Today marks the first step toward the web professional pilgrimmage to SXSW Interactive. The March conference released its panel voting system that helps determine the programming. The public gets a 30 percent say in which panels make it to the stage. You better grab a drink, because we have to choose from 1,201 entries.
To vote, you need to create an account (where’s that OpenID, South-by?). After that hurdle, selecting panels is easy-peasy. The big list (order is determined randomly and changes for each voter) has the presenter, title, description, and input for a five star (plus “please, please, no” button) rating.
The panel ideas are spread among a dozen categories: technical, creative, and biz-oriented. The categories with the most proposals are advertising/marketing (180) and business/entrepreneurial (177). The categories with the least panel choices are digital filmmaking (20) and video games (34).
Conference organizer Hugh Forrest noted a common theme across categories:
That would definitely be “social” — as is social media and social networks and social software and social systems. The number of proposals that reference this buzzword in one form or another indicate that (for better or for worse) we are still at the tip of the iceberg of this trend.
Indeed, 183 panel proposals have social in the title. And with multiple parties going on every evening, SXSW 2009 is looking to be social ’round the clock.