Help for those “Vote for my SXSWi Panel” headaches

If you’re in technology, business or entertainment (music, film), you’ve certainly been exposed by now to a steady stream of “Vote for my SXSW panel” messages, blog posts and Tweets. With thousands of entries, not only is the noise deafening from your social buddies, but the time it takes to truly read the panels and give them the “thumbs up” is nearly impossible. (Bless the panel – they are certainly going to be doing a lot of reading.)

Why is everyone asking for your vote? Well, because votes – the community’s opinions – account for about 30% of the decision of who gets the much-coveted speaking slots. The Advisory Board (40%) and Staff (30%) make up the other percentages. SXSW is held every March in Austin, TX and is THE place to be to create new relationships, learn and share with the social media, business, tech, and entertainment crowd. It lasts a week, with a divide between interactive, music and film. You can read all about it, here.

With the deluge of panels and all the posts about them, you’re likely just to vote for your pals and they’ll vote for you and once again, popularity – not necessarily quality – will prevail. But one thing we’ve noticed that’s missing from a lot of the recommendations is the WHY. Why vote for these panels other than a friend asks you to do so? Seems a lot of the promotion is leaving out that crucial detail. So, we’ve chosen a few of our favorites so far, below, and a reason why we believe each is worthy of you clicking that “thumbs up” button. We kept our focus on the interactive side, FYI.

We’ll try to add more as we find them but feel free to leave your favorites - don’t forget the why – in the comments. There are so many, we’d love to learn about more great ones that we haven’t yet heard of, and from people we might not yet know (isn’t that what’s great about social networks?!).

  • Because we’re “inspired women who want to inspire other women,” we vote for Breaking Glass Ceiling(s) – Fearless Women Entrepreneur by Amita Paul, ObjectiveMarketer. We’re not crazy about the title but get past that and read the content – are there really only 13 women at the top?!
  • Turns out Carla Thompson of Sharp Skirts sees women everywhere – in startups, that is. We’re always interested in the gender gaps in business and again, empowering women. So we give a “thumbs up” to Where are the Women in Startups? Um, everywhere! and hope you will, too.
  • Noticing a theme here? Yes, we are all about supporting the ladies. But, this one is truly unique – focused on African American women and their use of the Internet for activism. Cybercrusading for Women by Gina McCauley, Blogging While Brown.
  • Speaking of powerful young women on the Internet, we’ve got to give a shout out to our industry colleagues at Sevans Strategy. They’ve got a PR panel – and as big proponents of ensuring a brighter, smarter PR industry – we highly recommend it for any PR executive. Spin Doctors: PR Best Practices for Social Media includes founder Sarah Evans, Jason Kintzler of Pitch Engine and Ryan Osborn of NBC News.
  • Sarah is also a part of this panel – which intrigued us as we continue to research the impact of social media globally ourselves. The Global Online Community – Improving Cross-Cultural Relations also includes Andrew Kneale, of the British Council.
  • Another woman we’re proud to know is Alicia Staley of The Staley Foundation. Alicia’s got an amazing story to share and we love her panel because it combines her personal experiences with cancer and the timely topic of crowd sourcing. Crowd Sourcing Cancer deserves a thumbs up because it’s got a higher purpose and can truly help many people above and beyond this event.
  • As PR executives, our daily work revolves around story telling – and story shaping. So we were interested when we read Storytelling in an Age of Industrialized Content by Upendra Shardanand of Daylife. We’re all story tellers now – do you know how to keep ‘em human?
  • And finally, we wouldn’t be very good PR professionals if we didn’t also ask you to give our panels a thumbs up. In The Networking Conundrum, I’ll analyze how people and businesses are building communities online and off – and whether or not both are important. Are they inclusive of one another? Why or why not? What if you live in a rural area – can you still build influence online as successfully as your city-dwelling competitors? And what behaviors are most effective in each? We think this is an important topic as social networks continue to grow and thus the world seems to simultaneously get smaller.
  • Our EVP Heather Mosley will take a look at who’s already done well in this vein – and what you can learn from them – in Dissecting What Really Works in Social Marketing Campaigns. What companies are doing it right and what have the results been? Is it possible to take elements of their successes to build your own – why or why not? She’ll help you understand what’s worked, why, if it can work for you – and maybe more importantly, what doesn’t.

We’ll continue reading through the panels and let you know what else catches our eye. What have been your faves so far?

See you in Austin!

