Stats track social media, mobile usage at South by Southwest

The interactive portion of the annual South by Southwest event in Austin, Texas, wrapped up on March 15. With an estimated 40,000 attendees, it was the largest technology gathering in the festival's history. In fact, SXSW Interactive expanded to encompass 10 sites at hotels and conference centers around Austin, according to the website of the city's NBC television affiliate.

"All the people here – there is such great energy," Brett Kopf, a graduate student from Chicago, told the television station.

Social media analytics firm SimplyMeasured took the opportunity to track the usage of various social networking websites and mobile applications during the event. To produce it's findings, the company compiled statistics in three categories – group messaging, mobile check-in apps and mobile platforms.

In terms of group messaging, which measures the top apps by number of Tweets, GroupMe was the runaway winner. Sixty-five percent of all users at the festival utilized GroupMe. Beluga was second at 22 percent, followed by Kik at 10 percent and Fast Society at 3 percent.

Not surprisingly, Apple products occupied the top two spots in terms of mobile platforms used. Sixty percent of SXSW Interactive participants did so with an iPhone in hand, while 14 percent used an iPad. Google's Android mobile operating system tied Apple's tablet, at 14 percent, and was followed by BlackBerry, at 12 percent, and Windows Phone, at 1 percent.

The results of the SimplyMeasured's so-called "Check-in War," also weren't surprising. The popular foursquare app took the top spot, as used by 65 percent of all users. Trailing far behind were Gowalla, at 22 percent, SCVNGR, at 12 percent, and Whrrl at 7 percent.

Another social media analysis firm, Geotoko, further confirmed foursquare's dominance at the festival. Of the 48,000 check-ins mapped by the firm, foursquare's app accounted for 32,392. Gowalla had 8,030 and Facebook Places had 7,545, Geotoko found.

The technology portion of SXSW has really taken off in the past few years. In 2007, Twitter's presence at the festival turned out to be a landmark event in the company's rise up the social media ranks. And this year, Apple set up a temporary store for the sole purpose of boosting sales of its recently released iPad 2.

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