Being Social at SxSW

The following post is an entry in the SUxSW contest, which will allow four winning students to attend the Interactive portion of the SxSW conference in Austin, TX, this March. This is a joint post by Alyssa Henry and David Rosen.

David and I met online before we ever met face-to-face; we’re both active twitter users and had interacted with each other on the social networking site multiple times. Last year, we were approached separately by an iSchool professor and invited to join the Syracuse University social media team, which is made up of a faculty advisor, a staff member, and a group of several students to develop and manage the social media strategy for the university.  Our online connection evolved because of this opportunity, and we’ve been lucky enough to work together professionally on some exceptional projects. Even better, we’ve become really good friends.

As Chancellor Nancy Cantor stated last May in her commencement speech, Scholarship in Action involves “engagements that connect what you do here with what you can do in the world”. Over the past year, David and I have been joined together by two major influences in our lives: Syracuse University and social media.  If given the opportunity, David and I can use these two passions during our experience at South by Southwest Interactive as education “for the world, in the world.” Here’s how…

We’re making Scholarship in Action a social experience

David and I have worked together on several projects to make Scholarship in Action more attainable in the Syracuse community and beyond. During this year’s Orange Central celebration, David and I worked with the SU social media team to share Orange Central not just with students who are currently on campus, but also with alums that were unable to attend the events. As Foursquare campus representatives, we designed a campaign that utilized the location-based social networking site to promote attendance and interaction at on-campus events. We posted LCD screens on the quad and in Schine Student Center to encourage students to participate in the online celebration.

We designed “I mayor SU” Foursquare t-shirts and conducted a Twitter #SUOC contest that challenged students and alums to answer Orange Central trivia to win them. During the events, we engaged with SU students and alums on our @SyracuseU twitter account and invited them to post pictures of their Syracuse spirit on our Facebook page. We received positive feedback from members of the SU community, and iSchool Professor Anthony Rotolo stated that, “for first time ever, even alumni who couldn’t be in Syracuse could still come ‘home’ with social media”.

We’ve also participated in Syracuse events like the Beyond Friends and Followers: What’s Next in Social Media and the Social Media Futures Charrette, using social media to share the ideas generated at these events with people inside and outside of the SU community. During Friends and Followers, we live-tweeted the event so those that couldn’t attend were still able to follow the conversation and receive information and insights generated from the participating panel of social media professionals. During the Social Media Charrette, we discussed the future of social media in business with 34 other SU students and presented our ideas to a live audience (while live-tweeting with the hashtag #SUcharrette, of course). David and I have also been speakers at the BizBuzz Social Media Conference to present The Real World: Social Media, where we talked about what we’ve learned about social media.

Learning lessons in social at South By

Our past experiences demonstrate our ability to use our education to spread information, ideas and innovation through social media. However, there’s always more to learn, and South By Southwest Interactive presents an opportunity for us to continue to learn about technology and social media- and share what we learn with others.

After viewing the scheduled sessions at South By, we noticed there is a focus on social media in many of the presentations. David, a finance and information management dual major, immediately noticed the program called “Banks: Innovate or Die!”. David also has a passion for location-based social media, and is interested in sessions like Beyond the Check-In: Location and the Social Web by Gowalla and How Game Dynamics Can Change Real-World  Experiences by Foursquare.

I received my undergraduate degree last May from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in broadcast journalism, and I have a great interest in how journalism is evolving due to opportunities in new media. Sessions like Bloggers vs. Journalists: It’s a Psychological Thing, Hacking the News: Applying Computer Science to Journalism, and Will News Apps Reinvent Journalism? sound like they’ve been chosen just for me. As we’re both members of the Syracuse social media team, we also love the description of the presentation Using Twitter to Improve College Student Engagement.

Sharing South By with the SU Community and beyond

Attending South By Southwest Interactive would be an awesome experience for both of us, because we would get to learn about the things we love and interact with peers and leaders in our field, while sharing our passion with others. We would be able to bring our experience back to the SU community in real-time through social media, as well as applying the things we learn through innovative ideas and connections in our work with the SU social media strategy.

Our use of social networking sites will create content like tweets, blog posts, photos, and videos that will allow us to easily and instantaneously share information with followers, iSchool students and faculty, and the Syracuse community- as well as an open, broad audience on the internet. So, by sending David and I to South By, you’re sending the entire SU community and beyond because we would have the experience with all of you.  We would embody education “for the world, in the world” by learning valuable information about our educational and professional interests, applying it to ourselves, and sharing it with anyone who would like to come along with us.

  • Kaleigh

    Nice post, guys! Best of luck – I hope you both get to go (so I can live vicariously through you)!


  • AlyssaHenry

    Thanks, Kaleigh!

    If we’re lucky enough to win, we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date on all South By Southwest fun! Tweet you later 🙂


  • Will Kievit

    Really hope you guys win this contest. Seems like you will take away a lot and put it to great use. Good luck.

  • AlyssaHenry

    Thanks for your support Will, it means a lot! We’ll be sure to let you know if we’re chosen and tell you what’s up at South By!


  • David, Alyssa — excellent post. You have both done outstanding work for the iSchool and Syracuse University over the last year. You should be very proud of all that you’ve accomplished.

    Best of luck in the contest!

  • AlyssaHenry

    Always great to hear positive feedback from you, Anthony! We’re looking forward to hearing the results of the contest, keeping our fingers crossed for SxSW! Thanks for commenting 🙂


  • Pat

    I may only be an alum but I have no question that you two possess the knowledge and potential to make your way to South by Southwest and bring back to Syracuse University even more than what the festival thinks it has to offer – a true understanding of the vision and promise offered by each participant, and the ability to incorporate learned ideas for the benefit of the university as a whole.
    Good luck!

