South by Southwest (SXSW) is the most-hyped music, film, and tech conference of the year held in the great city of Austin, Texas. This year's conference (March 9-18) will showcase some of the coolest, hippest political start-ups around, here's your guide:
Under the Big Tent:
@AmericansElect intends to disrupt the way Americans elect a president. They plan to host an online nominating caucus to pick a presidential nominee and running mate from opposite political parties. They have collected nearly 2.5 million signatures and are on their way to getting their nominee on ballot in every state. True to their grand ambitions, they'll have a big presence at SXSW.
To rub elbows with other political enthusiasts stop by their lounge in room 7 of the Austin Convention Center from Saturday, March 9th to Tuesday, March 13th. Also, make sure you hear their pitch on Sunday from 3:30 to 4:30 in Salon A at the AT&T Conference Hotel.
Competing This Year:
@Votifi is intent on changing the nature of engagement between voters and elected officials. They use polls and cutting edge technology to give every voter access to elected officials, like-minded peers, and relevant content.
They'll be blitzing SXSW through the Interactive Accelerator and the Tech Cocktail Startup Showcase. If you're in town to kick off the festivities, don't miss their Tech Cocktail presentation on Saturday evening at 6:00. To catch them at Interactive, swing by the Hilton on March 12th or 13th. Stick around for the award ceremony at 6:00 Tuesday evening.
@POPVOX knows their way around SXSW. Last year, they won the Interactive Accelerator for Social Media and Social Networking Technologies. They've only improved on their product, offering voters the chance to tell Congress whether they support or oppose proposed legislation.
This year they'll team up with @theruckus, the best website for finding likeminded voters and working together on important issues, to tell you How Social Media Impairs Political Parties. They'll be in Salon A of the AT&T Center Monday morning at 11:00.
Austin isn't just a conference destination; it's an emerging startup hub for technology and software companies. There are three new companies that have come out of Austin intent on improving the political landscape, and they'll share plenty of scoop on the best TexMex, coffee, and can't-miss political meet-ups around town.
@Ballotbook helps you find out about everyone else. They've aggregated information on nearly every local election in the United States, and they want to help you vote knowledgably about all the positions you never knew anything about.
@ElectNext offers a comprehensive polling platform that matches you with the candidates who most closely share your beliefs. While currently headquartered in Philadelphia, ElectNext's CEO is a native Austinite.
@VotersAct (disclaimer: this is my company) intends to offer every local political candidate a website and donation platform. Social media makes direct advocacy increasingly efficient, and we plan to help politicians and their supporters appeal directly to voters without expensive forms of traditional outreach.
Photo Credit: maureen lunn