2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight: Human Connection - The Ultimate Digital Currency

Written by Megan Simpson | February 6, 2014

At SXSW 2014, Ivan Cash talks about the power of human connections.

Ivan Cash is founder of the Snail Mail My Email project and author of the accompanying book. He is also the co-creator of Selfless Portraits. His work has exhibited internationally, been featured in CNN, TIME, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and Juxtapoz. Recently, he was recognized as an Art Directors Club Young Gun. He regularly speaks at conferences, companies, and universities. To the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival, he will bring a presentation titled, “Human Connection - The Ultimate Digital Currency.” This installment of the Session Spotlight focuses on his speaking topic and his desire to connect people online.

SXSW: Please tell us more about the aim of your session and the importance for human connection online.
Cash: Social media, sexy technology, and elegant UX are all of secondary importance when it comes to crafting engaging, social experiences. The most valuable digital currency for creating participatory content is in fact, good old fashioned, human connection. Drawing from my experience creating viral hits through Selfless Portraits and Snail Mail My Email, I will explain why people's universal desire for real, meaningful moments leads them to enthusiastically jump past hurdles and engage in ways that research and testing can’t possibly predict.

SXSW: Why are you qualified to speak about this topic?
Cash: I have lectured on the value of human connection in arts and commerce across various schools, companies, and organizations, including Edelman, AKQA, Miami Ad School, Greenberg Inc. and others.

SXSW: Who do you hope attends your talk and what do you want them to take away from it?
Cash: This session will be perfect for people interested in the intersection between arts, commerce, and technology, and for those who want to learn about growth hacking and why human connection can maximize experiential engagement and participation. Attendees of this talk will leave with the understanding that, if you want to truly engage people, you must: be real, respect and empower, take risks and challenge norms and embrace human connection.

SXSW: What do you do to relax and unwind?
Cash: To relax and unwind, I meditate. I have gone on a number of meditation retreats, including a month long silent Vipassanā retreat in March of 2012.

SXSW: How can SXSW attendees connect with you on the web?
Cash: My blog is ivanspiration.tumblr.com. I use it to blog about creative inspiration. I can also be found on Twitter @shwizle.

Watch this website for more installments of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Session Spotlight. Click here for the complete list of programming for March in Austin. For tips on interesting sessions to attend, visit the new Recommendation page. Register now to attend “Human Connection - The Ultimate Digital Currency” and other incredible programming at SXSW Interactive 2014.