Panels I’m Planning to Attend at SXSW Interactive

Keeping in the spirit of not waiting until the last minute, I’m looking to fill out my schedule for South By Southwest Interactive before I get there next week.

My original intent was to drive down Saturday, but it looks like there are a couple of panels on Friday that I don’t want to miss.

This probably isn’t final, but here’s who I’m planning to check out so far.

Friday March 9th

CNN’s Black in America / Silicon Valley: Aftermath (2:00 PM)

Hajj Flemings CEO/Co-Founder Gokit, Hank Williams CEO Kloudco, Jason Samuels Professor of Journalism, NYU/Lead Producer CNN, Soledad O’Brien, Anchor & Special Correspondent CNN, Wayne SuttonPartner, Entrepreneur New Me Accelerator

Social Media Sharecropping: Black Tech Adoption (3:30 PM)

Gina McCauley, Blogging While Brown

Saturday March 10th

Pay-It-Forward: Building Successful Startups (12:30 PM)

Hadiyah Mujhid Education Programs & OutreachBlack Founders Startup Venture, Nnena UkukuFounderBlack Founders Startup Venture

Sunday March 11th

Storytelling Beyond Words: New Forms of Journalism (9:30 AM)

Bill Adair – St. Petersburg Times, Aron Pilhofer – The New York Times (, Jim Brady – Journal Register, Stephen Buckley – The Poynter Institute

A Conversation with Seth MacFarlane (11:00 AM)

Fulbright: How the 1st Social Network Adapts to SM (3:30 PM)

Vijay Renganathan – Institute of International Education, Doug Mitchell – UNITY: Journalists of Color, Katie Day Good – Northwestern University, Megan Neff – Fulbright Program

Monday March 12th

The Hyperlocal Hoax: Where’s the Holy Grail? (9:30 AM)

I’m presenting on this panel with Mike Orren – Just Be Amazing, Mark Briggs – KING BROADCASTING, Cory Bergman – MSNBC / Lost Remote / Next Door Media and Lisa Williams – Placeblogger

Race: Know When to Hold It and When to Fold It (5 PM)

Adria Richards – ButYoureAGirl, Anjuan Simmons – Infosys, Corvida Raven – TED, Erica Mauter –, Scott Hanselman – Microsoft


A Fresh New Look Arrives at The Root

I had a chance to preview changes made website on a blogger conference call yesterday.  I’ll have to say kudos to Managing Editor Joel Dreyfuss and Managing Editor of the site.  I think the content is much easier to find and they are able to highlight key articles much better than before.

“The Root already offers the most thoughtful news analysis and commentary on the Web relating to black people’s lives and the issues that matter to us,” said Joel Dreyfuss, Managing Editor of the revamped site.  “Over time we’ve also seen our curated and multimedia content grow in popularity, so we’re redesigning the homepage to make it easier to access the full breath of what we offer.

Key updates include:

  • Faster performance: The streamlined site loads quickly, giving readers faster access to breaking news and timely headlines.
  • Easier Navigation: More points of entry into the site’s rich content and a layout gives video, slideshows, blogs and special features greater prominence.
  • A Bolder Vibrant Design:  An updated color palette that better reflects the energetic environment of a constantly updating news source with a vocal and engaged following.
  • Larger Homepage Lightbox: Expanded in size for easy viewing –containing more content tied to breaking news topics and a wider variety of the site’s offerings.
  • Video Functionality on Homepage: Instant gratification for visitors who enjoy video content via a Must-See-Media module.
  • New Content Offerings: Readers will be able to share the news in their own lives with the Celebrations Gallery Section which enables readers to post announcements for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations and births.  The Opinion Round Up Section highlights insightful viewpoints from notable columnists and bloggers focusing on politics, culture, and more.  The Roots Section offers genealogical information, including advice by Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., who is The Root’s editor-in-chief.

The Root is published by The Slate Group, a Division of the Washington Post Company.


U.S. Rep Clyburn/Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Host Social Media Forum w/ Shawn Williams & other Leading African American Social Media Strategiests

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), chaired by House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, will debut Digital Fusion – CBCF 2.0 at a first-of-its-kind forum of the leading African American social media strategists called Black Power 2.0 – Social Media and Digital Content Mobilizing the Masses. The convening will address opportunities to engage communities through social media increasing rates of Internet adoption by the African American community.


