The Social Fragmentation of SXSW [via All Things Digital / @lizgannes]

Austin’s annual South By Southwest Interactive conference is bigger and glitzier than ever. Physically and virtually–even though it seems more fragmented this year.

But that’s not to say that it’s not full of lines and crowds as usual at SXSW.

Organizers of event, which started Friday and runs through Tuesday, said they expect a 30 to 40 percent increase in attendance from 2010′s 14,000 attendees.

SXSW has in recent years acquired a reputation as an ideal environment for launching social technology products, because it’s such a concentrated hotbed of socializing by people with smartphones.

But, honestly, it’s such a concentrated hotbed of socializing, these apps seem barely necessary.

Just walk around the streets and you’ll find relevant people and friends. In fact, schedule planning and friend finding are so fragmented across all these different apps, they’re almost superfluous.

Read full article at All Things Digital

9 Essential Apps for SXSW and Beyond [via @Wired]

Wired’s SXSW crew has pieced together a survival kit consisting of a handful of mobile apps designed to keep you on time, in the know and entertained.

Some are specific to the annual conference in Austin, Texas, which in past years has served as a launch pad for Twitter and other heavy hitters. Others will serve you well beyond Austin’s city limits.

Read the full article on Wired (in short, it recommends SXSW Go, Beluga, Lanyrd, Uber, Instagram, Sched, Foodspotting, Plancast and Shazam).

At South by Southwest 2011… and How to Rawk It (#sxsw11)

I‘m now in Austin, Texas, a city that morphs into a huge city-venue to host both the official and unofficial events around South by Southwest.

Today (March 11th) I’ll be speaking in the How to Rawk SXSW panel together with Christine Auten, jbrotherlove, Kris Krug, Mark Couvillion and Neil Petty. (I hope not to disappoint: my new job in Madrid and a series of other recent personal events have prevented me to prepare as well as I would have liked… Though I realize that’s a lame excuse anyway).

My contribution to the panel will follow more or less these lines:

SXSW attracts people from all over the world and sometimes it’s the cultural details that make a difference. From the point of view of an argentinean turned italian turned japanese turned dutch and now spanish, discover which differences and similarities you should consider to make the most out of the event. Also,  let’s discuss about the gadgets and apps that will help you navigate the tons of content and relate with the thousands of fellow attendees.

Last year I came to SXSW and got a lot of ideas for articles worth sharing on Conference Basics, but for one reason or the other, most of it stayed in draft phase somewhere in the middle.

This year I come with the purpose of reducing the time-to-market of my South-by inspired blogposts and am saying so now so that I can’t hide later on. Will be tagging them with SXSW11 so that you can browse them all together in the end.

SXSW Panel Proposal – The Future of Conferences: Designing Experiences

I want you
Your vote can take me to SXSW '11

Your vote can take me to SXSW! South by Southwest, the festival dedicated to music, film and interactive technology, gives the opportunity to members of the community to propose panel sessions that will be then exposed to a ponderated voting round by the staff (30% weight on the final decision), the board (40%) and the members themselves (30%).

After my positive experience running the workshop on “The Future of Conferences” at the Lift Conference in Geneva, I decided to up the ante and propose a full session on the new paradigm of conferences which are still governed by solutions to problems from the past.

Visit and vote my proposal here:

Description of the panel proposal:

Until recently, organizing a good event consisted in getting a room, a bunch of speakers and an audience. The scarcity of access to quality or updated content was enough a motivator to make people meet. Now, thanks to the Internet we are meeting (physically) more than ever, but our main drive has changed. The focus has moved to offering a remarkable experience. While content is still important, your event or conference has to also be useful, relevant and/or entertaining.

Event organizers have to bring new abilities to the room and concentrate in the crossroads of interaction design, psychology, technology and customer service. Do you still need a big screen? Do you need to have all the attendees or event the speakers in the same room to generate positive interaction? How important is it to have a functional venue, and iPhone app or offer basic commodities like Internet access, a cheap bag full of meaningless (for the attendee) SWAG or free coffee?

Together we’ll explore some of the challenges and possible solutions to organizing this new breed of events that embrace modern technology and create a new kind of experience.

My presentation aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What has changed in the world of live events?
  2. How can interaction and experience design be applied to live events?
  3. Is content still the supreme driver in live events?
  4. Which constrains from live events have changed and how should we address them?
  5. How to apply technology (Internet, mobile, RFID, etc), social networking and other advancements to events?