True confessions here: I have hardly made it to any South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) tech conference panels or speakers this year. Clearly I haven’t spent time blogging either, since there’s been nothing posted here since Nerd Notes Day One.
This is not unusual for those who regularly attend this event; once you know some people, it makes more sense to spend quality business discussion time with a few of the right individuals than fighting the madness of one panel after another or getting tied to one’s computer. I usually do try to make it to more panels than this, but an annoying cough (often jokingly called “SXSW SARS”) has me dragging.
There have been a few good takeaways for me from the hallways and social events….
- There are a lot of worthy causes that could use the oomph of the social Web, and some are finding ways to give back and provide that kind of help. For example, newly-launched Zoetica Media hosted a Brainstorming Brunch at SXSWi to bring together the kinds of communicators who could help Safe Place use the Web more effectively in their efforts to end domestic and sexual violence.
- Always be able to answer the “So What?” question about your service or product, and be able to explain it clearly in plain language. I spent an hour in a panel about the “semantic Web” and still have no cotton-picking idea what it is. Props to one of the eight panelists – yes, eight, which is absurd – Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land, for some trenchant observations that, you know, some dullard with only a Master’s degree like me could understand. Lazy Language Dunce Cap to the panelist who said “paradigm” not once, but twice.
- Anyone can have their own radio or TV show. Okay, maybe not in the traditional way over-the-airwaves way but if you have good things to say, a microphone and/or a decent camera, you are on your way to being a broadcaster. We talked about social media and tourism with the Jennifer Navarrete and Luis Sandoval Tech in Twenty crew at SXSWi – they do audio and video podcasts about the latest tech news.
- The overall winner of the Texas Social Media Awards was Austin-based location service Gowalla (similar to Foursquare) which is sort of a mobile-based game for checking in to various places like restaurants, stores and bars. CEO Josh Williams is fired up about Gowalla’s applicability to travel and exploring. So am I.
Wrap-up post to follow; thanks for your patience.