Many of us knew that today was the beginning of SXSW Interactive’s voting process for the conference’s panel submissions. The PanelPicker, as it’s called, shows all submitted panel ideas and allows you to vote and comment on your favorites and which ones you would like to see at the event next year. It’s a great way to crowdsource and choose which ideas you would find most beneficial – but with that comes a downside, as it was prevalent with Christopher Penn‘s tweet this morning:
From what I’ve heard from Chris and several others today, the downfall has been panelists promoting their submissions through Tweets and DMs, asking for votes and trying to garner as much response as possible, while trying to beat out the other 2,215 submissions (keep in mind, voting accounts for 30% of the decision process.)
Have I received requests today? Yup. But mainly from people who I consider good friends and whose opinion and knowledge I respect and trust. Do I have a panel and have I promoted it? Yes – Bryan Person and I have a submission, but actually haven’t mentioned it until now. Regardless, in the end it’s ultimately up to us and which submissions we find relevant and most important.
PanelPicker or the highway?
Pimping out online voting systems is a reality within social media and the online world as a whole that we’ve unfortunately become accustomed to (remember the Shorty Awards?) I understand Chris’ feelings, especially when it comes from individuals you don’t have a relationship with. But are we making a bigger issue than there really is, or is there a better way SXSW and potential panelists could get the community involved instead of this voting system?
I’m always open to discussion and hearing how this process could be made more efficient. Have at it, I’m all ears.
Update: Ran across a great post by Len Kendall that promotes a handful of non-SM panels (with background info) but also his own, in a non-pimping sort of way. Kudos, Len.