SXSW Recap: Day 4

16 Mar

Day 4…Monday. After the Sunday Slump everything starts anew. I did pretty well, focusing on responsible topics and staying away from celebrities (although not altogether out of the spotlight as you will see).

Content Shock: The Future of Social Media…this was one of those “history of the internet and where are we going” type panels, which was fun to attend. We went all the way back to the dawn of time…er, dial-up and the ever-constant trend is of course creating content. Experts estimate that in the next 6 years the amount of content on the internet will increase 600%. We will have 6 internets in 6 years! The challenge is to filter this into what we want to consume, and the challenge for marketers is rise above all this noise. Not easy, but exciting.

Edward Snowden was up next with a virtual interview from somewhere in Russia. The interviewer joked that the video might be bad because Snowden was hiding behind 7 proxies…which I think was a joke but actually maybe not. He was somewhere in Moscow. Anyway, Snowden chose SXSW as his first interview because he believed those in the building and designing of technology should be on the forefront of change for privacy. Most apps and websites DON’T do a great job of protecting our privacy. This could change if companies simply made it a priority. After Snowden leaked his first papers, Google, Yahoo, and Apple all immediately made their sites more secure…something that should have been done eons ago. The odd part of this was he was speaking to a room full of people building apps that probably require us to sign into Facebook to connect to more people to get more users for the app. To track our location. To see our accounts. I’m not totally sure how many people in the room were interested in our society’s general level of privacy, but it was interesting nonetheless.

Internet Marketing in the Age of the Superfan was up next…mostly again focusing on TV and movies. There are ginormous clusters of fans for shows and movies that I cannot wrap my head around. I will admit, I check out some Glee fan sites to see what fans say about the show (and its steady decline into something…lame), and I have been a member of a group of Mary Chapin Carpenter fans since the AOL days, but I am not an active participant in any group really. As the panelists pointed out, everyone is a superfan of something. An author, a kitchen appliance, a festival, a TV show…whatever. If it’s a thing that supplies a lot of content, then fans get to take that content and regurgiate it and mess with it…hence…Tumblr. So many GIFs and fanfiction sites and such. The best point from the panel is that while they love it when fans repost content from the show or movie, providing content is a GIFT, not an obligation. Sometimes I get caught up in how many times people share a new video we put out there and I need to remember…it’s for consumption, and the fanbase is not our PR company. Good perspective.

The last panel I went to was a jam packed one about viral videos. I think it was packed because everyone wants to know how to make them, or at least hear how some were made. What I did not expect was that this was just a panel full of people from one marketing company in the UK showing us their very slick, very expensive “trailer” videos that happened to go viral. I left early because I figured someone else could use my spot and I wasn’t getting anything useful. Also I was tired.

It was the home stretch…

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