The Interactive track at SXSW is hopping and a mixed bag. With tons of parties and well-attended panels, it was like a living organism of networked people that are doing it. I have second generation secondhand knowledge (meaning someone told me they heard this at Bob Geldof’s keynote address today … and Geldof may have gotten eroneous info/stats), but apparently the Interactive side of SXSW had 20,000 registrants and the Music side a secondary 18,000. If that’s true, that says something about the music scene (and it underscored Geldoff’s point about music becoming stagnant if it didn’t have something to rally ar1ound – to rebel against.) A few things that were noteworthy about this year’s 5-day Interactive Festival:

gigin

I talked to some folks at cameup.com and gigin.com. They’ve got two related but different social network platforms that are really cool. Cameup.com offers a virtual living room where you can experience (watch) an online event (video, concert, audio, etc) with other people in a video chat room. It’s like watching a movie online with your friends in Australia, West Coast, East Coast and across town at the same time. It gives you the Mystery Science Theater and pop-up video experience while you’re watching something, which is pretty cool. The other folks “in the room” will see your video camera live image or a still photo while you chat and enjoy the main display.

Gigin.com is like a virtual garage band / cloud thing where you can jam with friends on the internet. You can be plugged in to your instrument of choice or even just using available samples to create music in real time.

sxsw interactive stills thehive

Shapethehive.com
offers an invitation to contribute your own creation to a growing online tribe. Curious and cool.

HeyWire.com offers free texting online, meaning mobile devices like the iTouch can share text messages without a cellphone contract. They’ll hook you up with twitter and facebook chatting as well. They have a free app at heywire.com that’ll help facilitate all this.

sxsw interactive stills actsofsharing

ActsOfSharing.com is an awesome and empowering network that’ll give you the opportunity to share items that you’re willing to part with and others can make their resources available and you can … share the stuff. Isn’t that a cool and practical concept? It brings bartering to a convenient level for all of us.

Unlimited Justice is an organization (check out the video I shot of their spanking machine at hmmag.com) that is fighting against corporal punishment in schools. While I’m not quite ready to join their fight, it’s easy to appreciate their zeal and energy in resisting a form of discipline they see as barbaric. You can find out more at ecko.com

sxsw interactive stills imeet

iMeet is a cool virtual platform that allows you to video conference with others in an easy-to-use format. They’re offering a free trial to see how it works at iMeet.com. I like how they stack the video camera windows on top of each other like a wall of monitors.

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