Austin powers: 10 trends for 2014 from SXSWi

South By Southwest Interactive is now much more than a technology festival. The thousands of delegates who come to the heart of Texas are searching for new ideas and perspectives

Sat, Mar 15, 2014, 01:00

8 – Media naval-gazing: One of SXSWi’s growing areas is media – hardly surprising given the huge number of journalists in attendance. This year the ESPN recruits Nate Silver and Bill Simmons talk about the growth of their personal brands (FiveThirtyEight and Grantland, respectively), while the New York Times media writer David Carr interviews the Upworthy boss Eli Pariser about that site’s use of content-filtering algorithms to find the stories with the most traction across social media.

9 – I’m with the brand: Brands are visible at every turn in Austin, from sponsored bicycles to offers of tacos in return for downloading an app to your smartphone. But there are also a lot of interesting discussions about the interaction between consumer and brand, and how this relationship is changing. One panel looks at the way Lego fans have engaged with the brand; a lot of attention is also given to the fact that consumers are often far more sussed when it comes to social-media interaction than the people who work for the brands. The question here, though, is just how far a brand goes in terms of involving that community.

10 – Social good: The time given over to issues, activities and discussions around social good and social ventures has been growing. This year’s mix includes panels on gun-control campaigners instigating digital campaigns to combat the NRA, Change.org’s Ben Rattray on how technology can change businesses for the better, and a panel on how big data can spread social change.


Next year’s SXSWi runs from March 13th to 17th; sxsw.com

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