In this panel, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas describes the moment of coming out as an undocumented immigrant, an "outlaw" in his own country. He explores the ways in which his radically visible story traveled from the New York Times to Facebook to Youtube and back -- and forced a toxic national debate into a human frame. As context for Jose's incredible story, Joe Sudbay, Deputy Editor of AMERICABlog, describes how bold, hi-tech storytelling transformed the political calculus during the waning months of the last Congress and landed him in a meeting with President Obama at the White House. Felipe Matos takes us on a journey that reinvents what it means to push for civil rights: a 1,500 mile walk from Miami to DC, tweeted at every turn.These hypervisible, once-invisible stories are changing what we thought we knew about the communities that are "coming out," as well as how to tap the power of social media to ignite change.
A recent survey of 17,000 people found that 60% of Americans believe that neighbors are worse today than they were 15 years ago. What role does social media play in this perception of decline? We’ll have perspectives from State Farm, which commissioned the large scale survey across all 50 states; Kelly Weiss, Executive Director of Austin Habitat for Humanity; and Gretchen Rubin, an author whose research has focused on the question of how connectedness affects our happiness – including how ties with neighbors and communities have an impact on our overall wellbeing.
We all know social media's genius at pretending to read our minds. Facebook and Google+ reintroduce us to our friends; Pandora plays us music we're algorithmically likely to enjoy; Amazon delivers us to authors who feel statistically familiar. This sleight of hand flatters us and pulls us inward.
But what it doesn’t do so well is surprise us. Our sense of serendipity—the startling coincidence, the amazing happenstance—has eroded severely. A random greeting from a long-lost friend once would have been a lightning bolt in your day; by now, it’s much tougher to lose touch with someone than get reacquainted. If your most discreet pals plot your surprise party, their presence in your location-based apps will give up the ghost. Want to go wander around a foreign city? Forget it: Google has made getting lost not just obsolete but technically impossible.
Will surprise be the next hot online commodity? We’ve seen signs that it might. Chatroulette’s randomness enthralled us briefly, and group-deal sites’ digital coupons deliver us the odd caipoeira lesson—but could surprise be more valuable than that? Will social media, or advertisers, figure out how to sell us back our serendipity?
9th–13th March 2012