2:00-5:30 p.m. September 24th, 2009


Room 146A

Washington Convention Center

801 Mount Vernon Pl NW

Washington, DC 20003


54 percent of the African American community is not online. Underserved communities are excluded from opportunities to access job applications, health care information or financial services. Black Power 2.0 will feature the nation’s elite African American social media experts at the cutting edge of digital movement.

A special session, “The World as We See It: Recreating Communities with Public Purpose Content,” will feature Rey Ramsey, CEO of One Economy, and award-winning director and producer, Robert Townsend. They will address the role of public-purpose media—online content that engages, informs and facilitates action—in stimulating demand for broadband among those who need its resources most. Townsend produces and directs Diary of a Single Mom, a ground-breaking online Web series that chronicles the lives of three single mothers trying get ahead despite obstacles that all single parents face.


Diary of a Single Mom Cast Members present at the session include:

* Monica Calhoun (“Sister Act II,” “Love and Basketball”),
* Janice Lynde (“Six Feet Under,” “General Hospital”)
* Valery Ortiz (“South of Nowhere,” “Date Movie”)
* Richard Roundtree (“Se7en,” “Shaft”)
* Billy Dee Williams (“Star Wars,” “Lady Sings the Blues”)
* Leon (“Cool Runnings,” “Waiting to Exhale,” “The Temptations”)


Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, U.S. House of Representatives*

Donna Brazile, Principal, Brazile & Associates*

Farai Chideya, Founder,; Power to Pen Media Group (Moderator)

Robert Townsend, Actor/Director/Producer, Diary of a Single Mom

Rey Ramsey, CEO, One Economy Corporation; Founding BBOC Member

Donna Byrd, Publisher, The Root at

Eric Easter, Vice President Digital & Entertainment, Johnson Publishing/Ebony Jet

Gina McCauley, Founder, Blogging While Brown, What About Our Daughters, Michelle Obama Watch

Carmen Dixon-Rosenzweig, Founder, All About Race; Editor, AOL Black Voices

Angela Conyers-Benton, Founder, Black Web 2.0

Shawn Williams, Editor,

Gary Mack, CEO, Dacodo

James Andrews, Co-Founder, EveryWhere

Navarrow Wright, Founder, Global Grind

Kristal High, Founding Co-Chair, Innovation Generation Broadband Policy Summit

2009 Blogging While Brown Recap by Dallas South

Everyone keeps asking me, “How was the Blogging While Brown Conference” and I either answer “great” or “excellent. I then think that this may sound vain in some way because I was responsible for helping to put the program together.

In actuality, I didn’t feel much different from last year when I enthusiastically sat on the front row of the inaugural conference (with Electronic Village, All About Race, and Pam’s House Blend). This year I set up shop at the very back of the room. The major difference was deciding to wear a jacket and slacks in Chicago rather than jeans and a T-Shirt in the ATL.

Shawn P. And Lola Adesioye of

Even having spoken with all the presenters and panelists via email or on the phone, I wasn’t prepared for all of the wonderful information that was shared at this year’s conference. From Talkshoe to; MindMeister to Gravatars; Buddy Press to Outliers, there was just so much to learn.

John Davis and I interviewed by Carlos in D.C.

The presentation that gained the most attention (check Twitter #bwb) was Hajj Flemings’ session on Branding. Besides introducing up to the concept of Grustling (Grinding + Hustling = Grustling), he spit out a number of memorable one liners that have been making their way around the web today including:

“If you’re the smartest person in your group, then you’re in the wrong group.”

“Create quality content that is credible & creating quality contacts is paramount.”

“The best time to start something was a year ago. The next best time is right now.”

I appreciate the executive committee a.k.a. Gina McCauley for the small part that she allowed me to play, mostly trying to keep the schedule running on time. For some reason, I didn’t imagine myself saying much at the conference, but who wouldn’t want to have a few words in front of such a distinguished gruop. Other than that, I was able to kick back and allow these talented individuals to do their thing.

But I also want to thank Gina for her initiative. It’s easy to think that if Gina had not stepped up last year to create a blogging meet up for bloggers of color, then someone would have, but I don’t believe that’s the case. So many times in the African-American Community we can talk about a good idea or identify a need and then not act upon it.

