SxSWi is the largest (and possibly the least expensive) interactive conference in the world. It’s often referred to as “spring break for geeks“, and aside from the obligatory SxSWi flu that everyone seems to leave with, it’s an amazing chance to absorb, share and discuss what it means to work in the social web with some of the most brilliant, passionate and funny people I’ve ever met. Oh, yeah – and then there are the parties.

Anyway, this year we’ve gotten it together in time to submit two panels for SxSWi ’10. Both are advanced-level sessions with experienced practitioners who are working on the front lines and willing to share their leading-edge experiences with attendees. It’s my expectation that these sessions will be enormously valuable and provide tremendous insight (we’re all about adding value). Here are the abstracts, and of course, if you agree that they look promising – please vote us on to the agenda!

News 2.0: how old media companies are inventing new models

Newspapers are dying and media conglomerates are collapsing; but is the “old media” company really dead? In this session we’ll hear from innovators within some of the largest and oldest media networks in North America, and learn about their efforts to evolve the old model into something new, relevant and solvent in today’s infinite-channel landscape.

What we’ll talk about:

  • How old media companies are thinking about content differently: adopting new modes of syndication and delivery
  • Should there be a difference between journalists and “citizen observers”?
  • Beyond Craigslist: what new revenue models are old companies exploring, and can they reinvent themselves quickly enough to survive?
  • Innovation: what model works best for disruptively transforming media companies from the inside, and what does it look like?
  • The mainstays of social media: reviews, crowdsourcing and engagement at the local level (where most of the revenue is) are not all that they’re cracked up to be
  • News of old media’s death may be greatly exaggerated. Join us for this engaging discussion with old companies that are innovating in an effort to reinvent themselves as profitable, sustainable sources of
    information and digital content.

    Speakers: Laura Conaway, NPR, Mathew Ingram, The Globe and Mail, Candice Faktor, TorStar Digital, TBA, Turner Broadcasting

    Vote for this panel here.

    Scaling Social Media: Getting Credible Content To Mass Audiences

    In year one, executives wanted to know WHY social media. In year two, WHO was writing about them. In year three? HOW MANY are reading. You have a new problem now – that’s how to scale your social media efforts.

    Everyone agrees that you are winning hearts and minds – making your company better and generating significant digital word of mouth. The problem? You’re doing it almost by hand. In this engaging panel
    discussion you’ll learn from experienced social media leaders about how to scale social media efforts to generate the levels of reach and awareness that big companies need in order to see positive impact on
    their bottom line.

    What we’ll talk about:

  • Integrating the mass and the social – social media is highly credible content, but its reach is limited.
  • What tools and techniques are leading brands using to bring it to wider audiences?
  • Quality of attention: while you may get eight or nine million pairs of eyeballs on a successful social media initiative, one story on the evening news will get the same – basically for free. We’ll talk about managing expectations and educating executives about the difference in “quality of attention”
  • We all agree that ads are declining in effectiveness, but awareness on a mass scale is still critical to business success – what are some of the new models companies are using to get highly credible UGC or corporate content in front of millions of people who care and matter?
  • Time or money: when it comes to reach, you need one or the other. Making sure your team understands that social media is not “free”.
  • Vote for this panel here.

    Speakers: Scott Kelly, Ford Motor Company Digital Marketing, Yaron Galai, CEO, Outbrain, Jim Cuene, Digital Marketing (social media), General Mills, Brett Wilson, CEO, Tubemogul

    Finally, if you’ve been following the discussion around the terrible lack of diversity on conference stages that’s been boiling the last few weeks, here’s your chance to make a difference. Technically Women, which is a group blog authored by an amazing array of women in technology from all over the world, has listed the panels its members have proposed. Alexandra Samuel over at Social Signal has also compiled a list of quality female-dominated proposed panels for SxSWi. If you know of any similar listing, please let me know in the comments and I’ll happily update this post.

    Now – get voting!