What the X in SXSWi Stands For.

Blog Post
March 25, 2015

During my first trip to Austin’s annual union of Interactive, Film and Music Festivals, I’ve spotted a micro trend that I’m going to encourage my creative teams to bake into more of their ideas…multiplication. Here are four ways I saw ideas converge to create something bigger, better and more powerful.


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During Twitter co-founder Biz Stone’s session, he talked about his new venture – Super – a heavily visual social platform described on their App Store page as, “Bold opinions become tiny works of art.” It’s Snapchat meets Pop Art! Heavily inspired by Barbara Kruger, this is Biz’s latest attempt to build something that allows users to share their thoughts built off opening statements like, “I LOVE” or “I’M ALL” or even “ONCE UPON A TIME” … the convergence of gallery images and text overlays is anarchic and encourages self-expression and personalization way beyond Instagram or Twitter.

As an Art Director I’m all in. And I’m taking bets on which brands might experiment with it soon.

Patrick Mulford

theAudience ECD presented his unique viewpoint on how brands should use social media. It was mind-blowing – it made me want to be a better creative thought leader. The Natural Architecture of Social Media transplants the biological theory (of how living organisms grow by having seven basic needs met) into how social networks thrive. Here’s an extract from Patrick’s introduction:

People have talked about the social ‘ecosystem’, as if it comprises distinct, intelligent consumers for a long time. But they’ve always overlooked one key fact: social media networks are the heart of the ecosystem. They are holonic structures – individual, but acting as a whole. The creation of social media networks turned computers and smartphones into something amazing: doorways into a landscape, nourished by content and thriving on emotion expressed through the act of sharing.

I’ll definitely be quoting Mulford within client conversations in the coming months.


Meerkat at SXSW

Another app, another amalgamation … Meerkat combines Twitter with live video streaming. Causing a storm of controversy, as Twitter turns off its access to Social Graph just as ‘South By’ started, this clever platform allows you to stream content from your phone and tweet simultaneously. Connections can respond and their tweets appear on top of the feed … it’s very smart and very powerful stuff. It seems as if this will emerge as the “it” App of SXSWi 2015, and I can’t wait to see how the relationship with Twitter develops. Some think the behemoth of social media is trying to shut down the competition as it tries to launch its newly-bought Periscope; I hope they can work it out because this amazing evolution of communication could create amazing opportunities for connecting with audiences.

I used Meerkat during my last panel session and I had seven users ‘tune in’ to my broadcast. The session was hosted by Dazed’s Editor-in-Chief, Tim Noakes, who questioned actor Shia LeBeouf about his year-long collaboration with ‘meta modernist’ artists Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner.

Which leads me to my last example of multiplication from SXSWi 2015.