Ketchum, Access & Zocalo Combine Forces for SXSW

Among the 32,000 digerati who will head to Austin, Texas for this year’s SXSW Interactive festival, Ketchum, Access and Zocalo will be represented by about 25 colleagues from a diverse array of offices, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco, the UK and Germany.

We will be coordinating our activities, sharing photos and videos, live streaming all the excitement as it happens (hashtagging our tweets with both #SXSW and #Ketchum so you can follow along), and submitting daily posts to the Ketchum Blog for more in-depth observations and insights.

As with past SXSWs, we fully expect this year’s festival to be overflowing with breaking news and breakout startups that manage to make noise and build buzz, as they seek to follow in the famous footsteps of Twitter and FourSquare, both of which successfully used SXSW as launch platforms when they were getting started.

Who will be the darling startups of SXSWi 2012? No one can say for sure. But, I’ll be watching these, among others:

  • GroupMe – multi-party SMS so groups can stay in touch (we’ll be using GroupMe in Austin again, just like we did when it made its debut at SXSWi 2011)
  • Highlight – combines GPS coordinates with social profile information to help you connect with others who are near by and share common interests.
  • Sonar – like Highlight, except that it connects you with others nearby based more on your shared social connections. Six-degrees of social separation.
  • Banjo – Alerts you when your friends or people with shared interests are nearby.
  • Forecast – Let friends know where you’re going and when, before you get there, so you can meet up offline.

Before even arriving at SXSW, the trend I’m seeing is that all of these apps tap the mobile social web to connect friends in the real world.  And that’s fitting, as that’s what SXSW is all about – the social web bringing people together live.

Give me a shout (@jonathankopp) or use any of the above apps to find me if you’ll be in Austin for SXSW. Otherwise, stay tuned here for more SXSW news from Ketchum, Access and Zocalo.

Jonathan is a Partner and the Global Director of Ketchum Digital. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughters, and is into the social web, progressive politics, cycling, scuba diving and travel. Connect with him on Twitter — @jonathankopp — or just about any other social network.