A recent post in the Atlantic Wire looks at how venture capitalists (VCs) tend to invest in industries that have a high "buzz factor." It cites the fact that, while social media was the all the buzz during 2010-2012, VCs invested six percent of their funds into social media companies. Now, with the shine fading, that number has dropped to two percent. The question posed was is this reflective of a shift in the underlying fundamentals of an industry, or simply a reflection of a drop in the use of buzzwords describing the industry in conferences and the media?

The authors of the post took a look at the most recent SXSW Interactive panel titles and tried to correlate the amount of buzzwords related to VC spending. In 2011, considered by many to be the height of the social media fever, the percentage of panel names with words like Twitter, Facebook and Social was much higher than the most recent event.

In fact, according to an article in Business Week, the social media bubble is deflating, just as the dot com bubble did over a decade ago. The new darling of the conferences and the media is startups. There are more panels about start-ups at conferences these days, and more media stories about the start-up culture, incubators, accelerators and creating a start-up community. At the same time, VC spending on start-ups is on the rise.

As SXSW is considered to be one of the most influential conferences today, credited with making many of the now household names like Foursquare famous, it makes for a good testing ground. Big Data and Cloud are the new buzzwords getting attention at the conference, and VCs seem to be focusing on those types of companies.

Naturally, the goal of any venture capitalist is to get ahead of the trend and find (and fund) the next big thing. So for companies looking to attract the attention of VC and other potential investors, clearly the buzz factor that results from an effective publicity effort may literally lead to a tangible payout.