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SXSW Wrap-Up

This was my first SXSW interactive and it won’t be my last. I’ve been to other multi-day conferences, but lets just say that SXSW is the Super Bowl of interactive conferences. I overheard that more than 20,000 people attended the interactive portion of SXSW. They also have a film and music version as well going on at the same time.

It’s always a breath of fresh air to get away from the Minneapolis social media scene. Don’t get me wrong, I love what we have here in Minneapolis but I get tired of hearing the same back-slapping from the same people over and over. It’s because of this that I “flush” my twitter following every few months to get new perspectives and voices.

The term that I learned this weekend is dogfooding.

Eating your own dog food, also called dogfooding, is when a company (usually, a software company) uses the products that it make. The idea behind “eating your own dog food” is that if you expect customers to buy your products, you should also be willing to use them.

The reason I believe in social media and it’s benefits is because I “eat my own dog food”. I see it work in my life and the power it brings and will test every new app, strategy, tactic, etc. personally before I would ever recommend it to a client.

Ok….back to SXSW

One thing that was amazing was seeing the power of location based applications in the microcosm of SXSW. I make contact every day on Twitter, Facebook, at conferences, reading blogs, podcasts, etc. Some of these “friends” are virtual in nature and some are relationships that are “fly-bys”. A few examples of location based experiences from this week: I checked in on Facebook and connected with a friend from college that is living in Austin that I have not seen since 1991. I also found out that a friend from grad school was in town after I updated my Facebook status. She is now working PR for CBS and she got me into a private party and we caught up after not seeing each other since 1996. I made many connections on Foursquare. I connected with a friend from Boulder that we talk on the phone with every few months and chat on Twitter all the time. This is a guy who I met once and instantly formed a virtual and in-person relationship with. Another person who I met once at a CMO conference years ago checked in on Foursquare and we caught up over coffee this morning. She ended up being in one of the sessions I was attending and introduced me to a new connection who leads the social media efforts at Intel.

As I write this someone on the plane who I have not met in person just sent me a message on Twitter saying “I’m watching you blog” right now.

Is it creepy? Maybe to some, but for me it brings the virtual to reality.

The first day I got here I was at ignite and Guy Kawasaki tweeted to join Loopt because they were giving away stuff all over town. I downloaded the app and it recognizes where you are and lets you know of free stuff going on. On my way to one of the sessions across town I got a message saying “free breakfast burritos” I clicked it and went to the location and received free breakfast two days in a row. Two other times I was in the right place at the right time and got two books. So, would you sign up for a location based service if it rewarded you and told you where deals were around you? Is that too creepy for you? For me it’s amazing and the more it learns about you the more relevant the offers and freebies get. So, I’m not afraid to share my online habits.

The big issue right now is that there are so many location apps that you have to “check-in” on multiple apps to see who is where and where the deal is and what the recommendations are. My feeling is that the “killer app” will come out that will aggregate these “check-ins” for you or the location based apps will shake-out to two or three. It’s unrealistic to expect users to open 6-10 applications to “check-in”.

I plan to blog a lot more in the new few weeks and my battery is dieing as I’m using GoGo free internet on the plane.

For more insight from my trip visit Risdall Marketing Pie for additional posts.