Day 1 of SXSW Interactive, it took me 45 minutes from the Staybridge Suites to the convention center downtown. My cab driver was more friendly than most, waiting outside my hotel for 15 minutes for me to get ready and gave me a lesson on pretty much the history of Austin. As a result, I know where George Bush went to church as a child, where the Dell Computers was invented, where Janis Joplin performances used to take place, and the “Matthew MaConaughey motel”. All that in a cab ride, never in New York.
Austin Convention Center
To my happy surprise, there was no line at all picking up my badge at 11:30AM. The Convention Center was 70% packed with people rushing around to different panel sessions, the theme was hurry up and wait. Thankfully as a New Yorker, navigating through streams of people going all directions was not that hard. There were a few pit stops along the way for folks fighting through convention halls, including the “Throne” from Game of Thrones and a step & repeat red carpet.
Grumpy Cat at Mashable House
Mashable is hosting Mashable House across the street from the convention center where you can take pictures with popular memes: Grumpy Cat, Scumbag Steve and Nyan Cat Creator Chris Torres. This is a place where animals are clearly more popular than humans. The line for Grumpy Cat wrapped around the building. Tip: badge holders get to go in front of the line. Tardar was very sleepy, smaller than expected. My excitement was through the roof!
She is so precious!
Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen
One of the afternoon sessions I attended was hosted by Michael Davies, Executive Producer of Watch What Happens Live along with Andy himself. This week, they are actually taping a live show in Austin, which marks the first time taking WWHL on the road. Andy talked about the heavy use of social media on his show and how the concept feels like inviting a bunch of friends to his house party. He started using social media to connect with his audiences back in the MySpace days and was one of the first shows to partner with FourSquare. Andy was of course skimming his Twitter feed on stage and taking many audience questions from there throughout the session.
Other Sessions on Social Day 1
- Spreadable Media, talked about the value, meaning and network culture, what do people decide to share.
- What Marketers Should Ask Themselves about Social: How social compare to the banner ad and how brand marketers measure and justify these new currencies of engagement
Check out my RebelMouse page for the NBCU Team at SXSW:
At night, the NBCU team attended a few parties hosted by Edelman (where we ran into Stephanie Flo!) and Mass Relevance in downtown Austin. 12+ hours of learning and socializing = Good times for SXSW Day 1.