Lessons from South By Southwest Interactive Festival

Lessons from South By Southwest Interactive Festival

A few of us were lucky enough to go to the South By Southwest Interactive Festival this month to learn about different technologies. What is SXSWi? Here’s what sxsw.com has to say:

An incubator of cutting-edge technologies, the SXSW Interactive Festival offers five days of captivating keynote presentations, panel sessions, book readings, meetups, workshops and core conversations that provide hands-on training as well as big-picture analysis. More to the point, coming to SXSW Interactive is a great way to recharge your creativity.

Recharge our creativity it did. The three of us who went can’t stop babbling about all the different ways we can better use the technology available to us for loveisrespect. We’re pumped to keep finding better ways to give you life-changing, relationship-making information.

We wanted to share some of the conferences highlights:

Nurturing A Young Online Community
We saw a panel led by young people about how to reach online users under the age of 25. This was of course especially relevant to us because that’s our core audience. It was led by two young bloggers. They reminded us to not control the community, but rather to direct the conversation and let our readers have a voice. We loved that reminder. We’ll always encourage you to comment on the bottom of all of our posts and contribute to our conversations on Facebook and Twitter.

We went to several panels about community building. We do view our readers as community members so we really wanted to make sure we are best serving you. We were reminded that a welcoming online environment is key, but that there should be recourse if someone exploits or misuses our community.

In other words, we have to serve as our own online bouncers. We want nothing more than for good participation and fun to happen here, but we need to make sure it stays safe and positive. So, to our many contributors who write to us here or elsewhere, we got your back.

The Benefits of Humor
We enjoyed learning about how beneficial humor can be in online writing. One panel encouraged that we use humor because people see funny things with a clear perspective. Humor can help break down barriers. If people don’t want to have a response to a topic, humor can be used to make people feel comfortable enough to talk about it.

While this is tricky for us since we have such a serious topic, it made us think. If laughing more can help us discuss dating realities, we’re open to it.

The Importance of Storytelling
We were also reminded about the importance of stories in terms of communicating our message. We talk about dating experiences, but sometimes it’s more meaningful when we get specific and tell you how exactly different dating situations look when they involve people. You told us a similar thing with the poll we had on our site a little while ago. It’s hard with our website to share survivor stories because of security issues (past abusers have internet access too— it’s a safety concern for a survivor who shares) but we still can do a better job of illustrating the concepts we talk about. Plus, it can be fun to write these stories and healing for other survivors to know that they’re not alone.

All in all, we were reminded of what an exciting time to use and explore technologies. Please know that you were on our minds constantly as we went through the five day (FIVE DAY!!) conference. We’re pumped to continue our work.

What technologies do you enjoy using? What online channels (blog, Twitter, Facebook) do you want to interact with us more on?

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