What was trending at SXSW 2012?


After falling victim to SXSW SARS, I got my fix of Emergen-C and lots of rest, and have finally regained my state of consciousness to formulate the aftermath of SXSW.


So what are the key takeaways of SXSW Interactive?




  1. Creepy apps abound. This is old news by now. But in case you’ve been hiding out to avoid an overload of SXSW tweets, I’ll quickly bring you up to speed. The biggest buzz at SXSW was around social location-based apps. Highlight, Glancee, Banjo, and Sonar had the most mentions at Interactive. This witty article written by Brenna Ehrlich and Andrea Bartz gives an excellent summary of each app and how it works.
  2.  Need assistance with… anything? Use TaskRabbit! Another “How did you not hear about that?” topic at SXSW this year was TaskRabbit, an online and mobile service that connects people in real time to perform day-to-day tasks, errands, and more.  Check out some of the best and weirdest tasks people requested with TaskRabbit while at SXSW.
  3. Psst! CNN may acquire Mashable. SXSW is full of gossip – and there was speculation this year that popular media startup Mashable might be swallowed up by news giant CNN. We’ll see if this news was just another rumor flooding Austin, or if it will actually make its way to the headlines.
  4. Go mobile or go home. The tradeshow floor in years past had consisted of a variety of startups and platforms, but this year mobile took the crown – hands down. Discussions about the web have diminished, and mobile absolutely dominated in every way possible.
  5. ‘Homeless Hotspots’ attract attention and controversy.  ‘Homeless Hotspots’ were a controversial topic at SXSW. BBH Labs paid 13 homeless individuals to stand around the Austin Convention Center and wear shirts that read, “I am a 4G Hotspot.” It generated a lot of attention but also a lot of debate on whether or not the stunt was appropriate.
  6. When all is said and done, food still takes the prize for stirring up the most buzz. During Interactive, food was discussed three times more than events and panels. I guess it was a good thing we decided to serve ice cream sundaes and mac n’ cheese at #ConduitCorner!

These topics didn’t generate as much hype at SXSW, but still caught our attention:

  1. Arqball is a really, really cool app. Arqball Spin allows you to create a 3D photograph and manipulate it. Take a look at this video, which depicts how a picture of an object can be transformed into a 3D artifact.
  2.  Instagram finally comes to Android. Instagram will no longer be an app that iPhone can wave and tease in front of Android owners. Representatives of Instagram announced at SXSW that a version for Android is coming soon. Welcome to the club!
  3. Highlight wasn’t the only talked-about app. CNET covered a slew of apps that came out of SXSW, and although they didn’t generate as much attention due to the hype about apps like Highlight, they are still worth the mention: Kinoma, Zaarly, Marvel AR, Uberlife, Kismet, Maaii, Vibop 2.0, Angry Birds Space, and CardSpring.

We look forward to seeing how these trends progress and change in the coming months. What’s your take on the trends that arose from SXSW? Share your thoughts on our Facebook and Twitter pages!