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SXSW: The Word on the Street

By Jennifer Van Grove
|  Monday, Mar 15, 2010  |  Updated 4:54 PM CDT
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SXSW: Music and Media Festival

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Participants work on computers and relax during the SXSW Interactive conference.

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It's day three at SXSW Interactive and people are buzzing about the famous names, the happening parties, and yesterday's keynote speech on Google Buzz's privacy blunders by Danah Boyd. A large majority are also busy tweeting about Twitter and Foursquare issues -- highlighting just how important these services have become to the interactive lifestyle.

Crimson Hexagon looked at a representative sample of tweets over the past three days and found that a chunk of the backchannel conversation is focused around frustration with Twitter issues and Foursquare hiccups. Of the 4,500 tweets analyzed, 27% are discussing the startups' challenges trying to keep the lights on.

Relatively speaking both Twitter and Foursquare are handling the excessive load quite well. Sure there have been blips on the radar, but those blips have been amplified by the nature of the respective social media services.

Of course Foursquare can wear the exclamatory tweets over service outages as a badge of honor. The location-sharing service is now a legitimate contender for mainstream attention and the tweets demonstrate just how much users have integrated checkins into their digital lives. Demonstrating such, Foursquare achieved a major milestone yesterday -- 347,000  checkins in one day.

Another interesting finding is that for nearly every tweet expressing love for the event, there's one mentioning how bloated SXSW feels this year. The show is noticeably bigger -- up 4,000 attendees from the previous year -- and it's hard not to feel like panels and parties are bursting at the seams.

Equal percentages (13%) are using Twitter for name dropping and bemoaning the cost of the show. Some of those venting about the price of food and the pretty penny they paid for their hotel room are also going so far as to say that SXSW is not worth the expense.

With two more days remaining, it should be interesting to see how conversations evolve and whether or not the value of SXSW becomes apparent to the current naysayers. 
 

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