Forging Connections With Art and Technology

Connection is the new digital currency. Brands, individuals and groups actively seek new ways to harness social platforms, art and technology to build relationships. Technological advances on the internet, and now on mobile, make ideas easily sharable. For many brands (and groups or individuals) art is the preferred method to receive and distribute information because people often form quick, emotional reactions. Combined with technology and its amazing idea-sharing opportunities, art is an ideal way build connection.


(Graphic: Jenny Burns)

 Connecting Through Art

How are brands driven by  artistic communities? In a SXSW Interactive session, #BrandsByArt, experts shared their experience about arts and community-centric platforms as a form of social connectivity and branding.

Social media allows people to share their reactions to current events in real time. Josh Karpf, Director of Social Marketing at Spotify shared social sharing trends he noticed on Spotify about important issues. Users are able to use Spotify to express their views through music and trends show popular opinion and reactions to cultural, political and natural events. For example, Spotify playlists reflect popular music, theme songs to popular films and even current news events. According to Karpf, people curated and shared playlists expressing opinion of the government shut-down last year.

The Humble #Hashtag and its Uses

As one of the largest photo-sharing services on the planet, Instagram has a thing or two to say about the intersection of art and connectivity. One popular but often misunderstood way to find like-minded folk is the humble hashtag. Unfortunatley  “[…] only ten percent of hashtags are actually useful. The other ninety percent are random,”  said Bailey Richardson, Community & Marketing Manager at Instagram.  #thismakessense

#Innovation and #Technology #Teamwork Live Feed from a session as many wait in line #sxsw

Outside a full session SXSW attendees stream a live feed and share the content with people waiting in line. (Photo: Jenny Burns)

So can hashtags be used as an effective marketing tool for both large and small organizations? Richardson encouraged brands to listen to the language of their followers and then use this language to inform their own marketing voice. Social media is a “treasure trove” bringing authenticity to the work a company is doing. According to Richardson, following posts by users acts as a “social barometer” showing what people feel about your brand.

According to Richardson, Chris Paul of the LA Clippers, uses Instagram to encourage users to send shoe design photos using a hashtag and browses through the submissions to make a selection. This is a great example of how hashtags can be used to deliberately inspire connection and community around an idea.

 Technology Enables Communication

Sharing and connection doesn’t only happen in the virtual world. Popular sessions at SXSW fill up fast, so many people often wistfully wait outside a full room with hopes to get in. Some tech-savvy attendees waiting in line put their devices to use by organizing a colleagues on the inside  to stream live video to their tablet. They were kind enough to share this stream with others waiting in line and, by harnessing the power of technology, they were able to connect and share information across a broader audience.

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