It’s SXSW PanelPicker season again. There are just hours left to vote for your favourite proposals for next year’s South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin – and Alex has three dandy proposals for your consideration.

We hope you’ll consider clicking your support for one, two or (make Alex’s day!) all three:

What social media analytics can’t tell you

With Beth Kanter, Virginia Heffernan and Jeremiah Owyang

Social media analytics can help you understand the active members of your social media audience, but what about the people who aren’t posting? How do you fill in the gaps in your analytics with insights into your customers’ purchases, your fans’ offline interests, or your users’ reasons for liking what they like? 

This session presents a new form of social media analysis that combines social and survey data. We’ll share the results of three demonstration projects based on social media and survey data from 6,000 respondents. We’ll show how this sheds light on some of the more mysterious corners of the social web, helping us to understand variations in online engagement, media consumption and purchasing among different types of social media users. 

Whether you’re looking for fresh insights on what makes social media users tick, or trying to expand your own monitoring and analytics program, this session will give you a first look at the latest research and research methods.

Social to sale: How social media drives purchasing

Today’s social media users love to tweet about the latest gadget, Facebook the deals they’ve turned up, and use Pinterest to catalog the design objects they’re lusting after. But how does all that social media activity translate into actual purchasing?

This panel answers that question with data from Vision Critical’s three-year investigation of the impact of social media on consumer buying habits. As featured in the July 2013 issue of the Harvard Business Review, this research provides unprecedented insight into key factors like the way consumers say social sharing influences their purchase decisions, the length of time between sharing and purchase, and where social networks diverge in how they drive spending.

These insights come from a series of seven surveys conducted over 18 months, including a study of 80,000 social media users (the world’s largest to date.) This research will be updated with a 2013 study whose results will be released at SXSW 2014.

Beyond unplugging: how to stay sane online

With Lauren Bacon, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, Ph.D. and Rohan Gunatillake

If abstinence education can’t stop teens from getting pregnant, why are we preaching digital abstinence as the cure for information overload and online distraction? In this session we’ll dig into our digital and personal toolboxes to share the practices, habits, apps and gadgets that can foster a healthy relationship to technology.

Countless articles explain how to “unplug” and take internet sabbaticals – a kind of binge/purge approach to online living. This session’s speakers will kick off the conversation with their own thoughts and suggestions for how to find a middle way, and then open the floor for your ideas and tips: How do you maintain your health, sanity, and relationships while using tech tools?

If you worry that you shouldn’t be checking your iPhone in bed, but you’re not prepared to do something as radical as actually turning it off, this session is your chance to find and share strategies and ideas for staying sane and online.