  • Best of luck, guys. I’m proud to get the opportunity to work with both of you.

  • As a 2008 alum of the iSchool, I believe Alyssa and David should win this contest because of the following:

    1) Both of them have demonstrated strong leadership both within the social media realm, as well as outside of it.

    2) The duo is both well researched and well-spoken

    3) They will truly be ambassadors of the iSchool while at the event, which can only have positive effects on both the SU iSchool reputation, but the reputation of ALL iSCHOOLS.

    4) The background of WHY they want to go is learning. It isn’t to party or visit a warmer place, because hey, they could do that on Marshall street. This request is much more than that.

    5) The people they meet and interact with can only mean positive things for extending both their personal network, but the network of the iSchool.

    6) Strong chance there will be awesome alumni there 🙂

    SU iSchool ’08 Alumni

  • WOW! All I can say is that I am really appreciative of the support from all the comments here! Thank you so much for the support Kaleigh, Will, Anthony, Pat, Adam & Alana! Hope to see you all at SXSW!!!

  • nicole

    best of luck guys – hope to see many checkins from Austin in the future 🙂

  • Thanks so much Nicole! Any progress on being Berky’s carry on?

  • Katie H.

    Great post Alyssa! Both you and David are extremely deserving students and have done great things for the Syracuse social media community. Good luck!!

  • AlyssaHenry

    Like David said, WOW! I’m really blown away by some of the comments posted here, thank you all so much.

    Pat, Adam, Alana, Nicole, and Katie, thanks for your kind words and supporting us, we’ll be sure to knock ’em dead if we go to South By!


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  • Alyssa, in the short time I’ve known you, both on Twitter and after meeting you in class, I have seen that you possess a lot of potential to engage communities (you’ve done a great job with Syracuse University so far!), and I think SxSW would be a great opportunity for you.

    David, I only know you from Twitter and your involvement with Foursquare, but I’m truly inspired (by both of you, really) to extend my participation in social media for the benefit of my communities through your efforts (especially by the role you played in getting SU more involved in Foursquare – I actually rejoined a few weeks ago!).

    Best of luck 🙂

  • Thanks Katie and Lauren, really appreciate the encouragement! Hopefully Alyssa and I will be live tweeting the entire week from Austin so that all can follow the events!

    Thanks again!

  • Jen

    Alyssa and David get my vote. Very nice post and good luck to you both!

    SU L’10

  • As an alum of the iSchool (IST minor, 1998) I’m all for Alyssa and David representing Syracuse down at SXSW! We’ve already set aside 2 VIP passes for them for our foursquare party on Saturday and it would be a shame to see them go to waste 🙂

    Dennis Crowley
    co-founder/ CEO, foursquare

  • Ben Tepfer

    These guys are the best! They deserve this!


  • Sunny

    Alyssa and David are smarties with tons of energy and excitement for new ideas and get everyone else excited about them. They are totally deserving of going to SXSW.

    Good luck you two!

  • Kim

    It’s VERY tough to follow @dens and I most certainly can’t offer VIP passes to a foursquare party, but I can vouch for Alyssa and David as rockstar students who deserve this trip to SxSW. These two have made such a name for themselves in the real world – and the online world. They’re well-known on campus and they’re most certainly well-known on Twitter. This post is excellent and a true testament to what Alyssa and David have done for Syracuse University. I’d be proud to have them represent SU (and comfortable knowing they’d tweet the whole way through SxSW so I could live vicariously!)

    Kim Brown, ’06
    Alumni Programs Coordinator, SU Career Services

  • Karen

    Great post by David and Alyssa outlining all they’ve done for Syracuse University and the iSchool. They are actively involved in the social media world and great advocates for Syracuse University, as demonstrated by their hard work and various presentations representing theUniversity. I know SxSW will give them more opportunities to learn and grow and enhance their social media presence and knowledge!


  • Rah

    send Alyssa and Dave to SXSW they deserve it!!!

  • Dennis, Jen, Ben, Sunny, Kim, Karen and Rah, thank you all so much for your votes to send Alyssa to South By! Your votes are so appreciated, hopefully they will help us to win this!

    And an especially huge thank you to @dens for the VIP passes to the foursquare party. Like he said, would hate to see them go to waste! 🙂

  • Chuck Fiello Jr

    Not only should you two be there, if they were smart, they would invite you for their own sake. Anyone who follows you both on Twitter and knows anything about how active Syracuse is on Social Media knows this would be a smart decision. Neither of you have been reactive in this regard but have chosen to be proactive with SM. I think if they are smart enough to realize what an asset you all could be for their event, they would learn from the best. When it comes to media, Syracuse are pioneers and Alyssa and David help set the standards. Go Orange!

  • rich

    Alyssa and Dave are “super tweeters” who should be dispatched to SxSW immediately.

  • @tracytilly

    Alyssa & David – I’ve been lucky enough to interact with you both through social media and a few times IRL. You are both the epitome of “social media done right.” I think SXSW would benefit more than just the two of you because of your extremely professional, dedicated and knowledgeable approach and demonstration of the use of social media already with the greater SU community. Good luck… I’m rooting for you both!


  • I had no idea you guys were behind a lot of that! I’ve known you a short while through Twitter, and have definitely enjoyed every second of it. I can only imagine what SXSW can do to make you guys even more awesome, and have no doubt you’d share it with all of us. Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you do next!

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