The New York Times

The New York Times descends on Austin for the 2013 South by Southwest Interactive festival.
What’s the story this year? The weather? Long-form journalism? Gamification? Jay-Z’s fonts? Who knows, but everyone shares at least one takeaway. As at past SXSW Interactive festivals, relentless person-to-person marketing is the ambient noise humming behind every panel, party and taco truck. We’ve seen the walking USB chargers and the bottomless free energy drinks available at so many downtown corners. Big brands with big marketing budgets live in these spaces - FedEx, Monster and Red Bull. During the weekend rains, agents dispatched by Kraft handed out umbrellas. The price? Allow them to use your phone to take a picture of you holding the umbrella. Then you upload that photo to Twitter with the hashtag #keepyournoodledry. But many smaller players have unleashed pairs of young mercenaries armed with matching loud T-shirts, stacks of flyers and a gimmick upon Austin. They roam the streets with coupons and bottle openers, or invitations to “be a beta tester.” This low-tech, face-to-face and possibly inefficient strategy is prevalent at an event celebrating the wondrous utopia of connected media. It’s slow going and often requires two foot soldiers to attract the momentary focus of just one individual target. If the overburdened network ever went down, though, these kids would be there to spread the message. — Andrew Kueneman

What’s the story this year? The weather? Long-form journalism? Gamification? Jay-Z’s fonts? Who knows, but everyone shares at least one takeaway. As at past SXSW Interactive festivals, relentless person-to-person marketing is the ambient noise humming behind every panel, party and taco truck. We’ve seen the walking USB chargers and the bottomless free energy drinks available at so many downtown corners. Big brands with big marketing budgets live in these spaces - FedEx, Monster and Red Bull. During the weekend rains, agents dispatched by Kraft handed out umbrellas. The price? Allow them to use your phone to take a picture of you holding the umbrella. Then you upload that photo to Twitter with the hashtag #keepyournoodledry. But many smaller players have unleashed pairs of young mercenaries armed with matching loud T-shirts, stacks of flyers and a gimmick upon Austin. They roam the streets with coupons and bottle openers, or invitations to “be a beta tester.” This low-tech, face-to-face and possibly inefficient strategy is prevalent at an event celebrating the wondrous utopia of connected media. It’s slow going and often requires two foot soldiers to attract the momentary focus of just one individual target. If the overburdened network ever went down, though, these kids would be there to spread the message. — Andrew Kueneman

“We saw it as a means to raise awareness by giving homeless people a way to engage with mainstream society and talk to people,” he said. “The hot spot is a way for them to tell their story.”

Saneel Radia, the director of innovation at BBH Labs who oversaw the Homeless Hotspots program, that hired homeless people to walk around carrying mobile Wi-Fi devices during SXSW, defends the project, which has set off a controversy around the Web. — Jenna Wortham

Tonight at the Jay-Z concert, sponsored by American Express, the audience was exuberant, particularly during the performance of “Empire State of Mind.” In an apparent nod to the media industry-heavy crowd, the logos of the New Yorker, the New York Post, New York magazine and The New York Times, above, flashed on the screens.
The show was live-streamed on YouTube and by 10 p.m. had nearly 16 million video views. The made-for-Twitter audience was encouraged to tweet throughout the performance using song title hashtags, but the overwhelmed mobile network inside the Austin City Limits theater made that all but impossible to do. Instead, people took pictures and enjoyed some offline time. — Lexi Mainland

Tonight at the Jay-Z concert, sponsored by American Express, the audience was exuberant, particularly during the performance of “Empire State of Mind.” In an apparent nod to the media industry-heavy crowd, the logos of the New Yorker, the New York Post, New York magazine and The New York Times, above, flashed on the screens.

The show was live-streamed on YouTube and by 10 p.m. had nearly 16 million video views. The made-for-Twitter audience was encouraged to tweet throughout the performance using song title hashtags, but the overwhelmed mobile network inside the Austin City Limits theater made that all but impossible to do. Instead, people took pictures and enjoyed some offline time. — Lexi Mainland

Between sessions on the corner of Trinity and 4th St. outside the Austin Convention Center.

davidfg:

At a panel on the ethics and pitfalls of facial recognition, the organizers showed this marketing video, which makes facial recognition seem like an awful lot of fun and not creepy at all. But they also pointed out that this is an entirely unregulated area, and as companies like Face.com bring facial recognition tools to the masses, it’s time to think about whether this is a good thing from a privacy perspective.

I also learned a new word, renonymize, which David Eisenberg defines this way:

To discover, using data from an “anonymized” data set (a data set from which the explicit identifying data has been removed) which specific individuals generated the data.

This was what happened with AOL’s search data disaster in 2006, and in several cases since. — David Gallagher

Getting a demo of the new Timeline apps that Facebook unveiled on Monday at Southby, which includes partnerships with companies like The Onion, Fandango and Foursquare. Alisa Simon-Gould, director of marketing at Pose, a fashion app for the iPhone and iPad, showed off how the new integration will push photos and updates from the app straight to a user’s Facebook page. It’s similar to how Spotify users that linked their Facebook accounts to the music service can share which songs they are listening to in real-time. The benefit for companies? Massive growth and reach, she said.
"We’ve been seeing five times the engagement across our platform," she said. — Jenna Wortham

Getting a demo of the new Timeline apps that Facebook unveiled on Monday at Southby, which includes partnerships with companies like The Onion, Fandango and Foursquare. Alisa Simon-Gould, director of marketing at Pose, a fashion app for the iPhone and iPad, showed off how the new integration will push photos and updates from the app straight to a user’s Facebook page. It’s similar to how Spotify users that linked their Facebook accounts to the music service can share which songs they are listening to in real-time. The benefit for companies? Massive growth and reach, she said.

"We’ve been seeing five times the engagement across our platform," she said. — Jenna Wortham

For a second year in a row, the GroupMe Grill has been handing out grilled cheese sandwiches and free beer through the day to anyone who has their group messaging service installed on a mobile device. They estimate that they are dishing out roughly 1,500 grilled cheese sandwiches (stamped with their logo) and 5 kegs of beer a day. — Jeremy Zilar

For a second year in a row, the GroupMe Grill has been handing out grilled cheese sandwiches and free beer through the day to anyone who has their group messaging service installed on a mobile device. They estimate that they are dishing out roughly 1,500 grilled cheese sandwiches (stamped with their logo) and 5 kegs of beer a day. — Jeremy Zilar