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SXSW 2011

Winners Announced for First-Ever CNN iReport Awards

The winners of the inaugural edition of the CNN iReport Awards were announced Tuesday at the CNN Grill at the 2011 South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, by CNN.com participation director Lila King. They were:

Breaking News Coverage: Michael Roberts, early images of Deepwater Horizon fire;

Original Reporting: Percy von Lipinski, bison as pet;

Compelling Imagery (Photos or Video): Mugur Vărzariu, Abandon Valley;

Commentary: James Amerson, Dear Gulf, I’ll miss you;

Personal Story: Faithe Chu, My escape from Vietnam;

Interview: Tristan Macaraeg, 16-year-old interviews classmate on living in foster care;

Community Choice: Samantha Bolton; and

iReport Spirit Awards: Janie Lambert, Julio Ortiz-Teissonniere, Omékongo Dibinga, Shari Atukorala, and Sherbien Dacalanio.

foursquare Has a Platinum Hit from Bravo On Its Hands

Bravo will preview upcoming music-competition series Platinum Hit during a March 16 panel at South by Southwest, How to Become the Next Big Hitmaker, and the cable network teamed up with foursquare to allow fans to unlock a special Platinum Hit badge by using the location-based mobile app to check in at various locations in Austin, Texas, Broadcasting & Cable reported.

Fans who earn the badge will be eligible to attend a meet-and-greet with Jewel, the host and judge of Platinum Hit, at the Spin Loft March 17, with the first 90 being admitted, according to B&C.

Bravo also teamed up with foursquare for its Watch What Happens Live New Year’s Eve special.

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foursquare 3.0 Set to Debut for Android, iPhone

The short history of foursquare contains several ties to South by Southwest, so it’s only fitting that the location-based mobile app will ring in this year’s SXSW by releasing version 3.0 for Android and iPhone devices Tuesday night.

One of the most prominent new features in the updated app is an Explore tab, which offers suggestions based on users’ previous visited places, friends’ visited places, users’ trends, time of day, and other factors.

Highlights from a post by co-founder Dennis Crowley on the foursquare Blog:

It was almost exactly two years today that Naveen Selvadurai and I flipped the switch on foursquare, jumped on a plane to Austin, and introduced the folks at SXSW 2009 to our idea of “turning life into a game.” We’ve told the story a number of times, but we really had no idea whether people would dig the “check-ins and game mechanics” model or laugh us out of Texas. As it turned out, a lot of people loved it. By the time we got back to New York, we had 5,000 users. We started a company, raised a round of funding, and hired a bunch of the smartest people we could find.

Last year, we came back to Austin with a slightly bigger team (12 of us!) and more confidence in our ideas. Not only were people digging the “life as a game” idea, but we were seeing foursquare badges actually driving people to do things (“Gym Rat” badge, anyone?), we saw mayorships encouraging loyalty at coffee shops and restaurants, and merchants starting to reward people for their check-ins (“free coffee for the Mayor!”). It wasn’t hard to see how the social utility of check-ins, tips, and to-dos were starting to change the way people experienced both familiar neighborhoods and new cities. We launched “Trending” at SXSW 2010 — a way to see where a critical mass of people were checked in — and watched as people at SXSW used it as a “sixth sense” to know when it was time to switch parties and as a way to choose which panels to gravitate toward. We left Austin last year with just under 500,000 users.

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Check In with Big Boi at SXSW Thanks to foursquare, Pepsi MAX

Hip-hop star Big Boi will hold a concert for 2,000 fans Monday, along with The Sounds and Locksley, at Seaholm Power Plant in Austin, Texas, as part of South by Southwest, but tickets are only available via foursquare, which teamed up with Pepsi MAX on the event.

Interested fans must follow Big Boi on foursquare and check in at SXSW venues to increase their chances of unlocking the Golden Ticket badge. Those who earn the badge should go to the Pepsi MAX Lot at 3rd and San Jacinto between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday to claim their pair of tickets.