Just when you thought you were finally rid of the incessant tweets and Facebook wall postings about the London Summer Olympics ruining your chance to witness history or perhaps to hear about that awesome interview Ryan Seacrest had or maybe to watch what ridiculousness the NBC commentators would make on live TV this time, the tech world is about to be set ablaze by a fury of content that hasn’t been seen in about a year. No, I’m not talking about political advertising and messaging that will be flooding the Internet over the next few months leading up to Election Day. Actually something much more “persistent”. What I’m talking about is the annual tech rite of passage known as the South by Southwest PanelPicker event. And it’s back…
It almost seems like we just attended the annual South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas, didn’t it? Nearly five days of fun, panels, lectures, parties, and tech-related news happening in the middle of the United States. Sure, it’s the grand ol’ Spring Break for nerds! And now it’s time to plan for it all over again. Will you be going this year? For many, their hopes and desires to attend the annual conference depends on what happens today. See, voting has begun for the panels and sessions that will be scheduled at the show this Spring. For many, having time on stage in the Austin Convention Center can be a great way to increase their social presence while for others, it’s a more prominent way of getting their company name and service out there. And then, for others, it’s a great way to snag a choice room in one of the downtown Austin hotels. It’s true.
Since 2007, SXSW has used the PanelPicker as a means of determining the conference’s programming. There’s going to be over 40,000 attendees at the show so coming up with all those sessions by yourself can be pretty overwhelming. That’s why the organizers probably decided to roll out the PanelPicker option where they crowdsourced to find out what did people want to listen and learn from. And with hundreds, if not thousands of submissions, the best way to weed out the ones that worked out the best had to be through a voting process. So the ones that got the most votes moved on to the next round. And that is what we’re up against now.
For the next 20 days or so, SXSW has opened up the PanelPicker for voting. Those with speaking proposals submitted will be looking to you and their friends for support for their panels. What this means, unfortunately, is that multiple pitches will be sent out to their friends and family to solicit them for their vote. Yup, that’s right…starting today, your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and email inboxes will become flooded by friends seeking your assistance in order to garner the most votes as possible so that they can sit up on stage and claim that they were a SXSW presenter.
Of course, this isn’t just the only things that will determine whether one successfully makes it on the stage. This is the opening round and will count for 30% towards your final score. The next set of judges will be SXSW’s staff who makes up another 30% while the final evaluation will be from the advisory board, who greatly controls 40% of the vote. So if I had submitted a proposal, I would suggest perhaps pitching my panel/session to friends and even to those who are on the advisory board–the odds seem better, right?
Well, get ready to endure the ceaseless pitching…over 3500 proposals are up for grabs this year…the fun just doesn’t stop.
To those of you who have submitted a proposal…good luck!