Preview: Uprising Tide
A band of self-professed computer geeks from New Orleans rented a bus and stormed South By Southwest last year to show the world that the Big Easy is back.
That trip is the inspiration for a panel at this year’s SXSW Interactive called, “Uprising Tide: Inciting Online Communities into Offline Movements.”
“It’s a bunch of tech nerds who got together on meetup.com and decided to make things happen,” said Matthew Tritico, one of the panelists.
The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center software developer, along with fellow panelists Damien LaManna, co-founder of Net2No; Christopher Boudy, Sr., co-founder of NewOrleansTech.net; Tiffany Starnes, co-organizer of TribeCon and Social Media Club of New Orleans and Chris Schultz, co-founder of Launch Pad will describe how their group raised $20,000, planned the trip and got 30 people from all over the city involved—all within a one-month span and no centralized leadership.
“We were there to promote New Orleans,” Tritico said. “We wanted to show people we’re back on the map.”
Since the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has been seeking re-investment by, among other things, promoting tax incentives to tech companies as part of its rebuilding efforts.
The #SXSWNOLA delegation, as they call themselves, took it upon themselves to go to Austin and promote New Orleans as a hotbed for new media and creative techies.
“And, we had a party,” Tritico said. “We are New Orleanians, after all.”
The Uprising Tide panelists will discuss how they made the bus trip happen, and how the lessons they learned can apply to other online grassroots movements.
They will share the knowledge they gained about finding sponsorships, making arrangements, and coordinating all the moving parts that make a movement jump from chat rooms and status updates into objective reality.
As successful as the bust trip was (it is happening again this year), the fact that it was organized from the bottom-up, instead of from the top down, is what the panelists want to highlight during the talk.
“The panel hopes to focus less on ‘how awesome we are’ and more on the challenges involved in such a grass-roots movement,” Tritico said. “We would like the audience to take away from the panel some lessons we learned about what type of events to have, how to fund the events, how to maintain momentum, and how to deal with leadership issues. But most importantly, the subtext of all of this is about inspiring people to work for change in their community–and answer the question, ‘Are we being successful? Are we having an impact?’”
The panel will take place Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in room 10AB of the Austin Convention Center.