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; 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…)

It can be tempting to look at the major bloggers in your space and despair, thinking to yourself that you’ve missed your window of opportunity, that the big guys have it all sewn up and it’s too late for you to make your mark.

But at a New Media Expo panel in Las Vegas, Robert Scoble and Mitch Joel told attendees just the opposite: With a little persistence, solid planning and creativity, you too can amass a social media following that takes your brand to the next level.

A few of their tips:

Take a “pile of pennies” approach to growth. Scoble says that building a following is like stacking pennies. Imagine if you started a month by placing a penny on a table, came back the next day and increased the stack to two pennies, and then four and then eight. None of those tasks is particularly difficult, but if you managed to keep at it, by the end of a 31-day month you could have nearly $11 million in pennies. (read more…)