SXSW is over ... and I'm not going to lie, I'm enjoying the decrease in downtown traffic and increase in cell signal. Overall though, I had a blast at SXSWi and was impressed with this year's line up.
The five days of Interactive were packed with wall-to-wall sessions and inspiring keynotes. The stand out keynote for me was Felicia Day, the creator and star of The Guild. I learned she is a fellow U.T. alum, math major and class valedictorian! Felicia talked about how she harnesses the power of social media to build her show and how others can do the same. She had a quirky way of getting her points across. I think a crowd favorite was "your campaign should not be a booty call; it's a long term relationship." I believe her point here is that you should be engaging fans on an ongoing basis, and not just when you need their money or support.
My favorite session I attended was, "The Future of Storytelling: DEXTER Fans Play Killer." The panel was made up of the Dexter ARG "alternate reality game," team. Howard Goldkrand, director of Innovations Modernista!, really honed in on transmedia storytelling, stating "... if done right, creates a sense of community and personal experience." He also urged the audience to think about content in context. Of course having die-hard fans (literally) didn't hurt the success of their campaign either!
As my colleague Austin predicted, location-based services was a major topic. I especially enjoyed Foursquare's Kick Off party at Moltov and all the free swag. A location-based app that generated some buzz was SCVNGR. The app is a real world location-gaming service, which is part game, part new business model for daily deals. The company is hoping to compete with Groupon and Living Social.
Cloud computing was another popular topic, with speakers from VMWare, Salesforce.com and Google all making appearances at sessions. The overall message was that the cloud is an ever-evolving technology, which enables companies in the corporate or start-up phase to gain virtual computing access on the cheap.