December 18, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

SXSW Hangover

SXSW Hangover

No doubt, you’ve been hearing it a lot lately. The talk about how the value of SXSW Interactive laid less in
the sessions but in the face-to-face contact with people. The near euphoria that the social media evangelists and techno-geeks experienced last week was palpable. There was a headiness of uniting with your clan, of hanging with people who “get” you and are interested in the same things as you. Tris Hussey from B5Media summed it up best when he called SXSW “geek spring break.”

And of course, you can’t have a spring break without parties, and SXSW Interactive was full of them, each with an open bar and vying to be the coolest and most memorable of the week. It became the way in which lesser-known names like Frog Design could even the playing field with icons like Google and Facebook.

An informal survey revealed the favorites:

BlogHaus: Although not officially a party, BlogHaus was the headquarters for social media types at SXSW. Sponsored by AMD coffee, lunch and afternoon beer added to the lively atmosphere every day.

Conversation Starters: Shel Israel, Jeremiah Owyang, Robert Scoble and other social media rock stars were on hand for accessible conversation. What appealed to most people I spoke with was that it was a quieter event with elbow room. It was a great way to start the evening and meet new people without having to scream over thumping beats. Co-sponsored by Federated Media, Dell, Bulldog Solutions, The Conversation Group and Social Media Club Austin at Iron Cactus.

I Heart Cavemen: Six Lounge was the place to go after Conversation Starters and featured Marty the Caveman from Geico cruising the hottest women in tech for the launch of iheartcavemen.com. He even scooped women out of the line for the Facebook party to bring to his for his own.

The Official Rock Band Party: Rock Band, the next step in karaoke, was prevalent throughout SXSW, making appearances on the exhibit floor and in at several parties. But clearly one of the favorites was Tuesday night at Six Lounge, co-presented by washingtonvc and MTV/Harmonix, and was packed with social media types looking like rock stars and celebs including Mark Cuban.

16 Bit: The line for this party at the Scoot Inn was so long, people were jumping the fence to sneak in and it spawned a flash-mob wine party for those not wanting to wait. Featuring 999 Eyes, an authentic oddities freak show, this party had a retro-80’s soundtrack and a no-frills honky-tonk vibe.

Honorable Mentions:

Frog Design: Groupo Fantasma fire dancers were mesmerizing.

Fray Café: Story-telling was a laid back pause from the frenetic energy of a week of parties.

Salt Lick BBQ: When the buses didn’t show up, HP sent Robert Scoble and everyone else in taxis to Driftwood for some of the finest BBQ in Texas.

Karaoke Apocalypse: Part of BarCamp Austin, karaoke singers were backed by a live band. Highlights were Chris Brogan’s “Enter Sandman”, an appearance by the Unicorn and Laura Fitton (@pistachio) rocking “Heartbreaker” and finishing with a stage dive.

With so many parties, it was not unusual to crawl through three or four in an evening. Someone at FreshBooks clearly thought ahead and distributed hangover kits to revelers. One groggy partier commented over morning coffee that
getting to the 10 a.m. sessions at SXSW reminded her of trying to get to an 8 a.m. class in college. Spring break for geeks, indeed!

If you were at SXSW Interactive this year, what was your favorite party?

Adele McAlear was a first-time SXSW Interactive participant and is a partner in 99directions, a social media marketing company. adele@99directions.com

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5 Comments

  1. tris.hussey@b5media.com'
    Tris Hussey

    Adele, Thank you for the mention and the link! It was great meeting you and Colleen at SXSWi. Now if you had come to the b5media ranch party you would have had tons of Salt Lick BBQ to eat … we had plenty of food and drink for all!

  2. mrontemp@gmail.com'
    Ontario Emperor

    I did not go to SXSW, but your description of Conversation Starters is encouraging. More of these quiet places are needed, especially at big conferences where people sometimes need a break from the masses.
    I know that I spent a good amount of time at Oracle OpenWorld in the OTN and OPN lounges, and have even watched some of the keynote presentations from those locations (rather than trying to cram into the main hall at Moscone).
    Connections cannot be made on a pulsating dance floor (well, actually they can, but that’s an entirely different topic).

  3. khaynes@bulldogsolutions.com'
    Kim Haynes

    Adele,
    What a great job at recapping all of the fun events surrounding SXSW. Couldn’t agree with you more on the Conversation Starters. It was such a great way to have more intimate conversations with those we consider to be super stars in social media, but also a wonderful time to finally catch up with all of our other online friends.
    Can’t wait until next year!
    Kim
    HR Manager, Bulldog Solutions
    khaynes@bulldogsolutions.com

  4. steve@stevegarfield.com'
    steve Garfield

    The best party ever at SXSW 2008 was the Moblogic.tv party.
    It was at the Biergarten at the Cedar Door. Steps away from SXSW.
    This party was great for a number of reasons, most of all was the people. I’d already met most of the moblogic.tv team, but was able to meet more of them and talk about the launch of their show.
    They really care what people have to say about what they are doing.
    Check it out at: http://Moblogic.tv
    The other reason why I loved the party was the location. No lines. Cold beer. Good food.
    It had an indoor/outdoor configuration where people cold eathier sit around tables or stand and mingle… It was a great time.
    –Steve

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