My first – so being a newbie – SxSw (South by South West) Interactive experience. SxSw being one of the big events in new, social and interactive media; more then 20 000 participants, 5 days, over 500 workshops, sessions or keynotes and a lot of parties. Austin (Tx) is being being taken over by (cool) geeks. This post and my next posts will all be about this event, my experiences, ….
Gratherings are one of the key activities at SxSw, so starting to mingle and connecting with peers off-line starts when you take the shuttle bus to the convention centre. Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do? Is this your first time? All these questions were asked within the first minute of my shuttle ride….Geeky Americans on speed, and I still have a jet-lag!
But those interactive Americans gave me insight on the true value of SxSw – connecting people! So connection would become a major part of my visit, and I immediatly adapted my schedule (in my SxSw App) adding meet-ups and parties. Being a newbie, connecting with newbies sounded like a good idea. The meet-up starter at 14h so, arriving at 13h55 at the venue (other then the convention centre, since the festival is held all over town) taught my first SxSw lesson: If you want to attend an event, be early if you want to participate! So missed out on that one…luckely many more opportunities to come in the next days.
Lesson learned and now ready for my first session: Disaster: crisis communication and social media.
During a disaster safety of the people is the most important, and not communication BUT you still have the challenge to get the right communication out as quickly as possible to inform people. This will always be the real challenge, not the channels . All official players should talk with (or tru) one voice!
Technology wise, in the future when a disaster happens, setting up a wide area communication network will become priority so aid organisation(s) can reach out to people and inform them tru new media (Twitter, Facebook, ….). Your audience is on mobile and social media so go where your audience is, BUT as an audience or person in aid don’t use these media to call for help (then you better use traditional media like radio or phone call). Social media is being monitored but not as accuratly as traditional media (where you establish a real communication). So in a crisis social media becomes a monologue?!
More to come in my next updates!