Gina has created a venue that will always go on my calendar ahead of Netroots Nation, SXSW Interactive, NABJ, or an of the other wonderful conferences that are held each year. The benefits that I’ve gained in the last year from folks I met at the 2008 Conference are too many to count. I would expect to find the same thing to be true between now and next year.

I love this conference because it’s grassroots at it’s best, and we are trying to ensure that we are not left behind in the digital age. AT&T and other conference sponsors did their part towards that end, as AT&T sponsored scholarships paid the registration fee for a number of attendees.

And last but not least, next year my spades partner Deborah Smalls and I will be giving spades lessons since we won the first BWB Spades tournament hosted by the wonderful ladies of the 5 and a Possible blog. Picture us rollin’

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BWB 2009 Attendees

Blogging While Brown Conference starts Friday in Chicago, attendees announced

The 2nd Blogging While Brown Conference gets underway on Friday at Chicago’s University Center with a Beginning Bloggers Boot Camp. Conference organizer Gina McCauley afforded me the opportunity to serve as programming chair for the conference, and I’m excited about the group of panelists and presenters that we were able to pull together. Here’ the schedule:

June 20, 2009 – Blogging While Brown Conference

8:00AM. – 8:30AM



Introductory remarks


Workshop: “The Competent Blogger”

This workshop will cover tapping into talent communities using web 2.0 tools and techniques to find lucrative and rewarding career opportunities. This is a must attend workshop for anyone interested in building an online presence or pursuing a long-term career in IT.

This presentation will address all aspects of careers In IT and the core competencies necessary to build and sustain a vibrant, fulfilling and prosperous career powered by the web 2.0 social networking phenomenon. The workshop includes , research results from the 2009 IT Job Outlook Readers Poll, skill sets that are hot in the current job market, and how to use social networking to “get discovered” for the hot job opportunities How to build a successful online business in the IT Industry

Presenter: Milt Hayes


Workshop: Mobility

Sponsored by AT&T

The Mobility Workshop is constructed to challenge third party groups to think about integrating wireless into their grassroots and advocacy activities as well as demonstrate AT&T’s leading positions in the areas of child safety (Smart Limits) and wireless technology (i.e. video share, 3G, etc.). The workshop includes an explanation of non-voice communications channels on wireless handsets, including SMS, WAP/Wireless Internet, Photo/Video Share, Video/3G, and Smart Limits and a hands-on demo of the service. Participants will walk through Web and SMS sign-up, SMS messaging and SMS mobilization. The training includes case studies from 08 election cycle.


Panel — Netroots in Action

Panelists will discuss how social media tools can be used to affect changes in policy, improve communities, and influence elections.

Moderator: Carmen Dixon Rosenzweig,

Panelists: Megan Tady,

Pam Spaulding,

Cheryl Contee,



Brand Camp University:Building a Strong Personal Brand Online

The goal of this workshop is to teach attendees to develop a digitally relevant personal brand in a web 2.0 world using social media. Identify tools and strategies to create, define, and manage who you are distinctly to help you define your space. Build and manage the character of you online brand and community organically, authentically, and cost effectively with the top personal branding tips. Outline: Participants will learn: Basics of Personal Branding, Defining your Value Proposition, o Social Networking strategies for personal branding, Networking tips online and offline for career success, Organically building your community, Online reputation management, Create brand plan, Use Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter for business and career development.

Presenter: Hajj Flemmings,,


Panel: The State of the Information Monarchy- What’s Next for Traditional Media?

Panelists will discuss whether bloggers and citizen journalists can fill the void left by changes in traditional media.

Moderator: Monroe Anderson,

Panelists: Eric Easter,

Bruce Montgomery


Panel: Bloggerpreneurs

Panelists will discuss making a name for yourself in the world of social media and networking your way to better opportunities and personal success.

Moderator: Jonnice Slaughter,

Panelists: Angel Laws,

Fredric Mitchell


Closing Remarks

And here is a list of confirmed conference attendees:

