SXSW….Beyond the Parties

Having never been to the South by Southwest conference (aka SXSW), it’s difficult to get a handle on it. It’s an annual gathering of the leading digital players who gather to socialize/network and, perhaps, take in a few keynotes or panels. It seems that anyone who’s anyone within the digital world has now descended on Austin, Tx.

It’s also the place in which Twitter burst onto the scene in 2007, and where Foursquare (aka the next Twitter) failed to live up to expectations. In many ways, SXSW has become the Super Bowl for the digital industry – a time when people can come together to celebrate, learn about the newest trends and the most exciting start-ups, and, of course, party while obstensibily “working”.

Just out of curiosity, we thought it would be interesting to put the spotlight on the chatter and activity happening at SXSW by using Sysomos MAP and the query “SXSW” or “South by Southwest conference”. From March 11, there have been 14,226 blog posts, 4,367 news articles and 235,558 tweets.

So what are people talking about? Our query produced the following BuzzGraph, which displays the leading keywords on blogs.

Not surprising, Austin is the most active keyword. There are strong links to “festival”, “interactive” (which is the digital part of the conference), “startup”, “Foursquare” and “Groupme”, a group messaging service that unveiled a new feature just before the conference began. Groupme also scored points among SXSW attendees by serving free outside the convention centre.

Within the TwitterSphere, “Austin” was the most active keywords with strong links to “party” (no surprise there!), “rsvp” (again, parties dominate the scene), and “meetup” (aka parties).

To be honest, the results aren’t that surprising given the social nature of SXSW and the fact it is, after all, the weekend when socializing dominates the scene. It will be interesting to see if any news – perhaps the much-speculated launch of a new social network from Google called Google Circles, manages to capture the spotlight.

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