Here at Skype, we are always looking at new and innovative ways to interact with people. This year we were given the opportunity to make that happen in Austin, Texas for one of the biggest festivals of the year – SXSW.
Our first challenge was to break the mould and find a novel way to give out VIP tickets to our SXSW party. We wanted to create an experience that was accessible for everyone so we parked our mobile street team outside of the Austin Convention centre and took crowd surfing from the rock concert to the streets. Festival goers jumped at the chance to take part with every participant winning VIP entry to the Skype event later that night.
Joining our crowd surfing stations on the streets of Austin was our very own Skype town crier. SXSW Interactive can be a sea of laptops and mobile devices, so to bring some humanity back into the mix, we hired a town crier to read aloud tweets with the hashtags #SXSW and #Skype. Decked out in blue and white, he read tweets from his iPad, serving as a humorous hybrid of old-fashioned and modern forms of social communication.
Everything on our SXSW agenda was about interaction, and nowhere was that more evident than our ‘Eat, Drink, Be Human’ event. The event offered booths where people could access Skype to share their experience with friends and loved ones, learn more about the service and its features, and also try our awesome video greeting app, Say it with Skype.
Forming the event centre piece was a huge interactive stage erected in the form of Skype group video call. This stage played host to acts including the Neon Trees and RJD2. It even allowed for our guests to become stars of the show. Attendees, joining via live participation stations dotted across the venue, were able to accompany the bands in real time video on 3 large screens. For many of the bands it was the first time that they had played on a stage where the audience became such a fundamental part of the performance.
If any of you were able to take part in our activities whilst at SXSW we would love to hear about your experiences in the comments section. We thoroughly enjoyed our SXSW adventure and cannot wait until next year.