You Are What You Eat

twittersheepI’ve never really understood the phrase, “You are what you eat.” If it were true, I’d probably be an In-N-Out burger (double double animal style) or something far worse for you and/or better tasting.

Recently, I overheard someone on Twitter saying something to the effect of:

“You are the sum of the five people you hang out with the most.”

My immediate reaction was to disagree vehemently. I’m totally not like that! I’m exactly who I want to be! I don’t subject myself to the influence of others like that! Etc.

Not only am I completely wrong about this, but it may be that — in some strange cosmic way — I’m actually the sum of ALL the people around me, good, bad and everything else under the sun.

Today I discovered TwitterSheep. (No, this has nothing to do with sheep, fraternity rituals or anything else of a sexual nature, I assure you.) TwitterSheep simply looks at your followers and constructs a tag cloud based on keywords in their bios. That’s not really remarkable, but what is remarkable is that when I ran my Twitter account through the application, the resulting tag cloud literally read like my own bio. Seriously. It’s a visual representation of terms that — when you sum them all together — equal me. The largest words are what I do and care about most.

Am I right about this? Are you the sum of your followers?

Try TwitterSheep and let me know how it worked for you!

Feedback Loop

We’ve been keeping a close watch on what people are saying about my.SXSW and trying to respond to as much of the feedback as possible, either directly from us or via the folks at SXSW.

It’s no surprise — in this “2.0” world of hypersharing and total transparency — that we’ve seen literally hundreds of blog posts and tweets about my.SXSW, but we’ve only received a handful of e-mails.

We don’t really like e-mail anyway, so this is cool.

The SXSW help desk has received a lot of support requests via e-mail, with issue #1 being that the welcome e-mails and password reset e-mails aren’t showing up, most likely due to downstream spam filters. Ah, the irony! Again, this is why e-mail sucks, but it’s sort of something that’s hard to live with and also hard to live without.

So, how are we tracking and responding to feedback?

We’re using a jury-rigged system of free tools: search.twitter.com (remember Summize?), Google Alerts and Google Reader.

This “system” only takes a few minutes to set up and it can be used to track virtually anything being said about anything in a public space on the interwebs.

Basically, you can set up “comprehensive” Google Alerts and have them “delivered” via feed (or e-mail, but you already know how we feel about that). You can do the same with search.twitter.com.

Simply plug the feeds into Google Reader, organize them into folders/tags and voila, your feedback tracking system is ready to roll.

We’re searching for terms like “SXSW,” so obviously we get a lot of false positives. However, it’s easy to manually “star” or “share” items in Google reader and then publish the resulting list of shared or starred items back out as a feed to share with your team via a web page or, if you like, put it back in Google Reader. (Yikes! We know that sounds like it might be infinitely or mutually recursive, but actually, it works — trust us, we’ve tried it.)

So, here it is: a pretty comprehensive list of all the good, the bad and the ugly things people are saying about my.SXSW. Hey, it’s all public information on the interwebs anyway, so why not republish it all in one place?

Adding Context to my.SXSW Tweets

There has been quite a bit of chatter that we’ve been following in the SXSW community about the launch of my.SXSW. Fortunately, most of it has been good news. (Phew!) We’ve also gotten some great, constructive feedback and some fabulous ideas for new features that we wish we would have thought of ourselves!

There’s one issue that has come up a few times that we’d like to address in this post. Several people in the community have expressed concern about the lack of context in tweets coming from my.SXSW. (This only applies to people who have integrated their Twitter accounts.)

We’ve applied two changes to The Social Collective software to help with this. First off, we changed the application source from “The Social Collective” to “my.SXSW” with a link back to the my.SXSW site. Also, we added a “on http://my.sxsw.com” link back to messages that notify people when you join a group.

Keep the feedback coming — we’d love to hear from you!

SXSW Launches my.SXSW Powered by The Social Collective

sxsw2009Austin, Texas – February 2nd, 2009 – Today South By Southwest (SXSW), announced the launch of my.SXSW, the official social networking and scheduling tool for the 2009 conferences and festivals. Using my.SXSW, attendees can access the site to interact with one another, build their personalized conference schedules, join exclusive groups and form lasting relationships with other attendees. The social networking software was developed by SXSW and BDG, an industry-leading provider of a white-label conference social networking solution called The Social Collective. my.SXSW, powered by The Social Collective, represents a groundbreaking new way for SXSW attendees to enhance their offline conference experience through socializing online.

