I would be completely remiss if I didn’t put a spotlight on SXSW Cares this weekend.
If you aren’t familiar with South by Southwest (SXSW), it’s one of the largest conferences and festivals in the world that brings music, film and interactive together every year in Austin, Texas. On the eve of this year’s Interactive portion, an unthinkable act of nature hit Japan and devastated a country and its people.
I wasn’t able to attend SXSW this year and while I missed seeing my friends and connecting with new ones, I’ll be honest—I didn’t miss the often narcissistic ‘see and be seen’ party atmosphere. That said, the beauty of SXSW is that it is what YOU make of it.
That is why I was so proud when I started hearing the news about SXSW Cares, which was started by my friends Leigh Durst and Deb Ng (along with Rob Wu of CauseVox, Jess Lin and The American Red Cross). It would have been so easy to get swept up in panels, book signings, parties, socializing and photo ops, but this team was heads down in trying to make a difference and trying to help those who needed it most.
Sadly, it appears that some companies still have not learned how social for good works as apparent by their attempts to use social capital for their own good. Another lesson learned by companies who still think ‘inside out’ versus ‘outside in’. They blew it and their lack of social etiquette tarnished their brands. It is back to the social drawing board for them. What a shame…
There are three ways you can help today!
- DONATE – Make a donation [at sxsw4japan.org] or text your donation to the American Red Cross (90999)
- SHARE- On the web, on Twitter, on Facebook, on your blog (Use hashtags: #sxswcares and #sxsw4japan)
- CREATE A FUNDRAISING PAGE – Start a page so your friends and family can donate to disaster relief.
For more information, or to make a donation, visit: http://www.sxsw4japan.org
Live Path (Leigh Durst): The True Spirit of SXSW – The Genesis of #SXSWCares
“Before we launched, we had driven the donations on our site alone from about $600 to about $2k in donations. In just 24 hours, we have generated more than $7k in donations. On Friday night, during interviews for the Statesman… We created some sxsw cares cards and are circulating them, and watched mentions in posts, articles and tweets at the hashtag #sxswcares skyrocket on Twitter. Since then, we’ve all continued to work proactively and inclusively in a joint initiative to drive support for Japan.
While we’re missing out on panels, discussions and even a few meetings — all of us involved here agree that this is THE MOST important work we may ever do at SXSW. In the true spirit of crowd-sourcing, collaboration, rapid, iterative design and development, we are excited about the future.”
Kommein (Deb Ng): Calling B.S. On the Retweet
“I appreciate retweets. They help to get the word out. Yay. And they lead to other retweets and even a few donations. But that’s it. It’s over. Most of the influencers tweeted out the #SXSWCares hashtag once, never to look at it or talk about it again. A couple made it clear they didn’t want to retweet more than once for fear of looking spammy and a few said they would help to spread the word and never did. Some didn’t even want to get involved at all.
Taking action beyond the 10 second retweet is when true leadership and influence shine through.”
Conversation Agent: The Stream Comes First
“How can you watch what is happening without wanting to do something about it? Now individuals have the ability to do something about it.
It is about both/and — watching and doing. That is the future of news — and of business. If you’d like to contribute or spread the word, here’s how you can do it. The stream comes first means you take care of what is most important — the people who need your help, now.
This is why social is the best part of media”
“The website is simple and the logo looks like it was scrawled on a cocktail napkin, but there is a powerful social networking component that allows users to set up a page for themselves to encourage family, friends, and various members of their social network to donate. As of now they have raised more than $35,000 and set their fund-raising goal at $50,000. At this rate, they could easily meet that goal too, as they will be raising money for the rest of the festival, which runs until the 20th. Go Internet!”
Geoff Livingston: Galvanizing Your Organization to Help in a Disaster
“When your cause or company’s employees and stakeholders want to act and participate on the frontlines of the relief effort, there are several things you can do. Whether it’s leveraging your online community, offering financial resources or volunteering, almost every person and organization has assets to offer.
Before going too far, please ensure that the organization is motivated by a clear desire to resolve or provide relief to a devastating event. If your goal is to market or strengthen the social responsibility factor of your brand, the disaster campaign could easily achieve the opposite and tarnish your brand with an opportunistic hue (consider Spirit Airlines oil spill faux pas). Disasters are a time for social responsibility and altruism.”
“In fact, tech companies that have attempted to capitalize on the tragedy have become the equivalent of tarred, feathered and hung out to dry.
Some are also openly asking for Facebook “likes” in exchange for Japan donations. The issue is that we attendees all seeing how commercialized this typically indie-flavored conference has become, and realizing that while some may have the best intentions, asking for social capital in exchange for donations does not seem appropriate.
I mean, if you tell me you’ll give me something ‘for free’ in exchange for my likes, an RT, or a ‘follow,’ then it’s not really free, is it?”
Please consider donating today… Japan needs your help!
[Image Source: Samsung]