One of the largest entrepreneurial events, the “March break for geeks”, is currently occuring in Austin, Texas - 2012 South by South West Interactive, also known in social circles as SXSW. SXSW, which started as a small festival in the late '80s to promote Austin's music scene, has ballooned into a film, tech and music festival extravaganza that goes for 10 days and draws at least 50,000+ visitors. In terms of intellectual clout, the festival pulls above its weight. Twitter, Foursquare and many more innovative startups made their debuts at SXSW and this is where the web industry announces itself to the world. With so many events on hand and waiting lines being over 2 hours long for some of the events, it is hard to grasp how someone gets a handle on some of the trends seen at this years SXSW. Tweets, blogs, storyfied experiences are being put together at records speeds ranging from topics such as Lean UX, Lean Startup, mobile geo-location, gamification, design and social integration, consolidation of information, how to jointly fix the economy by putting all the bright minds together, best blend of all elements and everyting coming together. However if there one trend that is sticking out this year it is “social discovery”.
Leveraging mRank which calculates the amount of buzz a particular term has on the social web by analyzing conversations across Twitter, Facebook and blogs the top categories of the apps that are creating the most “buzz” are:
The most talked about app at SXSW. Highlight gives you a sixth sense about the world around you, showing you hidden connections and making your day more fun. Highlight adds a layer of awareness to the daily act of passing people. After users connect their Facebook profiles, it pushes their basic information to other people who use the app. Users can choose to make their information accessible to either everyone or friends of friends. The app only makes the connection if the two parties have something in common. Imagine walking into a venue and discovering who nearby shares the same interests as you? This is what Highlight will provide.
The smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love. Path, a photo-sharing app has released "Version 1.5" of their iPhone app which allows users to share photos on Facebook, whereas previously they were limited to a Path friends list--which is capped at 50 people. They can be selected to be visible either only to members of that user's Path friends list or to the user's Facebook friends as a whole. The Path interface has also been cleaned up a bit, using an algorithm to determine "top friends" as well as peppering the main activity feed with actions other than photos--friends' comments, views, and reactions to the individual user's photos. In addition, Path has added a new feature called "Lenses" so that users can tweak their photos with artsy filters much in the way that they would do with the Instagram app
If you haven’t heard of Grandstand, now is a good time to start paying attention. For those not familiar with this new up-and-comer, Grandstand takes a refreshingly clever approach to social media; specifically the dynamic of social interactions. By gamifying the Foursquare API, the idea of using check-ins as a way to interact with visitors and play a game at the same time, creating both a unique experience for customers as well as developing social media brand awareness on the client’s side. It’s a great ideas where customers get rewarded for tweets, check-ins and likes with sponsored prizes, and the client will receive more engagement and brand awareness of their company or product.
Glancee is a mobile app that helps you discover and connect with new interesting people around you. Glancee's very simple. It looks for people nearby who have friends in common with you or who share the same interests. And it makes it easy to discover the same connections and start a conversation with them. So it's easy to find someone new that you don't know but that we think you would enjoy meeting.
Shapeways.com is a 3D marketplace and community and is creating around 30,000 objects a month, using a number of different materials, including ceramic or stainless steel for household goods, and sterling silver for higher end creations. You can even order glass creations in multiple colors. In order to keep up with demand, the company expects to double its employee roster by mid-2012, as well as open a New York production facility to keep costs down for shipping.
Social discovery Sonar is a mobile app that uncovers the connections you share with people nearby. It's the easiest way to discover friends at cafes, parks, meetups & conferences. Sonar is now expanding to show you just those people close to your current location and then ranking them by relevancy. Before, Sonar showed its results first as a list of places, which you would then tap into to see its people recommendations. Going forward, the app is defaulting to a people list which starts with your friends, then shows you other relevant folks nearby. It is configurable so not too worry, the flexibility on how you discover others is still there.
Pixable is your photo inbox. Discover and enjoy the best photos shared by your friends. Pixable is an app that sorts images from your Facebook and Twitter feeds into piles such as “Top of the Day,” “New on Twitter” and “New Profile Pics,” making them easy to view and interact with.
Name your price for anything and get it from people nearby. Free to post; pay only when you get what you want. Zaarly, the much buzzed about HTML 5 mobile app that connects buyers and sellers in a localized market place With Zaarly people who want things and people who want to provide services are brought together in an unprecedented way, with the focus on the buyer’s needs as opposed to the sellers. Buyers post what they want and how much they’re willing to pay and sellers can log in to Zaarly view the needs and prices of tasks around them. Sellers bid for the tasks, and the buyer chooses the best one, with Zaarly connecting the two via an anonymous Twilio-powered phone number.
TaskRabbits are your own personal assistants cleaning your home, delivering groceries, running errands, building IKEA furniture, and so much more. TaskRabbit works by providing its users with a crowdsourced pool of able service providers – called “TaskRabbits” – to complete both everyday and skilled tasks.
Meexo is a online dating app with a twist. By doing things like blocking your Facebook friends so you don't get suggested to people you already know and ensures those in your contacts are also never suggested. Some refer to Meexo as the Pandora of online dating, meaning that the more you use it, the more the app knows about — and adjusts to — the person that you are and the kind of person you'd likely be interested in. It also leverages gamiifcation and virtual currencies to aid in the entire dating process.
With that said, the hottest social topic to probably emerge in 2012 privacy. Where in the past users had actively “checked in” into places, we now have mobile applications that continually discover your location and broadcast it, also referred to "ambient social networking." How comfortable will users be with this and how business will start leveraging some of these advanced social/mobile geo-location services remains to be seen but nonetheless some of these new applications are providing a glimpse into the future and what is to come.
If you want to follow the event there are several ways to do so:
allows you to monitor the most relevant realtime tweets of the events.
Talk and live links to the various streams can be found at sxsw.com/interactive/live
The SXSW Newspaper can be viewed here paper.li/cyberjournalist/1331308876
If you are interested in following panels and individuals of interest then following them via hashtags (each panel discussion has its own unique hashtag as well so you can follow those via Twitter) then go to schedule.sxsw.com/2012/
If you are into storyfied social curation then a central place to go to for SXSW coverage is storify.com/topics/sxsw-2012