SXSW Interactive wrapped up this week to make way for the music portion of the festival in Austin, and the conference continues to garner much online chatter over the social media sphere. Twitter was the overwhelming leader in social at SXSW, driving 93% of the conversation, while Facebook and blogs contributed 3% each. A majority of social media comments came from people from California, New York, and Texas (19%, 18%, and 17%, respectively). There were nearly 860,000 tweets about events, speakers, and announcements that occurred during SXSWi. Major happenings include Pinterest co-founder Ben Silbermann announcing the rollout of the website’s new profile pages this week, as well as an iPad app and a public API on the way. The controversial Homeless Hotspots program is still trending over social media networks.
Each year thousands of digital creatives attend the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, eagerly anticipating new technologies and mobile apps to be introduced. In 2007, Twitter was the breakout social media app that presented real time micro-blogging to the world. Location-based social media platforms like Foursquare and Gowalla were all the rage in 2009 and 2010. Last year, SXSW Interactive introduced group messaging apps Fast Society, Beluga, and GroupMe which allow for group texting, photo sharing, and location sharing. So the million dollar question is; what are the biggest trends for 2012?
The annual South By Southwest Interactive festival is underway, featuring presentations on interactive marketing, cutting edge technology, and social media marketing from industry leaders. One of the biggest news stories to come out of the conference this year is the “Homeless Hotspots” initiative. As part of a charitable marketing program, advertising agency BBH New York paid 13 people from a homeless shelter to wear mobile Wi-Fi devices and T-shirts that read “I am a 4G Hotspot.” The homeless people were strategically placed around the city of Austin during SXSW Interactive to offer 4G internet access to festival attendees. Attendees were encouraged to donate $2 for every 15 minutes they spent online. Donations were collected via PayPal and all proceeds went directly to the person at that “Homeless Hotspot.” Users who visited the website could track the location of each homeless hotspot and learn some information about the person wearing it. The program was intended to be a modernized version of the Street Newspaper model, a newspaper created and sold by homeless people for their benefit.