 

“Walk” With Us, Help Beat Cancer Today with 15 minutes and $15

Today we’re using our blog space to ask you something that has absolutely nothing to do with us, our clients or PR. Thanks in advance for reading.

National Breast Cancer Awareness month is nearing an end. We’re trying to help raise awareness for the thousands of women who have faced this challenge – and are fighting much bigger challenges than anything a day at work can throw our way. In particular, we’d like to call out two of our friends and their efforts to raise money to directly help women facing this relentless disease: Jeanne Fitzmaurice of Design Her Gals and the Gal to Gal Foundation and Alicia Staley of The Staley Foundation.

Both of these amazing women are trying to reach a certain goal this month (today, in Alicia’s case) to help others. Both have been touched by cancer and are inspirational women who remind us to keep going, never give up and to support each other. Will you please help our efforts to do so by taking just 15 minutes and $15 (skip two of those Starbuck’s lattes this week, perhaps?) today to help them reach their goals?

Alicia Staley, the Staley Foundation

Alicia’s birthday is today and her wish is to raise $1,000 in 24 hours for the Staley Foundation – money raised during her birthday wish challenge will be used to purchase books, journals, and JILLIES to include in new patient packs:

  • $10 donation = a journal for patients in a support group!
  • $20 donation = books for patients preparing for surgery!
  • $45 donation = a brand new JILLIES garment for patients having radiation or chemo!

staley134119_logo_final The Staley Foundation acts on its belief that cancer survivors need a strong fundamental base of education, advocacy, and assistance to persevere in their cancer battle and beyond to live their best lives. Alicia should know – she’s a three-time cancer survivor (read her amazing story here). She founded the Staley Foundation in 2007, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to enriching the lives of people touched by cancer, including survivors, their families, and caregivers. The Staley Foundation fulfills its mission through cancer awareness education, survivorship education, community outreach initiatives, advocacy development, and patient assistance programs. You can help Alicia by donating, here.

Jeanne Fitzmaurice, Gal to Gal Foundation

Jeanne is in her third year of the Gal to Gal Virtual Walk – a fun, easy-to-join virtual walk through a different city each day, to help raise funds to grant wishes for stage IV breast cancer patients. Many organizations are dedicated to helping cancer patients during the early stages of diagnosis, but few are focused on stage IV – Gal to Gal is focused on helping women in this stage to maintain their dignity while receiving treatment through the progression of the disease. Walkers can choose who to “walk” with others – from celebrities like Larry King, Molly Sims and Kristin Chenoweth, to everyday neighbors and friends. You can create teams and invite others to join as well.

This year’s walk honors Dorit Shapiro, past President of the Gal to Gal Foundation, who lost her brave battle to Stage IV last October at age 38. You can listen to Dorit’s own story – in her own words – in the video below. Dorit spoke about last year’s Gal to Gal walk, just one week before her passing. We hope it will inspire you to spend just $5.00 to help Jeanne and her team reach this year’s goal of $250,000 (a figure that was Dorit’s personal hope for this year). You can create an avatar and search for the PerkettPR team to “walk” with us, or you can choose to simply just donate.

Thanks for reading, for donating and for your support through posting these efforts on Twitter, Facebook, your own blog and more. Not for us, but for the patients.

Join us in Boston tonight for open party to benefit The Staley Foundation

The holidays are here, times are uncertain and budgets are tight. But you can maintain your financial prowess and still help a good cause just by showing up at a party tonight.

The PerkettPR team has helped organize an informal, open holiday get together in an effort to raise funds for Alicia Staley’s Staley Foundation. Just by showing up and giving your name to us (find me and sign a list), $2 will be donated to Alicia’s new foundation.

The Staley Foundation is a non-profit charitable organization based in Boston. TSF raises money for patient programs at Tufts Medical Center and United Medical Memorial Hospital in Batavia, NY, through education, advocacy, and immediate financial assistance. Alicia is a three-time cancer survivor working to make a difference in other cancer patient’s lives.

If you’ve been looking for an affordable opportunity to give back this holiday season, please join us tonight. Bring your friends – the event is free and open to anyone* – and includes a 50/50 raffle. Alternately, if you cannot attend in person but still want to help, you may donate online here via ChipIn!

Special thanks to Charise Glasson of CPG Interiors and Mark Williams of The Social Net for their generous donations.

The Event:
Monday December 15, 2008 from 6:00pm – 11:00pm

25 Union Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
*cash bar