SXSW Interactive 2011 Rules

2011 SXSW Interactive has been just as good if not better than last year. The panels have been great, and the people are amazing. I have so much more I want to see and do with only a couple days left.

Here are some of my highlights so far:

Branding and Marketing panels – Located in Ballroom F, there are 4 sessions a day dedicated to branding and advertising in the digital age. “banking on big brands / celebs for the web” was cool. The “brand journalism” panel had the most value for my work. The discussion around the role of nonfiction journalism for branding purposes was actually interesting and informative. I also enjoyed “storytelling through advertising: engaging players in online games.” Content must be seamless and advertising must be a value add part of the experience and not a simple banner or video.

The people – Seeing my favorite social media evangelists is always fun and a great learning experience. I was able to get Jason Falls‘ opinion of the best brand and market research tools, and I will be following up on is recommendations regarding NetBase.

ScreenBurn - this event has little to do with my work and more to do with my gaming addiction. Mortal Combat, HomeFront and many indie games you have never head of are all on display with playable versions.

Free stuff – I think i’m at 6 t-shirts and i have only paid for 2 meals. There is free food and drinks nearly everywhere you go. Some sponsors even have people walking around buying attendees nearly anything from the many food booths around the convention center. Starbucks is everywhere…

After hour events – I’ve had the most fun and the best conversations at the many sponsored events after the panels and sessions. I’m excited for techcocktail tonight.

I’m loving SXSW and I’m only halfway through. Follow my tweets to see pics and insights from the many events.

A squirrel trying to get a nut at the foursquare party