For many people around the world, digital literacy is more than gaining access to online content but truly having access to independence through education and banking. At SXSW, Sophie Kelly, CEO of The Barbarian Group, facilitated a discussion about the benefits and challenges of digital currency with Roya Mahboob, co-founder of Digital Citizen Fund, and Joyce Kim, executive director of Stellar.
There are inevitably many formal sessions at SXSW Interactive, virtual announcements or product launches, and hallway conversations about new platforms and mobile apps. Many are designed to bring people together to share stories and content, create digital watering holes, and make connections.
SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas this week is, inevitably, packed with people launching new applications, cool mobile tools, and big brand campaigns. With thousands of people all in one place, it can actually be difficult to find your peers.
As for-profit news organizations struggle to maintain previous levels of reporting, nonprofit news gathers are proliferating to fill the gap in coverage. “These new nonprofit media outlets are experiencing the same problems that longtime nonprofit publications such as The Texas Observer have been tackling for years,” said Cherilyn Parsons, director of development and strategic initiatives at the Center for Investigative Reporting.
More and more city governments are working to share data and engage citizens in creating information systems and solutions that support engagement, access to resources, and much more. At SXSW Interactive, Rachel Haot, Chief Digital Officer for the City of New York, shared an update about the city’s attempts to open up data and collaborate with developers and the public.
We’ve all experienced videos, blogs, photos, or topics “going viral” online before our eyes – the number of views increases, our Facebook timeline fills with reposts of the story, or a hashtag rises up the trending charts. At SXSW, there are enough people and enough conversations taking place that hot topics go viral in a similar way, spreading through lounges, parties, and coming up as questions in session after session. This year was no different, and those viral conversations included the Invisible Children “Kony 2012″ campaign and video, and the Homeless Hotspots.
Start Some Good, a platform for social good groups – whether nonprofit organizations or not – to raise funds and build community, highlighted eight diverse projects working for social impact at an evening event hosted by Center61 at SXSW. Each project was given five minutes to pitch to a packed room before each attendee had the chance to vote for their favorite project. The winner received $1,000 from rackspace and a free organizational membership to NTEN.
I was joined today for a panel at SXSW to discuss the blurry or blurring lines of personal and professional identify online. With me on the panel was Debra Askanase, Jess Main, and Vanessa Rhinesmith. This topic was especially relevant at a festival like SXSW where many attendees are representing themselves, their organizations or companies, and even side projects or local groups. Most of the people in the room said they represent both themselves and their organization through their personal profiles online, like Facebook and Twitter. The panel shared a few key directives for nonprofits working to support staff with social media.
Schipul, a web marketing agency based in Houston, Texas, announced yesterday during the 2012 South by Southwest Interactive festival that Tendenci, a content management system (CMS) will be released as an open source solution. Tendenci was developed by Schipul especially for nonprofit organizations and associations over the last decade as a proprietary Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product. The platform is currently supporting hundreds of nonprofit and association websites around the world, with over one million users. The open source solution will be available to download at the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference, taking place April 3-5 in San Francisco.
South by Southwest Interactive is a major hotspot for new tools to launch, applications and platforms to find early adopters, and those looking for ideas or suggestions to get recommendations from others already exploring the newest, shiny toys. I’ve been taking notes on the tools, whether brand new or just new to some, that have people talking.