My Impressions of SXSW 2010 – Think Chatroulette IRL

By • Mar 18th, 2010 • Category: 26th Story, Web/Tech

Baratunde Thurston dancing at SXSW, photo by Anthony De Rosa

Ok, first of all, can I just say, I think that was my all time favorite conference. Ever.

Yes, I know it was overwhelmingly huge, and people are saying this and that cranky thing about it (I’m ignoring) – but to me, it was thousands of super interesting, innovative people in every nook and cranny and there was absolutely no way to go wrong if you’re open to meeting new people.

I inadvertently wandered around on day 1 “alone” – which turned out to be a blessing I tried to repeat every day thereafter. Think Chatroulette in real life and you get the picture of what my days were like.

I’d spent the plane ride carefully orchestrating a “schedule” on my iPhone – but somehow, it all fell apart when I arrived at the check-in. I short-circuited in the face of all the options and resorted to paper printouts of emails, much to the embarrassment of my friends. A few hours in, I ran into Baratunde and he told me to put the schedule away and just wander around. That turned out to be the best advice.

Below are my agenda-less impressions:

  • Douglas Rushkoff is AWESOME despite the fact that he said that books are over because the publishing process takes so long. He gave a talk called The 10 Commandments for a Digital Age and there were so many profound moments I’m not even going to try to sum it up. Just be sure to watch the video.
  • Everyone’s a “Content Strategist” at SXSW 2010. It’s like being named “Michael.”
  • Jeff Pulver’s 140 party was amazing – and not only because I got to meet (and be live streamed) by my internet crush, Leo Laporte. The place was beautiful and the vibe was great.
  • I saw Danah Boyd speak and am happy to report that she fully recovered from the Web 2.0 fiasco. Thank God. I think it was the dress.
  • Gowalla seemed to gain major traction. I heard a lot of people saying they like it better than Foursquare. Honestly, I never fully bonded with the whole “check in” concept, but I have to say, it was useful to know where people were, especially at night when you were done with dinner and wanted to know what was going on. I still can’t imagine “checking in” during my daily life (unless there’s a worthwhile prize – and a “badge” saying I’m the mayor does not motivate me) — but I get it.
  • Leah Jones is amazing. She put together her second annual dinner. It was a private room full of people who didn’t know each other and it still brings a smile to my face when I think about it. Highlight of the evening was realizing that the Stacey who was sitting two people away from me was “Stacey Monk” of #TwitterKids fame.
  • I just have to say it one more time, I ♥ SXSW.
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    And on that I have to agree with you! :) Greetings afvallen buik from Holland.

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