Hello – I’m Meghan – Was asked to do this because I make a pilgrimage annually to a former hometown, which miss terribly this time of year. SXSW is a great chance to see what some of the biggest brands are up to online & bands are up to onstage, keep an eye on trends and well, for me, search for something elusive. Now the trends in this preso were developed in March & shared w/Learning.comm – but I tried to make it timeless & boil it down to human nature.
So the official tagline for SXSW is that it’s a celebration of creativity & innovation across Interactive, Film & Music It’s 25 years old – goes on for 9 days – welcomes 40K attendees, Has 2K talks, 2K bands, 500 films, 90 venues & generates 1.5 M tweets If Cannes is a celebration of the past SXSW is a celebration of the future...
Ok so here’s the thing. Social media isn’t rocket science. There’s how many snake oil sales people selling books, algorithms, software systems that say otherwise? But I’m going to share 4 key trends with you, & I feel weird calling them trends – but they’re successful and sticky - pretty much because they tap into our basic human nature. So – slime/electrocute me if I dip into meaningless buzzwords without the necessary levels of sarcasm and distance.
Oh & before I get to the four trends - I’m putting you to work for this presentation. Cause you’re really smart, right? So - You ready? I’m gonna ask you to categorize each of the trends into one of two basic human sins. Now, nobody’s perfect, this isn’t a judge-y spiritual religious thing. But I’m gonna ask you to vote on each of the four trends & we’ll see which one comes out on top.
Now I am sure that you could get all seven – but when it comes to social media – It pretty much boils down to two – Sloth & Pride. Instead of fighting it – Let’s capitalize on capital vices & make the most of it. So I’m gonna ask for you to vote four times on the four trends. Can you handle it? Oh! & Sloth is defined as spiritual or emotional apathy, generally being physically &/or emotionally inactive. All faiths & customs frown on laziness – but social media, well, we’ll see.
What better opponent to sloth than Pride – & anyone with a Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, social circle has seen this play out online. Since pride can mean so many things – let’s thing more specifically about this old word – ’vainglory’ Which is a subset of the sin – it’s vanity – unjustified boasting, etc.. You’ll see narcissistic undertones in a lot of these trends…or not.
Ok – here we go – Here are the 4 key trends that popped to mind after attending SX this March. 1 st - Ambient & location aware - 2 nd – Curation - 3 rd - Mobile 1 st - 4 th - Social storytelling You’re voting on all of’em! Which sin will win? Sloth or Pride? You decide! Going to start with– the #1 trend we’re seeing in social
But what does ‘ambient & location aware’ mean? Related to 2 Iconic SX breakthroughs - ‘07 Twitter (now 140M+ active users) & ‘09 FourSquare, (now 20M+ active users) Location-aware = uses GPS – it knows where you are – we’re talking mainly about trends related to mobile devices – you with me? Ambient - means that it runs in the background on a device – think about ambient music or noise
Nothing really took off in this space, but you’re seeing hybridization in apps like the buzz app of SX - Highlight. Tagline “Gives you a 6 th sense” – It alerts friend (of friend) nearby – profiles show up on your phone w/name, photos, mutual friends and anything else they have chosen to share. FYI - battery life critiques far outweighed the stalking critiques which gives you an indication of the gender of tech journos.
So what do you think – An end to conscious checking-in? A phone that does it for you? Is it lazy or arrogant? Assuming people care where you are at every second? That your interests are interesting? You’re voting on all of’em! Which sin will win? Sloth or Pride? You decide!
Well, that sounds downright snobby, amirite? Curation, hey? All this means is share others’ content – not creating net new stuff on your own - Virtual scrapbooking if you will The 1 st curated platform could be argued were social bookmarking sites – we see somewhat successful apps that adapt Tweets into ugly themed-sharing pages like Paper.ly but Curation really got big in 2012 because of….
Pinterest! It avgs 12M visitors/month & fairer sex accounts for 85% - Top subjects: design, fashion, décor, food - 1 st ex. of non-geek ea. adopters (mid-west housewives) People like to demonstrate their good taste – eclectic or refined – high or low – wacky or unique or mainstream - & put it on display for enthusiasts in street style, home décor, etc. The cool thing about curation – really level playing field for people w/good taste & far less time consuming than ye olde blogging
Don’t forget curation goes beyond Pinterest –any social platform that involves scooping up content that isn't’ yours & presenting it as this beautiful representation of your amazing taste. For youth it’s gif/image/1-Direction-filled Tumblr – which is another piece of evidence that the next generation will be dumber, slower & more arrogant You’re voting on all of’em! Which sin will win? Sloth or Pride? You decide!
Well – we all know that mobile is beyond a trend – it’s a device that is so integral to how we experience digital content – but this is different Mobile 1 st marks end of platform agnosticism – seeing apps, content SOLELY for (often specific) mobile interfaces - can integrate w/desktop experiences like TW/FB but not necessarily So let’s examine mobile-1 st experiences & platforms & apps as a trend in & of itself – for example…
Instagram! – In 1.5 yrs it accumulated 27M users – it JUST started offering online/desktop access recently (& FB acquired right after SXSW) So Instagram – a mobile 1 st experience – makes you a fancy schmancy photog – with filters – you’re artistic, spontaneous Red Bull runs most of its digital content thru Instagram now - 60K+ followers - Compelling visual - behind the scenes - capture activities (e.g. events)
Thanks to its tight integration Instagram became the default image-sharing platform Similar mobile-1 st apps include Path – shares music, photos, location, updates, movies & more So what does this say about us? The infinite updating on our devices – more lazy or more brazen vanity? Sloth or Pride? You decide!
Final trend! Social storytelling. We’re both social & narrative-loving creatures since time began. SS takes a thread/character/plot & continues multiple channels over non/linear times – not duplication of content – always layering new elements w/different/intertwined mediums There’s a massive shift from traditional advertising ‘asks’ to audiences into content-driven storytelling – this is what people mean when they use that horrid ‘transmedia’ buzzword
For example Anthony Bourdain – His Twitter, Facebook & Tumblr extends the experience of watching ‘No Reservations’ on TV By sharing ‘Road’ stories while filming he solicits show ideas, alt-locations - Occasional live-broadcasts & is an outlet for ‘risky’ non-network content Or (unofficial) @bettydraper - a copywriter exploring Twitter as a storytelling device – she live tweets during episodes and imagines daily activities outside of the show - extends the story, runs daily and between seasons.
So outside of Betty & Anthony – you’ll notice how Facebook isn’t really pushing those sidebar ads anymore – they want to force brands to get strategy right with Timeline Branded online content – telling a complimentary story along multiple channels & engaging audiences instead of broadcasting/bombarding them the same tagline on var. channels SO this might be the toughest to vote on – Transmedia as a whole isn’t a lazy person’s game - & presumes an audience is interested at multiple times/places