Apr 09, 2013

Social Media Club NYC Recap: A NXNE Roundup of SXSW

The Social Media Club NYC event began with a quick discussion of any new tools or websites in the social media industry, as per usual.

  • Vine, the mobile app by Twitter, is an amazing tool and you can do a lot of things in a six-second video. Even Tribeca Film Festival is holding a Vine competition.
  • Shutterstock introduced Spectrum, which is a tool that categorizes and catalogs all of their images by color.
  • TaskRabbit is a helpful tool for making reservations and completing errands.
  • Google Reader is shutting down. However, Listly has a crowdsourced list of RSS readers instead of Google Reader. And so far, Feedly has been the most popular option and has received the most attention.
  • There is a new app called Mailbox that is replacing Apple Mail. This app doesn’t help if you like to put your stuff into labels and organize your email, but it is useful if you just want to get rid of mail. Warning: There is a very long list of people waiting to download the app.
  • Another email app called BirdsEye was built specifically for tablet use, and is based on your Gmail.
  • Tempo app connects with your accounts and shows information about your schedule for the day in either a calendar or list view. It is a very useful tool if you have a meeting, because it will provide you with all the information for that meeting on one screen.

Past SXSW Experience

  • It was interesting to see how SXSW had a dedicated health track. It was especially interesting how everyone was embracing Quantified Self-Improvement. Quantified Self-Improvement is self-tracking by using data for a specific purpose, i.e., tracking your sleep pattern, steps taken, foods eaten.
  • Great show for everyone to get together and learn about the different trends.

This Year’s SXSW Experience

  • A lot of the show is about meeting up with people on the fly. It is difficult to plan prior to the event and the sessions are very booked. You need to make sure to get to the sessions 30-60 minutes before each one.
  • You meet many great people at the show, especially in places that are a little quieter and less crowded.
  • There is something for everyone at the show, and you can make it what you want it to be.
  • Here is a post on how to prepare for SXSW by Tim McDonald, community manager at HuffPost live: bit.ly/15L11fj
  • If you look at SXSW as a festival vs. conference and go for the people, then it is a great place to go. McDonald said, “It is the utopia of networking.”

What Trends Were Present at SXSW

  • MakerBot: Many people talked about MakerBot, which is a 3D printing device that lets your print 3D shapes in plastic. MakerBot comes with many pre-made shapes and things that you can utilize as well as easy 3D tools.
  • Google Glass: People talked about Google Glasses, but nobody saw any pairs at the show. About Google Glass: Google’s Glasses allow for an unobtrusive interactive experience. The glasses make it possible to be engaged in the moment while experiencing the digital aspect of it. Mark Hurst wrote a post about the dangers of Google Glasses, which discusses another side to these glasses. Watch this video to learn more about Google Glass:bit.ly/X6tgXy
  • Multimedia Screens: There were unique things going on with multimedia screens and view prompting based on various social actions. For example, the Twitter party had screens up on a wall and you could make a rocketship fly by if you tweeted a specific hashtag.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC): There was a lot of NFC at the show. Samsung was really promoting NFC, and they set it up so you could use it to get into VIP and some of the lounge parties.
  • Car Service Apps: Uber and SideCar are services you can use to “virtual hail” to get a car to pick you up, and they were big at the show. The HAIL A CAB™ app was another great service which enabled you to find a nearby taxi.
  • Quantified Self: An example of Quantified Self is Fitbit. The added social aspect of these apps and devices help reinforce the tracking of your heath, which can be a good type of social pressure that helps you stay on track. Social is a big part of medical adherence, so tracking of health can really help enable people digitally.
  • Memes: The Grumpy Cat hashtag trended more than anything else that was tech-based. The obsession with memes may come from people automatically connecting because they all recognize the meme. Also, memes are something anyone can do and start.
  • People were often looking for places to charge their devices at the show. There were lounges at the show where you could charge up. In addition, one solution for this issue are the Duracell portable power packs.

Trends Not Seen at SXSW

  • There were no Windows tablets seen at the show.
  • The Leap Motion Controller is a company that creates a gesture-based interface for computers, and the product wasn’t really seen at SXSW.
  • There wasn’t anything different mentioned at the show regarding Social TV. Social should be an integral part for reality TV shows, but it really isn’t.

Other Interesting Discussions from the SMCNYC Event

  • Warby Parker allows you to buy glasses and you are also buying glasses for someone in the developing world. The glasses, which are typically plastic, come to you in the mail and you can chose a pair you like from the 3-5 options. You send the other ones back. They even have a Web interface where you take a picture of yourself and you can see how you look in the different frames before you even order.
  • Pebble is a watch that connects to your Android or iPhone, and one of things it does is show you who is calling when a call comes through and lets you answer on your watch. You basically don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket because you have the watch on your wrist. It pairs with your phone and uses its data. It is another alternate display.
  • There is a privacy issue where people don’t read any “terms and conditions,” and then this causes a real fear in users over their lack of privacy. For example, loyalty cards can track what you bought and where you bought your items, but at the same it is purposeful for marketing. If you want to see who is tracking you in real-time you can download a Firefox add-on called Collusion. This add-on will tell you everywhere and to who you’re information is being reported after visiting a site. You can also use Private Internet Access, which will make the VPN appear in nine different countries and zones in the U.S. It tunnels your IP address to another place in the world and comes out the other side. The Onion Router (TOR) is another service that makes it difficult to track your information.

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images courtesy of Stephanie Grayson

Written by Polina Opelbaum, editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.  To read more from Polina, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.

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