At SXSW I talked to more people than I could possibly list here but here’s some of the interesting people, organizations and products I found throughout the week.
Most interesting connections:
- Spoke with Dan Trieman of GameSalad, a games development platform that is free and easy for nonprofits. “Game creation for the rest of us” Very interesting for any nonprofit (or anyone really) looking to create games. Haven’t had a chance to play with it yet but will in the next few months.
- I Tour U iPhone app seems promising for nonprofits, libraries, museums. You can create a spoken tour of a given space. While there’s obvious implications for museums and libraries helping to explain their collections a less obvious use would be to tell the story of homelessness through a tour. How far does a person have to go to get their laundry done? Where do they shower? How far is that from the other social services they use? Giving people an idea of the amount of time it takes to be homeless could be powerful. There are ways other organizations such as conservation groups could also use this app to tell their story.
- Photo Philanthropy– Connects photographers with NPO’s around the world to tell their stories and drive action for social change. A good resource for the NPO community as a picture can be worth a thousand words.
- Erik Bjornard from Animoto. A GREAT tool for getting into storytelling with pictures and words. A simple tool to make a talking slide show. Also looking to play with this more in the next few months.
- the AgChat forum which discussed how farmers are using tech (as a percentage more farmers use/have smart phones than the general populace). Watching this made me think that I should get more involved with this community. Food issues and farming is definitely still in my blood, even if I’m not working on a farm anymore and haven’t had enough time to do much urban farming lately.
- The Tell/Sell panel was great… see previous blog post!
- The best bit of information came from the panel put on by BAVC called Sexy Dirty Data. They have partnered with a Google developer to create the Impact Dashboard which I personally think will be THE tool for nonprofits and others to use to tell their stats story. The tool not only helps you track your stats from numerous social media sites (Facebook, Google Analytics, Twitter, etc) but it’s also open source, allowing you (and others) to build widgets to track other stats and allows you to track stats of in person/real world events by entering data that can’t be found elsewhere. To quote the site “it’s a super user-friendly cloud app with a Python backend that collects, hosts and visualizes your data in real-time, right on your website and your phone.” From what I can see it does exactly the job nonprofits are trying to do each time we write-up a stats report, showing the key features of what we’re doing in a visually appealing way that also speaks to funders, supporters and other nonprofits. It allows you to enter key tracking points to tell your story (did that jump in twitter have to do with a specific event? You can put that information into the tool). I’m more excited about this tool than any other tool I’ve ever seen. I hate stats, usually because they don’t tell stories without more work than necessary (so much work that often it can take away from the actual mission work) and this tool takes away my gripes. I haven’t had a chance to play with it but I can’t wait and will definitely talk more about it as soon as I get my hands on it! Sign up to get updates here.
To be overly blunt I personally think that SXSW Interactive is the best conference I’ve ever attended. Because of the focus on new technologies and the desire for businesses and others to get their work out at SXSW there’s a higher level of panelists and information than you’d find elsewhere. Many of the topics of discussion at SXSW become topics at other conferences several years later. If a nonprofit really wants to know what’s heading their way this is the conference to attend.