3 Key Takeaways from SXSW
Each year, social media professionals from across the world descend on SXSW. In recent years it’s gotten so big, with hundreds of panels, and over 2,500 speakers, that it’s difficult to really keep up with the “big” trends for the year. Here are our top three key takeaways from SXSW Interactive 2012.
Ambient social networking isn’t becoming mainstream any time soon. Highlight, Banjo, Sonar, Glancee, and their ilk are interesting concepts, combining all of the public data that we put out, and connecting us with people nearby our location that we have things in common with SOUNDS like a good idea, until you try to use it. “I don’t understand the social norms around it, so I’ve never messaged anyone, because it feels weird,” said Eric Leist, of the About Foursquare Podcast. “The idea is that if I’m across the country, and someone I went to college with is nearby, I get a notification because that’s relevant to me. But that’s not how it’s working here,” he explained, saying that the unusually connected crowd of attendees made finding real connections difficult or impossible.
There aren’t any readily available ways to monetize this, and a quick search on twitter shows that many, women in particular, feel that the apps are way more creepy than useful. I’d look for less socially awkward versions of these tools to make their way into Facebook and Foursquare in the future.
- Big Data is the future of marketing, and we’re in for an interesting ride. We throw off an incredible amount of trackable data every day. From location data on our smart phone, to products we like on Facebook, to feelings about our friends and relationships, combining all of that data into an intelligent profile is a gold mine for marketers. The recent story of how Target knew a girl was pregnant before anyone else, based on behavioral data it collected, was a hot topic. Clearly, laws in the works around data privacy, and our individual rights to not be tracked are going to shape the marketing practices of the future, but there is little doubt that the combination of our increased digital sharing, and our increased ability to intelligently track large sets of data is going to make personalized recommendations more powerful than ever.
- Don’t believe the critics – Location is not dead, and there’s no such thing as social sharing fatigue. Many note the reduced volume of text-based Facebook updates as proof that we’re moving away from social sharing, as a whole. However, we’re sharing more information now than ever, we’re just doing it in ways that are more natural than a text-based status update. Pinterest, Instagram, and others are providing us new ways to share our experiences, and are here to stay. The Check-In may very well be on its way out, which may mean no more GAP commercials starring @Dens, but the value of the platform, and location-based systems in general, has never been stronger. Social, mobile, and location are now deeply connected, and Foursquare isn’t going anywhere.
Did you find something else noteworthy at SXSW? Help us build a list of the best finds at SXSW 2012.