The South by Southwest Interactive conference holds appeal for so many sectors of business—social media, non-profits, technology, marketing, advertising, research, video, gaming, media, start-ups –it’s no wonder it’s so popular to attend and why so many want to be featured. Despite much more strenuous submitting procedures this year, SXSW organizers have said that they received over 3,200 submissions for panels and presentations for 2013 alone—a record breaking number and indication of just how many people want to make it to the big or small stage.
The conference has always served as a microcosm of the tech and digital world, giving us insight into the biggest themes of the year and highlighting the general direction of the interactive media marketplace. So what will be next year’s biggest topics and trends?
There’s a lot we can learn from the pool of presentations that were submitted already. When the voting process first went live on August 13th and all of the proposed speaking sessions became visible, we were treated to a wealth of information about the state of interactive now—and with some light data crunching we can draw some general conclusions about the scope of topics that will be popular next spring.
Amount of presentations submitted in each of the prescribed categories:
- Entrepreneurialism and Business: 701
- Design and Development: 520
- Content and Distribution: 467
- Social and Relationships: 291
- Community and Activism: 203
- Culture and Entertainment: 200
- Art and Inspiration: 105
- Health and Medicine: 98
- Government and Civic: 84
- DIY Hacker and Maker: 83
- Diversity and Emerging Markets: 79
- Gaming: 61
- Science and Space: 23
No surprise that entrepreneurialism takes top billing—SXSW has always been a hub for start-ups and has served as the launching pad for many now-big-names like Twitter. We’re a little surprised to not see social and relationships receive more submissions, at the Ad Council we’ve put a lot of focus on igniting conversations and spreading messages online. Any categories you’re surprised about?
This year the Ad Council submitted several panels of our own on topics near and dear to our hearts and those we’d love to spark a discussion around, including:
- Sparking Social Change with Content Integration: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5144
- The Next Generation of Narrative: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5196
- Creating Internal Brand Evangelists: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5937
- The Endframe Game: Which Social Icons Will Win?: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/6014
- Save the Children—A Pro Bono Campaign Fairytale: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5330
- Bullying: Social Media as Problem & Solution: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/4546
- Trimming the Fat: Mobilizing a Couch Potato World: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5882
- Crowdsourcing for Social Change: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5777
- Regulating the Road: Measuring Cultural Change: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5969
If you’d like to see any of the above in Austin next March, we’d appreciate the vote (just click on the link above to register. Voting is open until August 31st.) Have a prediction for the biggest topics at next year’s Interactive conference or have a great panel you’d like SXSW to feature? Tell us about it in the comments.