SXSWi '11 day one: Top bold digital moments & ideas

11th Mar 2011 | Posted by Madison Craig Madison Craig's picture

Thousands of people converged on Austin, Texas today for the annual SXSW Interactive conference (SXSWi), bringing together the brightest minds in emerging technology and social media for five days of keynote speeches, panel discussions and networking parties that run from brunch to the early hours of the next morning.  If you’ve followed SXSWi in the past, you know that it’s also the time when trends are born and major announcements are made.  Remember that little site, Twitter, that launched at SXSWi ‘07 or the moment when Foursquare officially arrived on the scene during SXSWi ‘10? 

Cohn & Wolfe Digital has a team of people attending this year’s SXSWi, covering panels, interviewing thought leaders, and hitting every last happy hour – all for you!  Check Wolfe Tracking each day (or better yet, subscribe) for a daily recap of the “Top Bold Digital Moments & Ideas” from SXSW.  Here’s the rundown for today, Friday, March 11:

1. Blogging for Cash

Last year, SXSWi was all abuzz about the new FTC guidelines regulating how brands “pay” bloggers for generating content.  Bloggers were concerned that the FTC would be penalizing any blogger who might not have their disclosure exactly right.  Today, a blogger-turned-marketer said to a room full of bloggers, “Just say NO to blogging for free.”  She believes that all bloggers should get paid for their content in more than just free products and urged every blogger to ask for money in an effort to increase the credibility of the blogging community as a viable marketing tool.

2. Food Trucks

This year’s SXSW is the best yet for foodies given the emergence of new food trailers, trucks and carts in and around downtown.  Foodspotting, a mobile app that helps people find nearby eats, is partnering with Austin’s food trucks in a clever way through a Secret Menu Scavenger Hunt (challenging people to find and snap pictures of exclusive menu items for a chance to win prizes) and a Street Food Fest planned for Sunday.  Expect to hear more from us then, but if you’re here in Austin, don’t wait until Sunday to dig in to delicious trailer park grub!

3. Meetings are a must, but they might as well be good

Kevin M. Hoffman of Happy Cog lead one of the first panels of SXSWi titled, “Your Meetings Suck and it’s Your Fault.”  He wasn’t as accusatory as expected, but did provide some interesting tips and guidelines to hosting a successful meeting that doesn’t waste time or resources.  He argued that each meeting should have defined roles to guide the flow and ensure a positive and useful result, including:
- A neutral Facilitator who guides the discussion but does not contribute
- A silent Recorder who takes detailed notes, contributing to the group memory
- A designated Leader who designs the meeting and identifies goals ahead of time
Everyone Else who stays positive and contributes ideas

4. Apple Pop-up Store

When Apple announced that the iPad 2 would go on sale on Friday, March 11, techies everywhere experienced a moment of panic when they realized they wouldn’t be able to line up at their local Apple Store to buy one since they’d be at SXSWi.  Not to worry!  Apple came to the rescue with a "pop-up” Apple Store in the heart of downtown Austin, just blocks away from the convention center.  Kudos, Apple for knowing your audience and going to them!

5. NASA Hosts Tweet-ups at Shuttle Launch

As the NASA shuttle program comes to an end, NASA’s social media manager, Stephanie Schierholz, along with other panelists, discussed the large presence NASA built online in "3,2,1, Twitter: The NASA Tweetup Discovery Launch."  Astronauts tweeting from space, checking-in on Foursquare from the International Space Station and sending pictures of Earth from space to followers helped re-energize the space program’s popularity.  NASA selected 150 Twitter users from over 2,500 entries to attend NASA’s STS-133 Discovery shuttle launch, letting them meet the crew, talk to astronauts, explore NASA and gain special access at the press site.  This incredible use of social media showed the power of Twitter and Facebook and the importance of energizing online communities.

6. HERO: Highly Empowered and Resourceful Operative

According to Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler of Forrester Research, authors of “Unleashing Employees: Empower Innovation From The Ground Up,”only empowered workers can serve empowered customers.  They advocate that companies must not only help their employees feel empowered to solve problems at work, but ensure they have access to technology to act resourcefully.  This requires a supportive culture and coordination across all business functions, especially IT and senior leadership.
Today was a short day, as the conference didn’t get started until 2 p.m. CT.  But more to come tomorrow so stay tuned!


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