South by Southwest, SXSW, is a yearly conference in Austin, TX.serving the film, music, and interactice industries. The photo shows the goodies they gave out this year.
Guest Reporter Sheila Scarborough
Hi Successful Bloggers,
Your Roving Tejas Reporter brings some impressions from Day Two of South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive here in Austin, Texas.
Everyone take a breath and say, “Y’all” and “Howdy” and “digital content service solutions” and “client and server-side XSLT,” just to get in the right frame of mind.
Believe me, there’s plenty of activity here for both Ye Olde Basic Blogger (me) and the most geeked-out programmer. I’ve been mostly going to panels that talk about online relationships and communities, and here are some quick highlights:
** From the panel “World Domination via Collaboration” this morning, I learned that the best way to get a response from your blog readers is to “ask, not tell.”
In terms of corporate blogging, Betsy Aoki of Microsoft talked about how blogging can change the DNA of a company from the grassroots upward, resulting in more of a “culture of transparency and a better connection with customers.” BlogHer’s Lisa Stone pointed out that “whether your company blogs or not, someone is blogging about you,” and Jenna Woodul of LiveWorld chimed in to agree that ” people are talking about your brand out there; you’d better listen and respond.”
Jenna also said that some companies need to have blogging’s ROI (Return on Investment) laid out clearly — “break it down as to what they’re leaving on the table” by not engaging with this online culture.
Lisa Stone reminded us of that old learned-it-in-kindergarten maxim, “Don’t Lie,” using the recent Wal-Mart paid RV blog PR disaster as an example of a “fundamental missed opportunity” to use online tools to build brand loyalty.
Jenna Woodul had great suggestions for growing an online community, including paying close attention to “how the newcomer is perceived and treated; building a culture of community as nurtured and demonstrated by how it welcomes.”
If you need a specific example, look no further than how Liz greet newbies and is always welcoming in her comments in posts and Open Mic Nite, to say nothing of her coveted SOB badges.
** From the panel “Under 18: Blogs, Wikis and Online Social Networks for Youth” I learned that our biggest problem seems to be a knowledge disconnect — kids are doing stuff online in a virtual world that parents and teachers often do not really understand (and that frightens them) yet they are expected to police it just like they chaperone a school field trip.
Moderator Andrea Forte of Georgia Tech said that there seem to be two stark ways for adults to view the online world — either Constant Mortal Danger or Flowers and Roses of Fulfilling Inner Potential. Reality, as usual, is somewhere in the middle.
I’m going to write a more detailed post about this over on my Family Travel blog, but let me invite parents to engage in dialog with their kids, rather than depending upon somewhat crude site blocking/parental controls, and don’t be afraid to get in there and learn what kids are doing in MySpace, etc.
** Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users gave the SXSW Interactive Opening Remarks, and she was dynamite. There were some great takeaways about supporting users, including trying to find some way to add a WTF? button to software. 🙂
You software developers must remember, “People aren’t passionate about the tool, they’re passionate about what the tool enables them to do.” And also, “FAQs, Help sections and user documents may not sound sexy, but they’re the key to passion.”
Go read her blog, especially the post “Code Like a Girl.”
** The last two panels that I attended were on different topics (going from a blog to a book and the entrepreneurial journey for artist/creative types) but both said the same thing:
“The most important thing is good content.”
“You can’t fake good content.”
“It all comes down to the story” (or, yep, the content.)
** As an aside, I visited the new Screen Burn Arcade, a video gaming event, and met some of the Frag Dolls. They are pro gamers who challenge other gamers (usually guys) to games like Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. They usually win. It’s an interesting dynamic, as you might imagine.
Until tomorrow, I’m riding off into the Texas sunset….
Best wishes, Sheila
ME “Liz” Strauss
Roving Sheila at SXSW 03 -09-07