5 Cool Takeaways from Silicon Beach Fest

By Debra Eckerling 

With elements of social media in most of the panels, Silicon Beach Fest exemplified the convergence of online and real-life social at its best!

Silicon Beach Fest, which focuses on the start-up, social, tech, and entertainment scene, took place last week (June 19 – 22) in Santa Monica, California. The event, produced by Digital LA, is the second annual fest “by the beach.”

“Silicon Beach is awesome because, despite the name, it embraces the startups throughout Southern California,” says Serena Ehrlich, Director of Marketing, Mogreet. “There is such a diverse group of startups in this region – from mobile to storytelling to financial and more.”

One of the most remarkable things about Silicon Beach Fest was the through-line of social media in every aspect of the conference. There were lots of Tweets, Foursquare check-ins, and posts on Vine.

Here are 5 cool takeaways – social media and tech – from the 2013 Silicon Beach Fest.

1. Engagement is key.

“Attendees and panelists talked a lot about ‘engagement’ and the fact that it isn’t just a buzzword anymore,” says David Beebe, SVP, Digital, FishBowl Worldwide Media. “As content and social become co-dependent of each other, audience engagement is critical. If content isn’t relevant, doesn’t have context, or doesn’t evoke an emotional response, the likelihood of engagement – be it liking, commenting, sharing, etc. – is minimal. And if content doesn’t spread, it’s dead. Part of the creative process is understanding why viewers will want to watch and interact with it. It’s not enough to produce amazing stories.”

2. Developers, designers, content, creative, and social media people can exist – and thrive – in the same space.

“I thought the event was a wonderful opportunity to meet new and existing professionals in the technology, entertainment, communications, marketing, strategy, and finance sectors,” shares Sean Gera, Marketing Manager, CalFire. “I enjoyed the diversity and the great promotions. As an established sponsor and former start-up, it was a great opportunity to discuss possible ways to work together and grow with nascent companies and entrepreneurial minds.”

3. New faces came out to experience and explore.

“My favorite part of Silicon Beach Fest is the opportunity it gives everyone to step back from what they are doing individually and look at the growth and excitement of the LA tech scene as a whole,” says Taylor McPartland, co-founder and president at FilmBreak. “Swapping stories and insights with experts, friends, and competitors in a relaxed environment is something we don’t have a chance to do every day. SBF gives us that chance.”

4. New apps and startups are popping up all over.

“There was an abundance of talent and tech showcased at Silicon Beach Fest, but I was especially impressed by the Hackathon participants,” shares Jeff Tinsley, founder and CEO of MyLife. “These hungry entrepreneurs from Los Angeles creating innovative social media applications prove that Silicon Beach is boiling over with startup stars who seriously rival our northern counterparts.”

5. The vibrant, creative community of Silicon Beach will only continue to grow.

“There is no doubt that Silicon Beach is bubbling with intense activity in the technology sector. A tech base has been forming for more than five years and is attracting global attention,” explains technology journalist Brian Deagon, Investor’s Business Daily. “The LA tech scene has been through several iterations, but the Silicon Beach scene now has some of the best activity we have seen since 2000.”

Silicon Beach Fest exemplified what social media is all about: combining online and real-life knowledge, networking, and relationships.