On the ground at SXSW: A stroll around digital Disneyland

I've been on the ground for a few days now at the techy Mecca that is SXSW and I’m still reeling from the sheer amount of stuff there is to see, learn and do, both inside and out of the official venues.

The main attraction

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone drew the crowds for his talk on creativity and redefining how we judge success. But mainly, he was there to flog his new app ‘Super!’ – a tool that aims is to imbibe social sharing with emotion and empathy.

One of the best parts of these big talks (particularly for the more visually inclined among us), are these amazing live illustrations done by Visualhero.

The sideshows

There’s plenty of entertainment to be had just walking between venues – from protests against artificial intelligence and, rather less relevant, male circumcision.

If you want exposure, it’s a pretty smart move to tout your cause in a place where 50,000 social media addicts are your audience.

The crowds

SXSW takes queuing to a whole new level. And for the more popular talks, they really pack them in.

One session I attended saw me sitting cross-legged on the floor, squeezed a little too closely to my fellow attendees, despite having arrived a good half hour early.

Side note: Everyone at SXSW looks like they just found out their dog has died, head permanently down, staring into some device or other. And speaking of dogs…

The furry mascots

Animals seem to be everywhere. Guys in squirrel suits, a whole venue dedicated to celebrity cat appearances and, my favourite – the mophie dogs.

Tweet a pic of your just-about-to-die phone, and a friendly St Bernard will come to your rescue with a portable charger. A stroke of genius in my opinion. Never underestimate the power of cute and fuzzy.

Jo Legg is a senior copywriter at Lida

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