Tech and Social Media

SXSW was tech heaven and every which way you looked, there were people with the latest gadgets in hand. It’s the only place I have been that when taking a crowded lift, without exception, everyone was simultaneously checking their smart phones! As I walked around the conference venue it became quickly apparent that those who hadn’t just aquired the new iPad 2 more often than not had version 1, as well as a slimline Mac and at least one smartphone!

In anticipation of the huge number of gadget junkies and Apple fans attending the conference and in addition to the two Apple shops alreay in Austin, a further Apple ‘pop up shop’ was opened to meet the demand as the iPad 2 which was launched at the start of the conference. Standing in line was a couple of hours duration I was told and having been shown the reward reaped for doing so I have to say the device is very wantable and amazingly slim and light. In the interests of education Apple I’d be more than happy to test drive it and evaluate it for you!

Mobile apps were a popular topic and many a start up was touting the latest app developed by them. Ones that caught my eye were Screach which enables interactive experiences for events and Keepsy which allows you to create photo albums with your friends from anywhere in the world. New to me but apparently already well established in the US were Gowalla (competition for Foursquare) and MapQuest (competition for Google Maps). I always think a bit of healthy competition stops a product’s future development becoming complacent, so hope suggestions are are taken on board!   

I went to a great session that was delivered by Erik Qualman (well known for his video Social Media Revolution and his book Socialnomics) and Julia Hartz from Eventbrite, both of whom said keep in touch after our chat about the use of social media in higher education. That was the amazing thing about the event as you actually got to meet the creators of these great social media tools or authors of books and they wanted to talk to you and help you. I also got to meet and talk to Guy Kawasaki who is without doubt the best public speaker I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to and Lewis Howes the LinkedIn expert, both of whom have taught me so much about social media in the last 12 months. I’ll be adding posts about these sessions in due course.

Twitter was extensively used as a means of keeping in touch with what was going on, as well as to raise questions and answer questions to grab free giveaways. Every session had its own #hashtag simply to filter out the noise from the much used #sxswi. This presented a great way to recap post event and the concept could easily be used in education as this back channel of communication could provide the means for revision prompts.


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