By Ian Rosoff
The South By Southwest (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas, brings together the worlds of music, film, and tech in a celebration of creativity. SXSW is about the next big thing, what’s going to be important in 2013 and beyond. That’s why so many prospective panels this year are concerned with Latinos and their growing impact on politics, economics, and culture.
Votifi is submitting a panel of our own for SXSW 2013, Latinos y Mobile: A Silver Bullet. Lou Aronson, Brent Wilkes, Kety Esquivel and Estuardo Rodriguez will be talking about empowering the Latino population and understanding their impact on politics and technology. But our panel is just one of many prospective panels dealing with the importance of the rapidly expanding impact of the Latino community.
Here is a breakdown of some of the Latino panels we think deserve a spot in SXSW 2013.
Minorities and Latinos in particular are gravitating towards entrepreneurship and starting new businesses. Cultivating The New Minority Entrepreneur is one of the panels addressing Latinos and start-ups. A Kaufmann Foundation policy brief found that 65% of Latinos 18-34 wanted to start a business vs. 45% whites. The panel will be an advanced, interactive panel, with John Butler of the University of Texas and Marcus Mayo of Incubate NYC.
Another exciting panel about Startups could be Latin American Startups Culture. This panel will be on successful integration of the USA and Latin American startup ecosystems. This is an exciting possible panel because startup culture is vital to emerging economies and will play a role in economic recovery across the Americas. Javier Gramajo of SQMOS and Estuard Robles of icanmakeitbetter are the slated speakers.
A third panel trying to capture the importance of startups in Latin America, Scaling Startups For Success in Latin America would talk about how current startups can break into the dynamic market of Latin America. This panel brings together experienced entrepreneurs, digital marketing experts, and investors. Startups and Latin America seem to be inextricably linked at SXSW 2013. This relationship is one that deserves discussion and exploration so hopefully one or more of these panels will make it through the panel picker process.
Turning our attention away from startups, there are a plethora of pitched panels dealing with Latinos and social media. It’s well established that the Latino community has embraced social media more than any other racial demographic. Social Media Accelerating Biculturalism will take on how Latinos are using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools to communicate with like-minded peers. More than just examining trends, this panel would discuss how social media is breaking down cultural barriers and encouraging multiculturalism. We will learn about geographic and digital differences across the Latino community. This is an intermediate panel proposal given by CJ Valentina Nance of Pitchbox Media.
There a myriad of more social media and marketing ideas including Me Gusta: Targeting Advocacy To Latinos Online, Is Your Strategy Ready For The Minority Majority and El Nuevo Gringo: Quantifying The Latino Vote. These are all fascinating panel suggestions, but there are so many panels on marketing it’s hard to pick one that stands out.
One panel I’m rooting for is Life On The Line: Tweeting The Drug War. The downsizing of U.S. media organizations at the border has negatively impacted news reporting in Mexico. Drug violence is often unreported or censored in traditional media outlets. Reporters and citizens are fighting back with social media especially Twitter; this panel would be presented by Melissa Del Bosque of The Texas Observer, Sergio Chapa of KGBT-TV, and Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera.
The SXSW panel picker voting opportunities have closed. Let’s hope there was enough enthusiasm surrounding Latino issues to ensure they are discussed at this year’s festival.