Content Strategy Stories from the Frontline

Rachel Lovinger   March 23, 2010
Surviving SXSW — One foursquare badge at a time.

Here’s the news from the front lines at SXSW: Content is here to stay! Sure, there were people calling for content management systems to rest in peace, warning that social media can destroy your business model, and decrying the death of the New York Times. But, in fact, people are still enamored of digital content in all its forms. They’re talking about who’s making it, who owns it, who wants it, who has it and who doesn’t, how it gets made, where it is, and even how it can live on beyond its creators.

There were nearly 800 panels, lounges, book signings, parties and other events at SXSW interactive this year. Here are just a few of the highlights of my conference:

Understanding Content: The Stuff We Design For – Let’s start with a little shameless self-promotion. I had a great time giving this talk with Karen McGrane (@karenmcgrane) of Bond Art + Science. The slides are posted on Slideshare and you can listen to the audio of our talk on the event details page.

Are Content Farms Good or Evil? Yes. – The answer is not as simple as the title jokingly suggests. As a content strategist, it’s easy to get riled up about this topic, but step back from the hyperbole (sweatshops? sharecroppers? hardly) and the sad truth is that the main offense of content farms is probably going to be a new spike in mediocrity.

Offering Your Content in 100 Languages – June Cohen of TED Conferences, Leonard Chien of Global Voices Online, and Seth Bindernagel of Mozilla discussed how they work with devoted global communities to translate their projects into local languages.

Writing Web Content For A Living – With panelists like Erin Anderson of Brain Traffic and Ian Alexander of Eat Media (as well as Tiffani Jones of thingsthatarebrown and Dan Maccarone of Hard Candy Shell), it’s no wonder that this panel ended up being as much about content strategy as about web writing.

Future of Context: Getting the Bigger Picture Online – Some technical difficulties at breakfast prevented me from getting to this discussion until it was nearly over, but what I caught sounded like a lively and interesting discussion. Hopefully the audio recording will be online soon, and in the meantime the panelists have created a website (The Future of Context) to continue the discussion online.

If you didn’t make it to the conference (or even if you did and couldn’t make it to all the panels you wanted to see), many audio recordings of the talks are already on the site, and many more will be added soon. (Go to the A-Z list of panels, and check the details page to see if your chosen talks have been posted yet.) And if you still can’t get enough, you can always go back and re-read our pre-SXSW Q&A series.

Did you attend SXSW 2010? What were your favorite panels and why? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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  • SXSW Interactive

    March 7 – 11, Austin, TX
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Scatter/Gather is a blog about the intersection of content strategy, pop culture and human behavior. Contributors are all practicing Content Strategists at the offices of Razorfish, an international digital design agency.

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