The obligatory SXSW blog post, year two

Seven days have passed since I returned to Des Moines after the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin, Texas, and unlike last year, my Storify recap is not finished (EDIT: now it is!) and I have yet to upload any photos to Facebook from the week (EDIT: here they are!). SXSW 2013 Badge

This year’s trip was an exercise in living in the moment, as much as one can live in the moment while uploading six-second videos on Vine, applying (subtle) filters to photos on Instagram and pushing out hundreds of tweets each day. I chose panels and talks more strategically; I limited my party-hopping to two (or three…) per night; I forced strangers to tell me about their non-digital lives. Most evenings ended at the Driskill, a hotel bar with its own secret entrance.

I tell people that SXSW is not a sustainable lifestyle, and I stand by that statement. Last year, I tweeted that I was leaving my heart in Austin. This year, after many Interactive attendees left a night early, I was ready to go home. But as I try to collect my thoughts from the most insane week of the year, I realize I’m still processing, still working to place the things I learned into the context of my own life. Here it goes:

Favorite “leaning in” ladies:

“That was kind of cool” moments:

And, of course, the Hilton Lobby dog:


My thoughts on sorority leadership in The Levo League

Several months ago, I started seeing buzz from the online community about The Levo League, a social network geared toward young professional women. From the moment I joined the site, I fell in love with the concept of the site and the well-connected team producing its content. In addition to sharing exclusive job opportunities and connecting young women with mentors in their field, The Levo League also publishes great editorial content, including a series about the professional benefits of sorority membership. When I saw a tweet calling for sorority women to share their stories for an upcoming piece, I jumped at the chance to join the conversation.

Like the story’s author, I never thought I would join a sorority. My high school experience had revolved around the small group of friends I cultivated through marching band and AP classes, and I had always been more focused on school than my social life. But though my collegiate membership in Delta Gamma was a whirlwind of ups and downs, successes and disappointments, I continue to be astonished by the strong alumnae network I’ve found after graduation. During the months I served as vp: communications for my chapter, our leadership team was eager to push the chapter forward into social media, and I happily led the charge. I’m thrilled to share my thoughts on that experience in the story above — and look forward to continuing the conversation, online and off, in the future.

My Q&A on the Pair blog

On April 12, I won a pair of iPhones from a company called Pair.

I’ve had quite a lucky streak lately, but I never expected to win something of such great value. Pair was celebrating the launch of their iPhone app by giving away a pair of iPhones, and on a whim I entered to win and then promptly forgot about the contest.

I had read about the app on Mashable and TechCrunch, but it wasn’t until after I won that Robbie and I played around with it. Pair is a sort of all-in-one app for couples — once “paired,” couples can chat through text and video messages, draw sketches together, add tasks to each other’s to do lists and even “ThumbKiss.” It’s silly, but that’s what makes it fun.

I’m sure there are people that deserved the iPhones more than I did. But thanks to Pair, Robbie and I will be giving our old iPhones to my parents, and I’m excited to welcome them to the iPhone family! My parents are tremendously hard workers, people who think of everyone else in their lives before they think of themselves, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to treat them with something special.

Click the image above to read my post-contest Q&A on Pair’s blog (and see some super sweet pictures of Robbie and me).

The obligatory SXSW blog post

Each March, tens of thousands of Internet folks take Austin, Texas, by storm for the annual South by Southwest Interactive festival. This year, I joined them from March 8-14 for my first SXSW experience, my first visit to Texas and an utterly life-changing seven days.

I wrestled my hundreds of tweets, checkins and photos into a Storify story for the full recap of my week in Austin (and the rest into a Facebook photo album), but because I’m hoping my readers lead much more interesting lives than I lead, I won’t force you to suffer through the social media hailstorm I created through live-tweets of each panel. Instead, a list of a few memorable moments:

Best panels / talks:

Craziest parties:

  • Meeting cowboys at the Computer Blue Party at Rattle Inn
  • Gary Vaynerchuk’s #secretwineparty at Haven
  • Every night at the Driskill Hotel Bar
  • Zya Launch Party at Six Lounge (Nick Cannon!)
  • 3 a.m. dance party at VEVO / NikeFuel Station
Austin weirdness:
  • Grown men in footie pajamas
  • Spontaneous parades on 6th Street
  • Marketers wearing giant blue slices of bread
  • The contortionist at the Copyblogger photo booth
  • Street corner hula hooping

Tastiest food:

  • Torchy’s Tacos with the RecBob team
  • Z’Tejas with new Weber Shandwick friends
  • Asian Fried Chicken at the Squarespace Food Truck
  • The bacon jam (!) at NBC’s TODAY Munchie Mobile
  • Those smoked salmon canapés at the Zya launch

Lessons learned:

  • ABC — Always Be Charging.
  • Downloading that app will not lead to free food or beer.
  • SXSW is not the place to break in new TOMS.
  • The city of Austin will never have enough taxis to accommodate 15,000 inebriated geeks.
  • I must go back in 2013.

My guest post for Change, an iPad-based POS system

During the next few weeks, I’ll be contributing guest posts for Change, a Des Moines-based point of sale system for independent local businesses (think restaurants, coffee shops and retail stores). This week, I discussed how local companies can build customer trust and loyalty through social platforms. Hint: It’s not through self-promotion. Click the image below to read about how one tweet earned my business at a local restaurant, and what other companies can learn from that experience.

Screen shot from Change guest post

3 things GetGlue got right

Tech blogs across the Internet have declared GetGlue one of the top apps to watch in 2012, and after watching it rise to popularity at the end of 2011, it’s pretty clear why. Location-based networks such as foursquare and Facebook Places got us hooked to “checking in” to the events and brick and mortar venues we visited on a daily basis; GetGlue provided a way to check in even from the comfort of our own sofas. And though the entertainment check-in app had many competitors (most notably, Miso) GetGlue became the mobile app for entertainment. Here are three things GetGlue got right:

1. GetGlue organized the conversation around live entertainment. More than ever before, 2011 was the year that a mainstream audience experienced the power of connecting with complete strangers over shared entertainment experiences. Reality shows ran Twitter feeds across the bottom of our televisions. Network dramas held Twitter contests using dedicated hashtags. And when viewers were inundated with pleas to share their thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other sharing platforms, GetGlue brought all our conversations together.

2. GetGlue partnered with television networks to offer exclusives. If there’s anything foursquare has shown us, it’s that we love exclusives, and through a few under-the-radar partnerships with television networks, GetGlue gives them to us. Each time I check in to a live broadcast of ABC’s Pan Am, I unlock a sticker from the episode I’m watching. Streaming episodes of Psych from Netflix on my boyfriend’s iPad? I’ve just unlocked a discount for 10% off Psych merchandise in USA’s online store. And because the networks have been relatively quiet about their GetGlue partnerships, the exclusives I unlock are always a surprise to me — that’s what makes them so much fun.

3. GetGlue and networks understand how our consumption of entertainment content has changed. As instant streaming services continue to define the way we consume entertainment content, even revitalizing shows no longer on the air, GetGlue is working with networks to provide new content and exclusives to fans who may have “missed the boat” on television shows’ original runs. I love the nostalgic sticker (below) that The CW shared on its One Tree Hill page on Facebook — as the CW airs its final season of the show, One Tree Hill fans are flocking to Netflix to revisit past episodes, and this sticker shows that the network recognizes that.

How are you using GetGlue? Do you use it just to check in, or do you join the conversations happening around your favorite shows and movies?