SXSW: How The Elephant in the Valley Stomped Through Social

SXSW: How The Elephant in the Valley Stomped Through Social

By Andrew Hudson

Following our coverage of the reaction to President Obama’s keynote appearance at this year’s SXSW we’re working with Brandwatch to measure the broader conversations swept up in the desert eddies of Texas’ most international festival.


Traditionally a haven of progressive thought and liberal ideologies, this year’s festival has been upended by an uncomfortable truth: there is a severe gender discrimination problem in Silicon Valley, exemplified in the findings of the Elephant in the Valley survey. It was conceived upon the realisation most men were shocked and unaware of issues facing women in the workplace.


Common terms found across social in the first half of SXSW

Even the festival’s Online Harassment Summit, a full day event focused on solving online abuse, was the victim of some controversy. As well as unsanitary attacks related to the Gamergate fallout, it was subverted by some unfortunate commentary of its own, widely shared across Twitter:

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Come Wednesday evening though, another Obama had changed the conversation around gender to something altogether more positive.

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Mentions of women and equality spiked dramatically on Wednesday night, where the previous peak had been almost a week previous, around the harassment summit.

At the time of writing, mentions of women and equality at SXSW had created over 268 million impressions.


Almost immediately, conversations swung to a more positive sentiment, drowning out what had come before.


Common terms used across social following the First Lady’s keynote

The First Lady’s keynote at the opening of the festival’s musical component used some serious influencer power: a song featuring the likes of Missy Elliott, Janelle Monae and the Kellys Rowland and Clarkson.

The positive sentiment of an all-star women’s anthem promoting female solidarity hit the right notes with an engaged online audience. It was a shining example of the potential offered by using the right platform to reach the right audience with the right message.

Got your own highlights of SXSW? Tell us about the insights you’re interested in @mycleveragency. Or, if you want to find your own insights, check out Brandwatch. Next, we’re considering the impact of conversations around social platforms, and one of the hottest topic of the week: VR.

This post was written by Andrew Hudson

Andrew is myclever™ Agency's copywriter. Like all great writers, he's sensitive, deeply introverted and has a diehard penchant for knitwear.