I felt like I was there, even though client and family obligations kept me in New York for this year’s SxSWi conference.
It seemed that two-thirds of the tweeps in my Twitterstream were in Austin over the weekend where the scuttlebutt was all about location-based services, and the endless stream of events — whose venues benefited from these services.
First, the parties. Virtually every social media brand and enabling technology held some sort of beer-infused corporate-sponsored gathering, except perhaps for the one hosted by @garyvee whose libation of choice was vino. I had a chuckle from the following Robert Scoble tweets:
@Scobleizer That said the hot parties of the evening are the NPR, Mashable, and ICanHazCheezburger ones, so we will have plenty to do.
What especially fascinated me about many of these parties was the real-time, flash mob nature of the invitation process. One of the event hosts would simply tweet details minutes or hours before the event, which prompted his or her location-based disciples to oblige with attendance. Forget eVite, Pingg and eventBrite.
Parties aside, the real noise from SxSWi revolved around the battle for primacy in the location check-in services space. One journalist for Silicon Alley Insider went out on a limb to declare NYC-based Four Square the winner over Austin-HQ’d Gowalla, based on Twitter buzz alone.
This was in spite of the fact that Gowalla (with 100K followers versus FourSquare’s 500K) walked away with a SxSW Award in the mobile category. TechCrunch called the “location war” a “dead heat.” Here is how the founders of each service distinguish their mobile apps:
FourSquare’s Dennis Crowley (@dens) via CNN:
Even though I didn’t make it to this year’s confab, I was happy to learn that this blog was one of two to have won a Hive Award in the Blogging category. The awards “honor the unsung heroes of the Internet.” I guess I have to sing louder.