This is the archived SXSW 2012 schedule. Please see the current schedule here.

2012: Social Media’s New Role in Politics

#sxsw #SMPolitics

Social media has earned a prominent seat at the table with the large media companies of the world and has birthed an entirely new way to cover the world of politics. As we approach the electoral year, political chatter will continue to snowball and generate enormous heaps of data. Data can drastically impact how we determine the importance of a given story, the ways that we gauge public opinion and eventually may even revolutionize the way we cast our votes. This panel will discuss the many ways that the web is providing entirely new tools and resources to track and cover the world of politics and discuss the unique perspective social media data paints for the voice of a bolder and broader demographic. This panel will feature experts in political news, new media, data crunching and the real-time web debating the future of political coverage and the impact of new social technologies on political news and research.



Ben Parr Editor-at-Large The Peep Project

Ben Parr is a respected technology commentator and journalist, web entrepreneur and aspiring world changer. In a previous life, he was the Editor-at-Large of Mashable, the world’s largest independent digital news website focused on social media and web technology.

Ben is also a startup advisor (NerdsUnite Productions,, Code Academy, Women 2.0 and more) and is currently working on a yet-to-be-announced project. He also recently completed his first sci-fi thriller novel, Desel. His previous experience includes project management for Facebook applications and content management in the web health space.

Ben’s work has been featured in media such as Fortune, Fox News, CNN, Marketwatch, PC Magazine, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Telegraph, The Atlantic, Globe and Mail, Wired, Denver Post, BBC, The Wall Street Journal, CNET, Sky News, PC World, Reuters, Washington Post,Toronto Sun, CBS News, Salon, Del Spiegel and The New York Times. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, majoring in Science in Human Culture and Political Science and minoring in Business.

Khris Loux Co-Founder & CEO Echo

Khris is CEO & Co-Founder of Echo, a real-time web platform that enables publishers to rapidly build and implement real-time applications for social TV, social music, social news, social sports and social commerce. He is also co-author of the Synaptic Web & BackPlane. Prior to founding Echo, Khris founded security software firm, Securix, Inc., and negotiated its exclusive distribution agreement and eventual merger with DynaSoft AB. In his role as Board Member and Vice President for Business Development at DynaSoft, Khris played an instrumental role in the $115m acquisition negotiations with RSA Data Securities.

Khris has a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Economics and Finance, and a minor in Computer Science, from Mount Saint Mary's College in Maryland. He lives in the San Francisco bay area with his wife and four children and his playtime includes kiteboarding, snowboarding, and listening to Southeast Asian electronic music.

Mark Blumenthal Sr Polling Editor The Huffington Post

Mark Blumenthal is the senior polling editor of the Huffington Post and the founding editor of

The Huffington Post acquired in July 2010, but its mission as HuffPost Pollster remains the same: To publish and aggregate poll results in uniquely interactive charts and to provide daily running commentary and analysis that explains, demystifies and critiques political polling.

From 2006 to 2010, attracted over 28 millions visits and over 90 million page views. Time named one of the 50 Best Websites for 2009, a list that also included Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. was partly an outgrowth of Blumenthal's Mystery Pollster blog, which he started in September 2004.

In May of 2007, along with co-creator Charles Franklin, Mark received the Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award for from the American Association for Public Opinion Research. In 2005, the National Council on Public Polls awarded Mark and the MysteryPollster blog a special citation for its work explaining polls to the Internet reader.

From 2008 to 2010, Mark also served as polling analyst for The National Journal, where he wrote a weekly column for

Mark worked as a political campaign pollster for more than 20 years, conducting and analyzing pre-election surveys and focus groups for Democratic candidates and market research surveys for major corporations.

Vishal Sankhla CTO & Co-Founder Viralheat Inc

Vishal Sankhla is the CTO and Co-founder of Viralheat. Viralheat makes social media actionable by providing vital customer insights to brands, agencies and marketers. Vishal holds a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California.

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