A challenge for social media marketers and communications professionals is coming to an agreement on transparent ways of measuring social media’s effects. That’s what led Kate Niederhoffer, founder of Knowable Research, to set up the panel “Measuring Social: The Inchworm & the Nightingale” at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival.

Inspired by a plot twist in a children’s story from the 1970s (where an inchworm escapes from a nightingale by offering to measure the bird’s song — from a distance), Niederhoffer brought together two knowledgeable figures from the worlds of social psychology and social media. The panel featured Dr. Sam Gosling, a social scientist and professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and Ken Cho, chief strategy officer and co-founder of Spredfast. Through a conversational approach touching on each person’s area of expertise, the three panelists explored ways in which social media efforts can be measured, including whether utilizing the same approach used by social scientists can be beneficial and if introducing some sort of standardization might be a much needed next step for the industry. (read more…)

Reddit was front and center at this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival. Slate’s Farhad Manjoo, Gawker’s Adrian Chen and Skepchick’s Rebecca Watson sat on a panel to discuss Reddit’s “hive mind” under the title “It’s Reddit’s Web, We Just Live In It.”

Chen, Farhad and Watson spent the better part of an hour discussing some of the negative aspects of Reddit, a social network where users post topical links that are then voted up and down by other users, affecting visibility and status. Chen especially has reason to doubt the good intentions of the site after a much-publicized incident last year.

Chen has a long history with Reddit and its users. He revealed the identity of “Violentacrez” a prominent user of the site, citing inappropriate behavior that included posting pictures of teenage girls in a well-trafficked “subreddit” called “Jailbait.” His article received a lot of flack for “outing” a user — something that is taboo in Reddit culture. (read more…)

Among multimedia journalists, social media gurus and leaders of mission-based nongovernmental organizations, it’s a common refrain: All our readers or viewers want are images of kittens and puppies. Such junk food for our eyes and hearts is making it virtually impossible to capture the world’s attention on pressing humanitarian matters such as slavery in Mauritania, use of conflict minerals in electronics products we all love, gender discrimination in the production of kids’ toys and the fact that the poaching of elephants might one day make it impossible for our grandchildren to see these animals — which are nearly as cute as kittens and puppies.

At the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, CNN convened a panel of experts: Jonathan Hutson, director of communications for the Center for American Progress’ Enough Project; Amanda Kloer, director of organizing at Change.org; Ben Montgomery, an enterprise writer at the Tampa Bay Times; and John Sutter, an opinion columnist at CNN. (read more…)

At this year’s South by Southwest Interactive Festival, everyone is talking about how audiences are more involved than ever with brands, shaping and crafting the experience they want to have with all kinds of products. Challenges vary, but mobile platforms are redefining real-time marketing and changing how people connect with brands.

A SXSW panel with Jen Saenz, senior director of brand marketing at Frito-Lay; Shiv Singh, global head of digital at PepsiCo; and Kevin Knight, Facebook creative strategist, discussed how fans are demanding a new way of marketing.

Marketers must tailor their approach to fit different media to increase engagement with people and to create a deeper connection, said Saenz. Also, she spoke about how turning fan-made material into marketing assets can increase the effectiveness of a campaign.

Here are a few more key points from the panel:

Traditional marketing still works, even if it’s no longer as effective on its own. (read more…)

World Wrestling Entertainment brought some of its trademark swagger to a South by Southwest Interactive panel on Saturday, as the brand looked to crown itself the social media king of the sports and television worlds.

The WWE’s John Cena — who made a WWE-style entrance, complete with his theme music — was joined on the panel by WWE digital chief Perkins Miller and Stephanie McMahon, executive vice president of creative and daughter of Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.

In a conversation moderated by Khris Loux, CEO of Echo, the panel discussed how the WWE is finding success by looking to involve fans as much as possible across several social media platforms. Loux’s Echo provides the platform that corrals the various networks into a real-time interactive experience.

Making entertainment interactive

It was clear from the panel who the WWE sees as its competition — the NFL, the NBA and other major sports. (read more…)