SXSW 2014: The highlights


South by Southwest Interactive is over for another year, which hopefully will give us just enough time to recover before we head back to Texas for the 2015 festival.

There have been too many personal highlights for me to share them all, but luckily our research team at We Are Social New York  pulled together a few of the most talked about moments on social media from the festival for me to share with you.

Over the three days of the SXSW Interactive festival, there were around 380,000 tweets sent using the hashtags SXSW or SXSWi, peaking on the second day of the festival, 8th March, with 146,000 tweets. Key festival moments included:

A Virtual Conversation with Julian Assange: Due in part to technical difficulties, many users shared photos, videos and quotes during Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange’s video chat. The majority of conversation around this event came before it even started, as attendees waited in line and virtual attendees shared streaming options.

Wikileaks itself tweeted several quotes throughout the session.

The New Digital Age: Twitter users heavily quoted Google’s Eric Schmidt in this technology-focused session. Some criticised his ‘celebration of capitalism’ spin, as well as ‘data security’ and anti-NSA comments.

SXSW Interactive Keynote Austin Kleon: Author Austin Kleon’s keynote session was seemingly the most quoted on social media from the first day of the festival, as users flooded Twitter feeds with inspirational quotes on collaboration and creativity.

Man Up: Gender & Work-Life Balance Debate: One of the more popular sessions to follow on Twitter, both by attendees and non-attendees, this session received praise for its content focusing on reduced working hours, work/life balance, and how this affects innovation in the workplace.

A Conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson: American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse received lots of positive feedback on Twitter for his session on science and space. In addition to tweeting quotes from Tyson, attendees also said they felt smarter or gained perspective after listening to the keynote speaker, who managed to add an element of humour to his highbrow subject matter.