March 15, 2011

#SXSWi 2011 Day 4 Experience

Filed under: SXSW — Emily Reeves @ 7:24 am

Day four of South by Southwest is now complete. It was another long, but good day. The theme from today’s attended sessions was: always consider your end user; stop designing/developing/marketing for yourself.

Today, I attended the following sessions:

  • How to Personalize Without Being Creepy
  • Games: Tools for Mass Communication
  • Enabling New Experiences and Creating Serendipity through Check-ins
  • Felicia Day, Monday Keynote
  • The Thank You Economy
  • Anatomy of a Design Decision

Once again, I posted my raw notes from each session to this blog.  Here are my key takeaways from each of today’s sessions.

How to Personalize Without Being Creepy

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes.

Key takeaway: Ultimately, the user will appreciate and more customized and personalized experience; but the providers must be explicit on the front end as to what kind of information people are releasing and how it will be used.

People are comfortable with personalization when they can intellectually connect the dots to the origination of the data.  For example, if you buy a house and then start getting Pottery Barn catalogues, you can assume that Pottery Barn bought a list of new homeowners.  But, if you can’t make that link in some way, then it feels stalker-ish and creepy.  We have reached a new level of comfort with relinquishing control of data; users understand tools like Facebook Connect that follow them across the internet and are okay with that.

Games: Tools for Mass Communication

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes.

Key takeaway: People are playing games.  They really are.  And, if a brand creates a game that is fun to play, people will most likely play it.

If we can create places where people can play, have discussions, learn and engage, even if it is in a simulated environment, they will do it and spend time engaging with your brand.

Enabling New Experiences and Creating Serendipity through Check-ins

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes.

Key takeaway: The key to location-based technology is going to be discovery of places and experiences you might not otherwise have found either through proximity to your current location or referrals and recommendations from friends in your circle.

Location-based services will continue to evolve.  It is no longer just about finding your friends and announcing to your friends that you are at someplace that is cool.  It is going to be about discovery and expanding the users worlds.

Felicia Day, Monday Keynote

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes.

Key takeaway: If there is something you dream of doing, do it yourself.  Don’t wait on someone to invite you to do it.  Learn from your mistakes and make yourself better.

Actually, there was a lot more to Felicia Day’s keynote interview.  Day created an online web show that has taken off and grown arms and legs, thereby allowing her to create even more web shows and a production company.  And she did all of it by jumping in and figuring stuff out.  Along the way, she became great at online communications campaigns.  In her opinion, effective communications come from revealing a personality: online personalities are getting a ton of hits because people emotionally connect to the people.

The Thank You Economy

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes.

Key takeaway: With social media we are increasing one-to-one human interactions and it is time for marketers to stop using it as a “push” channel.  We need to engage in human activity.

This was by far the best presentation of the day.  Gary Vaynerchuk is a highly dynamic speaker: smart, funny and successful.  I promptly purchased his book after the event and will probably be recommending it to all my co-workers and clients.

Quote of the session:

“Everyone in social media today acts like a 19 year old dude: they try to close too fast. You have to build a relationship and build context. There is no such thing as a social media campaign. A social media campaign is a one night stand. You have to build the relationship.”

Anatomy of a Design Decision

Here is a link to the official session description and here is a link to my raw notes.

Key takeaway: When designing, style guides don’t work.  Style guides prevent thinking and the best design includes thinking.

The speaker walked through several different styles of user interface design (Self Design, Unintentional Design, Genius Design, Activity-Focused Design, Experience-Focused Design).  He noted that all are valid, depending on the the end use of a site.

One more day to go.  I think I am getting close to information overload, which is a good feeling.

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