If you pay close attention to what is happening in Web 2.0 and social media, odds are you've been hit up for a ton of requests to vote for a panel on SXSW.  The folks at SXSW are taking votes into consideration for 30% of the criteria for selecting panels.

I am not entirely sure how I feel about this.  On one hand, you want sessions run by credible people from industry.  Votes on interesting planels are one way to help make that determination.  From the organizer's perspective, it works because SXSW wants to create as much buzz as it can about their upcoming show.

On the other hand, over 2,200 panels are listed.  This is far too many for people to scan and make intelligent choices.  Further, a subset of information about each panel is listed — in many cases you don't have all the information you need to make an intelligent choice.

What it appears to have evolved into is an all-out scrum for people to promote their sessions as best they can.  For a lot of folks, the most efficient way to do this is via Twitter, hence the noise.

I don't know what the answer is, but I do think that there is a real risk that sessions at SXSW will be more of the same echo chamber that you hear if you follow the Twitterati.  Hopefully SXSW can have the same eclectic mix it has always had with perspectives from people we may not have heard from.