SXSW Interactive Festival

“An incubator of cutting-edge technologies, the SXSW® Interactive Festival brings together the world’s most creative web developers, designers, bloggers, wireless innovators, content producers, programmers, widget inventors and new media entrepreneurs. Five days of captivating keynote presentations and provocative panel sessions provide hands-on training as well as big-picture analysis of the future of this industry.”

I was thrilled to be a member of the Campaign Consultation team that attended SXSWi 2010. I got a chance to network with people I often only “talk” to online and to learn from the biggest and the brightest minds in the digital space. Having had the time to digest all that I learned I am walking away with three major takeaways from my experience at SXSWi:

  1. There is still a place for good story telling online and it is the foundation for communication. However, online, good stories are a three-way street; they include the storyteller, the audience and in third place, a shared experience together.
  2. Don’t be afraid of negative responses. People are going to talk about you anyway so you might as well know what they are saying. Then ask yourself, are you willing to change when you get feedback, be it negative or positive? We’re very use to being online but you have to get out and talk to people, even if they are your competition.
  3. Good conversation demands good content strategy. Good content strategy can help you prioritize communication goals to ensure consistency. Ask, what are you trying to communicate, why you are doing a particular strategy and what the value will be for you and your customers.

Good story telling, seeking feedback and good conversation… not something you would expect to hear from a group of people who live, work and play online as I do. How refreshing to know that the human element is not dead in Social Media; in fact, we need it to survive in the digital space. I would have never drawn this conclusion before SXSWi but I’m happy to say humans are still running the show and we are in control. Let’s see what next year brings!

by: Danielle Ricks, Social Media Specialist