SxSW 2013 Proposal

“Creating Smart Narratives During Dumb Elections”

Audience: Anybody interested in helping at the local level during an election to help elect somebody they believe in.
Format: Solo
Level: Beginning
Category: Government and Civic Engagement
Tags: mayors, communications, elections

Description: During the course of previous election cycles, it is easy to observe how the ideas and the beliefs of the candidates at the national and regional levels get boiled down to sound bites and talking points. As a casual political observer, I want to see if I could help with a local political campaign (a mayor’s race in Zanesville, OH in 2011) and help communicate what the candidate’s believe and the ideas he had without being watered down or simplified to the lowest level through the use of new media techniques. This panel will discuss the lessons that were learned during this campaign and what others can take away from the political process. In addition, the panel will also look how to shape content that can find a niche with multiple audiences.

Questions:
If you have zero experience helping a political campaign, how can you help?

What type of content and information is effective for a new media aspects of a traditional political campaign?

How can you find a balance between different audiences with respect to the dissemination of a political platform?

How does new media and traditional media help one other in the contexts of a local campaign?

What is meant by “dumb elections” and “smart narratives?”

Organizer
Shane Tilton
Email: tiltons@ohio.edu
Twitter: @silnan
Company: Ohio University Lancaster
Job Title: Visiting Assistant Professor
Industry: Education
Bio: My experience with computers began in 1985 as I learned the beauty of Logo on a Packard Bell computer at the vocation school and the ability of a turtle to move through an electronic field by giving the turtle directions. I’ve enjoyed writing programs for computers in BASIC, simple JAVA and ActionScript for years. The connection to the world of cyberstudies came from my first experience on a bulletin board system (BBS) during my middle school years. I got to see virtual interactions on a textual level. Little did I know that I would be studying those interactions for my doctorate later in life.

Qualifications: Ohio University of Lancaster, Lancaster, Ohio, Visiting Assistant Professor of Electronic Media, September 2008-Present. Ohio University of Zanesville, Zanesville, Ohio, Adjunct Instructor of Electronic Media, September 2002-July 2010. WHIZ-TV, Zanesville, Ohio, Senior Production Assistant, August 1998-July 2000. Director of Communication, Jeff Tilton for Mayor & Rick Shriver for State Sentate campaigns

Prior Speaking Experience: Nanocelebrity: How to Combine Expertise with Voice. South by Southwest Conference (SxSW), Austin, TX, March 2011. Cybertheology. 96th National Communication Association Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA, November 2010. Coco-netics: A Mixed Method Analysis of Social Media’s Impact on the O’Brien/Leno Feud. Internet Research 11 Conference, Chalmers Institute of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, October 2010. Interactive Graphic Storytelling: How the Internet Impacts the Graphic Novel. Hannah V. McCauley Graphic Novel Forum, Lancaster, OH, September, 2010 Re(imagining) the Future of Visual Culture: Explorations in Online Language Structures and the Changing Nature of the Discipline, (Chair) 94rd National Communication Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, November 2008. Microblogging, (Chair) Association of Internet Researchers IR 9.0 Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark, October 2008.

Description of past SXSW session: Theresa Senft and Clive Thompson first put out the idea of the microcelebrity a few years ago, an individual who is promote him or herself on the media and channels that are available to her or him and broadcasts that presentation to the general public and generally has an audience in the thousands. A microcelebrity is different from the traditional celebrity as the traditional celebrity is typically “widely known” to the general public. The key instrument of the microcelebrity is the blog. People have risen through the static and noise to become the leaders within this field. There are lists of the top microcelebrities and web celebrities (which is a mixed list of microcelebrities and traditional celebrities would use the Internet to express themselves for their fans). However, it seems that lately that I’m not looking at blogs and other “long forms” of Internet media, rather I use services like online social networks and microblogging to express myself and gain information regarding my world. I have a series of friends that I follow and I chose to listen to in my field. More importantly, there are a few experts that can express their ideas even with the limitations of the medium (140 characters or some other mediated limitation. I would make an argument that we may be moving beyond the microcelebrity and heading towards something of an era of the nanocelebrity, which would have a smaller audience than the microcelebrity (600 to 1,000 people) and would tailor their message and knowledge to their niche audience. 600 people is four times Dunbar’s number, which is the amount of people you could actively be aware of their existence. I’m looking further down the “Long Tail” to see that the nanocelebrity could survive in this mediated economy.

V.O.W.E.L.: The panel is dealing with the local and the micro levels of interactions. From my experience, the macro and miso tends to be the focus of a good portion of the speakers and panels held during this time. The variety comes from the scope of the focus as opposed to the subject matter. As the SXSW Interactive Festival tends to encourage solo panels, the opinion aspect of this section seems moot. In addition, since I’m a solo male speaker, the women aspect also seem moot. However as somebody from the rural Appalachia Ohio, I would be more than able to bring a different cultural take to the topic of new media and politics.