“We’ve always wanted to provide a space online for registrants to network before, during and after the ten days in March that they spend in Austin,” said Scott Wilcox, CTO of SXSW, Inc. “This year we teamed up with BDG to implement The Social Collective as my.SXSW, our new online registrant directory and social network. In addition to our collaboration with an outside team, we have tried to use the feedback we’ve received over the years to provide social networking opportunities for SXSW registrants. BDG and SXSW put a lot of thought into my.SXSW, resulting in a user experience we know will be a hit with our community.”

my.SXSW offers several new benefits to conference registrants, many of which are being introduced for the first time at SXSW 2009:

—Personalized and shareable event schedules
—Badge photo and avatar uploading and editing
—Rich media event pages with MP3 downloads, photos, band and speaker bios, etc.
—Seamless integration with Twitter, Flickr and Facebook
—Interest groups with integrated messaging
—Event/Schedule change notifications
—Social Networking (public profile pages, follow people and be followed)
—Private and public messaging on events, in groups and everywhere else
—Intuitive mobile device experience (to be launched just prior to the event)

For filmmakers looking for distribution, bands looking for producers, small businesses looking to develop their brands or digital creatives looking for new collaborators, my.SXSW provides a unique opportunity for people from all corners of the globe to get together and communicate before, after and during the event.

“We’re excited to see The Social Collective in use at SXSW,” said Chris Bucchere, CEO of BDG. “SXSW has come to be known as a trendsetting conference, not just for music and film, but for technology as well. The market for growing communities around conferences and events is just beginning to develop and of course SXSW is setting a great example of how to enhance people’s experience at their event using the right combination of web, e-mail, SMS and mobile tools.”

The Social Collective’s rich registration and schedule APIs enable seamless integration with the SXSW registrant and schedule data stores. As a result, there is no additional sign up or site registration needed. my.SXSW is open only to Film, Interactive, Music, Gold and Platinum SXSW registrants. Sign-in instructions will be sent via e-mail shortly after payment is confirmed and registration is processed by SXSW.

About SXSW

MUSIC AND MEDIA CONFERENCE features a legendary festival showcasing more than 1,800 musical acts of all genres from around the globe on over eighty stages in downtown Austin. By day, the Austin Convention Center comes alive with conference registrants doing business in the Trade Show and partaking of a full agenda of informative, provocative panel discussions featuring hundreds of speakers of international stature. In its 23rd year, SXSW remains an essential event on the music industry calendar. SXSW Music takes place March 18-22, 2009.

The SXSW FILM CONFERENCE AND FESTIVAL explores all aspects of the art and business of independent filmmaking. The Conference hosts a five-day adventure in the latest filmmaking trends and new technology, featuring distinguished speakers and mentors. The internationally-acclaimed, nine-day Festival boasts some of the most wideranging programming of any US event of its kind, from provocative documentaries to subversive Hollywood comedies, with a special focus on emerging talents. SXSW Film takes place March 13-21, 2009

The SXSW INTERACTIVE FESTIVAL celebrates the creativity and passion behind the coolest new media technologies. In addition to panel sessions that cover everything from web design to bootstrapping to social networks, attendees make new business connections at the three-day Trade Show & Exhibition. The newest element of the event is ScreenBurn at SXSW, which adds specific gaming industry programming as well as a three-day Arcade to the mix. SXSW Interactive takes place March 13-17, 2009

Find out more at http://www.sxsw.com

About The Social Collective

The Social Collective provides a fun and interactive means for conference attendees to meet and network with one another in a safe and secure environment before, during and after any conference or event. It improves attendees’ conference experiences and gives conference organizers more happy and loyal customers. The white-label product/service offering includes branding of the conference social network, integration with existing registration and e-commerce systems, data migration, site archival and Twitter, Flickr and Facebook integration.

Find out more at http://thesocialcollective.com

For more information, contact Elizabeth Derczo, SXSW, at [email protected], 512/467-7979 ext. 209 or Jennifer Dunleavey at The Social Collective, [email protected], 703/234-7910