* A Buzz in Your Ear
* Acts of Faith in Love and Life
* Afrobella
* All About Race
* Around Harlem
* Around NYC
* Awesomely Luvvie
* Beckie Has a Blog
* Beyond-isms
* Black Gyrl Cancer Slayer
* Black PR
* Blacks Gone Geek
* Blank Bare Clean
* Blog Not War
* blogHer
* Bronzeville Change
* Brother Bartell
* Brown and Bridal
* But You’re A Girl
* Carlos in DC
* Change You Can See
* Chartreuse
* Concrete Loop
* Consumer Blast
* Cyber PR Urban
* D Jones Productions
* Dallas South Blog
* Dante Lee
* Dragon Fly
* Ebony Jet
* Flack Me
* Fresh Manna of the Day
* Global Wire
* Global Wire
* Goddess Intellect
* Hajj Flemings
* Harmonic Leadership
* Haute Muslim
* Have a Wonderful
* I Hate My Developer
* IT Empowers U
* Jack and Jill Politics
* Jamal Street Journal
* Which Awakens Me
* Listen to Leon
* Live Life Posh
* Locs and Dreams
* Love a Black Woman
* Marty Blogs
* Megans Minute
* Miss Theda
* Mocha Mom 365
* Monroe Anderson
* Naomi Christine
* Pams House Blend
* Peruanista
* Philena
* Photo Solitude
* Pocket Book Protest
* Project New Era
* Queen Tahj
* Save the Internet
* See Your Worth
* Small World View
* Social Media Socialite
* South Shore Chamber
* The Joba Group
* The Smak
* The Super Spade
* Theo Talks
* Urban Beauty
* Urban Science
* We Are Black Women
* Woman Body and Soul
* YBP Guide

Me and my Palm Pre – the wait is over

There are very few memorable lines from the Star Wars prequels. But one that always sticks with me is when the Chancellor/Darth Sideous tells Anakin Skywalker “your patience has paid off.”

It looks like the patience of Palm users has paid off with the arrival of the Palm Pre, now available from Sprint. For the last couple of years Treo users have been the laughing stock of the smart phone world, as iPhone and Blackberry users have ridiculed our archaic devices. Now, we may have the last laugh.

With a lot less fan fare and significantly less advertising, Palm and Sprint have released a superior product to Apples iPhone, the current gold standard of handheld devices. Last Saturday the Palm Pre became available in limited quantities at a price of $199 after a $100 rebate.

I bought my wife an iPhone for Christmas in ’07, and she has loved it. Why not, it’s a great device that really took the mobile experience to new heights. You Tubes, Movies, the scrolling flick, and a boat load of fun aps have made the iPhone a mega hit.

While the Pre may not sell as many phones, it is equipped with lots of features that make it more functional than the iPhone. Chief among them is the card feature which gives users the ability to multitask.

Multiple applications can be opened at the same time and reduced to “cards” that line up horizontally across the screen as small windows. You can swipe the cards left or right according to which one you want to use. Currently with the iPhone, you have to close out of an application whenever you want to open another.

I also prefer the full QWERTY keyboard that is part of the Pre’s hardware verses the keyboard on the iPhone’s display.  Again, probably not that big a deal unless you banging out upmteen text messages as some of us do.

The one thing that the Pre will never have is iTunes, as I believe the iPod is the greatest invention in recent years.
With the iPhone 3.0, AT&T users will the ability to buy and rent movies, TV shows, music videos, and audiobooks from inside the phone’s iTunes app.

And the true value of the iPhone, it is the coolest toy you’ll ever get your hands on because of tons of user developed applications. The Pre will have to encourage scores of developers to create new aps for the device or port some of the popular iPhone aps over(we need Tap Tap).

So far the only drawbacks for the Pre are the battery life, impacted by the ability to multitask, and the cumbersome cover that fits over the charger input area.

For a fun gadget that gives you or your kids something to do while bored I’d suggest an iPhone. But if you are looking for a phone to make you more productive and gives you a virtual office in your hands, I’d suggest the Palm. Call it Revenge of the Pre.

Sample of Texas meteor found in West, Texas south of Dallas

According to the Associated Press (via the Dallas Morning News), two University of North Texas researchers have found samples of a meteor seen in Texas skies on Sunday. More from the A.P. story:

Two samples of fresh material from a meteor that alarmed numerous residents when it streaked across the Texas sky on Sunday have been found in a pasture in West.

University of North Texas observatory manager Preston Starr and UNT’s director of the planetarium and astronomy lab program Ron DiIulio said they found the pieces Wednesday about 5 p.m.

DiIulio said the pieces are about the size of large pecans with a crust that’s black like charcoal.

Here’s what the meteor streaks looked like from a video shot in Austin.

Same video different source:

We’ll see.  I’m sure West, Texas which is South of Dallas on I-35 will have a lot of amateur astronomers in town on Thursday.