A Global Voices Guide to SXSW

SXSW night scene (2011) Credit: Biyani Photography

SXSW night scene. Credit: Biyani Photography (2011)

This week in Austin, Texas geeks, musicians, film-makers, creative types and ordinary party-goers will be mingling over cutting-edge ideas and free drinks. South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival and conference, now in its 25th year, begins on Friday, March 9, 2012 and runs through March 18. The conference consists of three main events that focus on music, film and interactive technology. SXSW Music is one of the largest music festivals in the United States attended by nearly 20,000 people.

Panels addressing citizen media, independent media and the intersections between technology and social change will be featured at the Interactive Conference from March 9-13. Several Global Voices friends and contributors will be participating at the interactive panels at SXSW.

Our Interactive Panel Recommendations

* Global Voices author and board member, Jillian York from EFF.
Sunday, March 11 12:30pm –  1:30pm

How to Run a Social Site and Not Get Users Killed
This panel focuses on social media and safety, particularly in countries where freedom of expression is limited and where voicing your online comments may be asking for a death sentence.

* Global Voices friend Mary Joyce from Meta-Activism.
Sunday, March 11 11am – 12pm
Internet Power: After Cyber-Optimism and Pessimism.
Panel topic focuses on the contradictory effects of digital technology on power. It can be a double-edged sword that strikes at both the oppressed and the oppressor.

* Global Voices Israel author Gilad Lotan from Socialflow.
Tuesday, March 13 12:30pm – 1:30pm
The Math That Matters in the Real Time Web
Gilad will share his insights regarding the influence of social micro-networks to spread information.

A SXSW self-portrait by Rob de la Cretaz on Flickr

A SXSW self-portrait by Rob de la Cretaz on Flickr on March 8, 2012 (CC-BY-NC-SA)

More suggestions

Popping Your Bubble: Stories of the Digital Divide
Friday March 9, 2012 2:00 pm – 3:00pm

Panel examines how rural netizens cope and compensate with issues of digital divide in their communities.

Social Change, Social Media and Social Filmmaking
Friday March 9 2:00pm – 3:00pm

This panel will share tips, tools & tactics for activists, non-profit pros, volunteers & creative people to promote social change through documentary-style online video.

How 21st Century Tools Are Disrupting Global Power
Friday, March 9 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Panel about the impact that technology and social media are playing in transferring power from governments and large institutions to individuals and small institutions.

Tweeting Osama’s Death: From Citizen to Journalist
Saturday, March 10 3:30pm –  4:30pm

Sohaib Athar, who live-tweeted Osama bin Laden’s raid without knowing it, speaks about his experience in his first trip to the U.S. since bin Laden’s death.

Occupying Media: 24 Hour Protest People
Sunday March 11 5:00pm
Provides a glimpse into the architecture of the Occupy Wall Street media efforts on the protest encampment grounds and the tools/strategies they used to bypass mainstream media filters.

An Unusual Arsenal: Tech Tools to Topple a Tyrant
Monday, March 12 12:30 – 1:30pm

A panel describing how the social media tools of facebook, Youtube and Twitter fomented the Egyptian uprising that brought down President Hosni Mubarak.

We Are Legion: Digital (R) Evolution
Tuesday, March 13 11:00am – 12:00pm

Writer/director Brian Knappenberger speaks about the challenges of making the film, WE ARE LEGION: The Story of the Hacktivists.

“Unofficial” and Free Events

While the SXSW Conference is geared for paid conference badge holders, several online curators have compiled lists of free events for the non-badge holders to attend. The Unofficial SXSW Guide has a user friendly calendar with free SXSW events. Sanfranfreesco, the San Francisco-based directory of free and fun events in the California Bay Area has taken up the SXSW cause. Their listings can be filtered by a number of search queries such as the availability of free drinks, music and swag. They can also be found on Twitter @FreeSXSW. Twitter user @SXSWPartylist also champions the virtues of SXSW gratis.

The official SXSW conference also has a couple of free events lined-up, including a weekend concert at the Auditorium Shores featuring The Shins, Counting Crows and The Cult. For three days from March 9-11, ScreenBurn Arcade offers gaming geeks the latest in video game releases. Cinephiles can participate in a nostalgic trip to early 90s Austin subculture by attending Slacker 2011 as reimagined by 24 Austin filmmakers 20 years after Richard Linklater’s film Slacker tapped into the city's original quirky mindset.

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