With SXSW 2013 entering its final days, four recurring themes have emerged from the countless panel sessions, keynotes and conversations from across downtown Austin.
If SXSW attendees, panelists and the media and bloggers that cover the event are any indicator, the big social platforms that dominate today (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) are making it extremely difficult for the 'next big thing' to catch on. Companies and consumers are tired of constantly chasing the next new thing and many brands simply don't have the time and resources to build communities across multiple platforms.
Meanwhile, at the 'Secret Dangers of Online Influencer Marketing' session a question was posed around whether or not we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of Facebook. Panelist Debra Kaye agreed and even suggested Facebook is rapidly going the way of email for many, particularly younger generations.
Not to be outdone, various media reports and conversations also referenced app fatigue. There is a general consensus among the SXSW digerati that there are simply too many apps, many of which do similar things, and people have had enough. The simple fact is that any new app that's looking to stand out from the crowd has a significantly higher bar to get over than in the past.
Big data is a discussion that has been around for some time, but it had a notable presence at SXSW in 2013. Multiple brands discussed big data and its impact on everything from business to advertising and beyond. Editors and writers from The Wall Street Journal talked about how data is changing the nature of news and reporting and Nate Silver was on-hand to provide his point-of-view on the topic. The common theme: big data has a long way to go, though its promise and opportunity are enormous.
Renting vs. Owning
No, not residential real estate. There were multiple discussions around the need for brands to fully own a property (or properties) that is used for content marketing and community building.
Social media channels are "rented" properties. You must have your own real estate (blog, yes even a website) #sxsw — Carie Lewis (@cariegrls) March 9, 2013
It seems many marketers are becoming leery of making a significant investment in third-party platforms at the expense of a corporate blog or website. This is a good thing. Brooks Thomas from Southwest Airlines shared the proper mindset perfectly when he said his company views platforms like Facebook and Twitter as 'rented' space with its blog and website being the real-estate it owns. The blog is where all key content lives and starts and is then distributed out through the rental properties accordingly.
What themes caught your attention?