Thumb Offers A Reality Test For SXSW Winners

Every year, before, during, and after South by Southwest, everyone’s eager declare someone the winner of the conference. Then comes the inevitable backlash, with questions about whether Popular App X will ever catch on with “regular people” — or if it’s just useful to techies who are constantly checking their iPhones in search of the next party.

For the second year in a row, mobile Q&A app Thumb (formerly known as Opinionaided) is offering its own take. It made a list of the apps that seemed to be getting buzz at the conference, then polled its users on whether they actually used the apps. The results (there were 4,700 responses total, with at least 220 for each question) are being pitched as an answer to the question, “Which SXSW Apps Do Real Americans Actually Use?”

Now, you could make a list of caveats to the results that’s longer than this post. For starters: Do we really think Thumb’s userbase is fully representative of “Real Americans”? And doesn’t the survey’s definition of “SXSW App” seem a bit arbitrary? But I have to admit, I was still curious about the results, so here they are. The most-used app seems to be Instagram (22 percent of respondents said they used it), followed by Spotify (14 percent), Waze (12 percent), and Foursquare (12 percent). Highlight, the app that many predicted would be this year’s big hit, was used by 5 percent of respondents.

Instagram’s victory is no surprise, given the rapid growth the company announced on-stage at SXSW. But if you want to argue about winners, it’s too bad Thumb didn’t ask about the Mophie juice pack.