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    Posted March 16, 2012 by
    Austin, Texas
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    SXSW through your eyes

    TheRebecca and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: South by Southwest 2012
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    SXSW Trends 2012: Happiness, SoLoMo, Wacky Differentiation


    As the news of happenings at SXSW Interactive 2012 conference begin to roll in, stories on new apps (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/12/highlight-app_n_1339238.html), grand brand displays (http://www.brandchannel.com/home/post/2012/03/15/Doritos-Jacked-SXSW-031512.aspx), and even foodie celebrity sightings (http://eater.com/archives/2012/03/14/anthony-bourdain-at-sxsw-just-the-oneliners.php) flood the newsgates.


    While these stories exemplify the execution of new technologies and ideas, let's take a look at some of the most prevalent themes of this year's SXSW Interactive conference.


    1) Happiness - With panels entitled 'Why Happiness is the New Currency' (highlighting that apps such as Kiip and Path enable you to be rewarded for mobile activity and connect with your closest loved ones, 'Traveling Band: Road Trip to Happiness?', and even a reading of recent book 'The Happiness Project', this recurring theme tells us that more people are seeking happiness in their personal and professional lives. And the conference even provided a platform for more happy projects to trampoline from. My live blog (http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-760474) from The Startup Bus final competition included details about an app. created en route to the festival called Happstr (http://happstr.com/) which enables users to check-in when they are happy and spread smiles with friends to make the world a happier place.


    2) SoLoMo - A relatively new term coined by venture capitalist John Doerr (http://schott.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/solomo/), this term combines the power of Social, Local, and Mobile strategies to bring more value to communities and people in the palm of their hand wherever they are. Panels included: 'SoLoMo Redefined: Next Gen Social, Local, Mobile', 'The Local Backbone of the SoLoMo Revolution', and a SoLoMo Meetup even took up a spot in the official robust SXSW schedule. After attending 'The Local Backbone...' session, I took away valuable knowledge about how optimizing your website for your specific community can help you market more acutely to your proximate target market.


    3) Differentiation- Whether it's Mashable (a major online technology publication) standing out from the crowd by publishing their first-ever print editions and distributing them on the streets wearing "paperboy hats", the band that played live music atop a moving bus that displayed signage with the name of the musical act while driving through the streets, or the pop-up coworking spaces provided by New York's Grind (www.grindspaces.com) and Turnstone furniture (their air-conditioned coworking space took place inside a fully-furnished mod-bus), brands have proven they will do anything they can to stand out from the crowd, even if it means taking on a completely different form or using a contradictory medium to their core product or service.


    As conveyed by the trends at SXSW Interactive 2012, perhaps the key to happiness includes a combination of social, local, mobile, and even the wackiest ideas to grab the attention of a thirsty audience.


    No matter what your business strategy is, go forth and be happy.


    More SXSW coverage can be found at http://www.localizeaustin.com.

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