SXSW Day 4: Building momentum with Snapchat, viral content, mobile and more

Monday of SXSW sometimes sees a lull as some of the big splashy parties and events have ended. But, for me, Monday was super productive.

Today, I’ll highlight sessions and brands that were moving things forward.

1. Snapchat
I started off the morning in a session called “That Snapchatter Makes More Than You.” While the session covered much more than just Snapchat, the popular app has definitely continued to win at SXSW.

In the weeks leading up to SXSW, Snapchat announced new features, such as the ability to create and purchase filters for a specific geofence. On the right are a couple of examples of party or event specific filters that I tried out. Many predict this function to pop up for weddings, smaller neighborhoods and elsewhere. 

2. Viral Content
Monday afternoon, I joined a popular panel called “Beyond the Listicle: Discussing the Science of Virality.” Speakers from Northeastern University, Upworthy, Google and Zoe Media Group discussed why that one meme just won’t get out of your newsfeed, and how humor can prevent negative content from going viral. A great example is Jimmy Kimmel’s series “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets.” Viral content will continue to have momentum and will shift with the audience that it is trying to reach. 

3. Innovation for Mobile
B. Bonin Bough of Mondelez International and Oreo marketing fame spoke on how to take big ideas to companies and try to create dragons, rather than unicorns. Unicorn companies are start-ups that have exceeded valuation of over $1 billion.

Bough’s talk highlighted how mobile technology is engrained with our future and will continue to have momentum. Companies as well as individuals need to continue to push this, innovate and think mobile first.

While it may be tempting to jump off to a startup, Bough explained that those who bring innovative ideas to their companies will see success and become leaders in those companies. 

4. Personalized Experiences
One of many brand activations in the downtown block was IBM Cognitive Studio. I really enjoyed this as I felt IBM understood the SXSW audience. To begin, you answer a short survey. Upon entering, your customized sensor wristband alerts team members to who you are and your answers. At the bar, “Watson” gives you a drink recommendation, and at the VR Cycling station, “Watson” recommends a scene for you. (Mine was off-roading.)

A few other fun tidbits included an accessibility workshop for developers that highlighted how to code for physical disabilities but also for situational disabilities such as a loud room. Probably my favorite piece was the robot rock-paper-scissors challenge. And for those data nerds, a screen revealed the number of wins and losses for the robot in addition to its most popular moves. 

5. Small Connections
My final piece of momentum for the day was making small connections. I sat in on the “What’s Buzzing at SXSW” with Hugh Forrest, director of the SXSW Interactive Festival, in which he discussed where the conference has been, where it is today and where it’s going. His biggest piece of advice was to make small connections, as they could turn into big movements.

Forrest told us that 10 years ago, he made a small connection with President Obama. That small connection led to big things. This year, Obama spoke at the conference. You never know what connections can bring, and at an event like this, you never know who you’re sitting next to.

One day left, and we’ll try and make the most of it!

See more at Barkley’s blog and read Cohen’s first three dispatches (Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3).

Categories: News