Elon Musk and Grumpy Cat Are Big Hits at SXSW Interactive

BY L.A. LOREK
Founder of Silicon Hills News

Photo courtesy of NASA

Photo courtesy of NASA

Elon Musk and Grumpy Cat stole the show at South by Southwest Interactive.
They received the most mentions in social media on Twitter and Facebook during the first four days of the technology festival, said Itai Asseo, vice president and creative architect of Digitas Labs.
Musk, co-founder of Paypal, founder of Tesla Motor and SpaceX, received 10,000 mentions on Twitter, followed closely by Grumpy Cat, which made a debut at Mashable’s tent and attracted a 600 person line outside the Mashable tent on Saturday to get their picture taken with the cat.
What people are tweeting about is a different type of thing than what garnered the most attention at the show, Asseo said.
Digitas collaborated with SXSW Interactive to crunch data from the show to present the real picture of SXSW Interactive during a panel Tuesday morning. Digitas’ Beth McCabe and Asseo, creative technologist behind Digitas Labs analyzed a variety of data collected before, during and at the end of the show.
Digitas used a new social data visualization tool called SODA to present their findings to more than 300 people gathered for the session.
The big themes from this year’s show revolved around space, the maker’s movement, data and entrepreneurs, McCabe said. Storytelling was also a big theme, but it is every year, she said.
Photo of Grumpy Cat courtesy of Mashable

Photo of Grumpy Cat courtesy of Mashable

Some of the most visible images shared from the show include Grumpy Cat, the Task Rabbit Van, which looked like a giant furry bunny, Brilliant Brew, a coffee truck run by General Electric that used a printing device to create intricate drawings in the foam of the lattes and Lyft, a ride sharing app that didn’t have any cars at the show so they brandished giant pink mustaches and gave people piggyback rides.
Photo

Photo by Guy Kawasaki

Also, NASA’s full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope was on display for two days at SXSW and it received a lot of attention.
“It’s inspiring and cool that a government organization like NASA was here at SXSW,” McCabe said.
The show’s attendance is expected to top 27,000 this year, up from 24,569 last year. Interactive has eclipsed music and film as the most popular part of the SXSW festival.
One of the interesting facts Digitas discovered is that no one from South Dakota made it to SXSW Interactive this year.
Elon Musck, SXSW Official Photo, courtesy of Peter Tsai Photography

Elon Musk, SXSW Official Photo, courtesy of Peter Tsai Photography

But people from every other state from the nation and dozens of foreign countries made it to Austin for the show.
The show targets young affluent decision makers. The most attendees fall into the 25 to 34 age range, followed by 35 to 44 year olds.
“We are the next generation of the leaders of this industry,” Asseo said. “We’re going to set the tone for this industry for the years to come.”
It’s also a highly educated group, he said.
Every panelist at the show, on average had 3,000 Twitter followers, 1,000 Facebook followers and the attendees also had quite a lot of influence, Asseo said.
From the words tweeted about the most at SXSW Interactive, Asseo and McCabe created Haikus for each day of the show. They are listed below.

Day One Haiku

SXSW Badge
MakerBot Vine Awesome Love
Party Play Talk Live

How much people were using Vine – fairly new tool launched by Twitter

Day Two Haiku

GrumpyCat Premier
Future-Looking Elon Musk
Biggest Party Time

Day Three Haiku

Watch Blogger Swiss Miss
Gore Defends Al Jazeera
Tonight Bands Perform

Day Four

Cityseed App Launch
Gomez Duck Lips, Spring Breakers
Shaq Interview Win

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