Austin Round-up! The early buzz from SXSWi

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The 2010 version of South X Southwest Interactive, or as I like to affectionately call it “Nerdchella”, won’t even get started until the weekend but the stampede of press releases, teasers, and critiques have been hurled out of Texas like empty  shot glasses at Jenna Bush’s wedding.  SXSWi, unlike it’s uber-cool music counter part, which starts on March 17th, is an unabashedly dorky affair celebrating all things techie. If you’re like me, big crowds of networking types amped up on free cans of Rock Star are a reason to stay home.

Nevertheless, I enjoy knowing the latest gossip and releases from events like SXSWi. By gathering the latest stories swirling around the Internet along with emails from attendees whom I know personally at the event, I have composed a glimpse into SXSWi that can be done from the safety of your armchair!

And now for the preview-

Monday promises to be the big event for social media fanatics as Twitter co-founder Evan Williams gives his keynote interview in 140 characters or less. I kid, but it should be the hot ticket for SXSWi as Williams is known to be an entertaining speaker and nothing says fun like Twitter right? The other speakers in the interview series can be found here.

Also, keep an eye out for the mounting battle between Gowalla and FourSquare that promises to come to a head in Austin. The young whipper snappers of mobile geolocation application innovation will be marking their prospective territories throughout SXSWi. Gowalla has promised to give away hundreds of tacos while throwing a giant Tiki-themed promotional on Monday.  FourSquare, on the other hand, is taking it’s message to the streets and filling the event with chalk for impromptu foursquare games with tons of prizes to give away.

But perhaps the most interesting story of SXSWi thus far belongs to Chevy. That’s right Chevy. The battered but not broken American auto company is set to launch their electric car dynamo Volt, the sedan that hopes to save Detroit. Chevy is arming the convention center with charging stations slapped with the Volt logo on them, of course. Elsewhere, Chevy will be hooking up with Gowalla for “free Chevy ride” contests and littering SXSWi with Tweeters giving away Chevy swag.  All of this social media strong arming is Chevy’s way to test run several new apps said to involve Gowalla.  SXSWi is a perfect place to take things for a spin that might not be ready for mass consumption. Lest we forget that SXSWi is the place where Twitter exploded on to the scene.

Lastly, for those of you wanting to attend, you may enjoy this embittered albeit hilarious article on TechCrunch warning against the temptations of SXSWi.

So check back here at Brandsplat for the latest in Nerdchella news and email me at smahoney [at] brandsplat [dot] com if you have  SXSWi dish you’d like to share with the rest of the class.

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