On Friday’s broadcast of the Greenlight Project, our radio show, my co-host, Rochelle brought up the happenings of SXSW taking place March 12th – March 21st. Prior to that, she’d mentioned it a few months back and it was the first time I’d ever heard of such an event. SXSW is apparently one of the largest interactive music, film, computer and innovative technology conferences in the United States. Celebrating it’s 23rd year, it first began in 1987 and is centered in downtown Austin every spring. This year, media entrepreneurs, techno-geeks and the worlds most innovative minds descend upon Austin, Texas for nearly 10 days of information, music and film previews, making deals, partying and discovering the next Google and Twitter empires. 23 years? Where the hell have I been? Am I the only one that has been clueless to the brilliance of SXSW?
In 1994, SXSW added film and interactive conferences making way for brands like Kodak and AT&T to use it as a branding platform while attracting a strong following among web creators and entrepreneurs like Twitter, WordPress, and Foursquare. Foursquare took to the conference this year by bringing to life its virtual city and offering the experience in 3-D, how cool is that? With its popularity growing by leaps and bounds (I recently asked my intern to get on the horn ASAP to inform us what in the devil is this thing called Foursquare), it’s becoming the new Twitter and I’d predict, with this showiness at SXSW, it’s bound to have the Twitter-world all a-buzz about its brand, thereby increasing its value 10xs over. With its focus on emerging technology, SXSW has earned the festival a reputation as a breeding ground for new ideas and creative technologies. For instance Twitter launched at SXSW in 2007 and has completely revolutionized the way we communicate online as well as has redefined the term “relationship building”. Twitter has since birthed Twilebrities we follow such as: @skydiver, @keyinfluencer, @corvida, @prsarahevans, @journchat, @ashong, @digitalsista, just to name a few, who if not all, were definitely representing and getting their ‘Brand-game’ on at SWSX.
2009 marked a significant milestone for SXSW as it brought in an estimated $110 million in 2008 to the Austin economy and broke record attendance numbers, going from 700 registrants to nearly 12,000 registrants. The film division of SXSW 2009 screened 250 films including 54 world premieres. Among the highlights are the Oscar award-winning film The Hurt Locker directed by the first woman to receive the award, Kathryn Bigelow for Best Picture and the Spike Lee directed Passing Strange among others. 2010 will surely mark for another one in history as social media mavens of diverse cultures make their mark such as Blacks In Tech, Blogging While Black, Digital Urbanites, Black Blogging Rockstars and Africa 3.0. All this hubbub will surely add to the talk of our own March Madness as many of these names will be upcoming guests on our radio show, so don’t miss out!
Although I’m a little late to this party, I plan to stay abreast and connected because I surely don’t want to be left out on the future of innovation, cutting edge technology and new business development through the connectedness of SXSW. As a buzzing business unchanging the way agencies work and play (the UnAgency), we can’t afford to be clueless to this brilliance.
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