SXSW Interactive is where the digital world collides in the grandest display of technology, innovation and absolute geeked-out nerdiness (the cool kind, of course). For those who have not been, it’s a great way to learn about the latest and greatest in the technology space while rubbing elbows with interesting characters representing everything from digital marketers, UX experts, start-up entrepreneurs and even a few internet celebrities.
To recap my time representing Team Marketwave at SXSW Interactive, here are a few of the biggest trends I noticed.
Privacy and the Internet
Recent events have shed light on the growing importance of privacy and the Internet, and this proved to be a hot topic at SXSW. From the sessions themselves to conversation amongst SXSWers, everyone was talking about Internet privacy. Appearances made by provocateurs of privacy, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden, made headlines as they both telecast in from remote locations. I attended a particularly interesting session called “The New Digital Age” in which Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen talked about the role of the Internet and its influence in intense geo-political situations like Syria. It was interesting to hear the work Google is doing to protect the freedom of an unedited, unrestrained Internet.
Using Technology to Influence Change
There were plenty of sessions featuring topics about the use of technology to influence and change behavior. Advances in persuasive technology and behaviorally-driven design beliefs have enabled companies like Mint.com to create software products that influence the way users treat and view their personal finance decisions. The idea of shaping interactions that improve consumers’ lives and the daily decisions we all make fascinates me. Rightly so, there was plenty of buzz around this topic all weekend.
Celebrity in the Digital Age
You can’t talk about SXSW Interactive and not mention the treasure trove of celebrity appearances and rendezvous. From Andy Cohen to Kevin Bacon and even Grumpy Cat, there were plenty of opportunities to spot both celebrities and Internet sensations, alike. The strong presence of celebrities at SXSW shows the importance of influencers in the interactive space.
I’d love to hear from some fellow SXSWers. What sessions did you like? What did you take away from SXSW? What were your favorite parts?