10 Ways SXSW IS the Internet

Posted by | Conferences

Since I took a departure from the intent of my previous posts, to provide an unofficial guide to SXSW, I thought it nonetheless would be helpful to share the rest of my thoughts on SXSW in a helpful metaphor: SXSW is the physical embodiment of the Internet. The similarities were staggering, really.

Plenty to See and Do

In both places, both the digital and the tangible, there is no shortage of activities and opportunities for conversation. Visitors to each site include brown-nosers, shy observers, obnoxious trolls, as well as kind and intelligent people.

Unsolicited Opinions and Complaints

You know what they say about opinions being like body parts I shalln’t mention here, then you should also know there is no lack of them at SXSW or the Internet. For just a smidgen of the sort of hilarious and ridiculous things that get said at South-By, check out this site: Overheard at SXSW.

Ads Out the Wazoo

I couldn’t stop thinking that all the girls in their branded shirts and tight pants handing out flyers were a lot like pop-up ads, and trust me, I had no problem blocking them. Additionally, there were literal banner ads everywhere.

Information Galore

If you needed to know where an event was or how to get to a certain room, it is easy to get the information you need from someone else or from a SXSW staff member. On top of that, the talks and panels are great opportunities to hold forum on subjects from sex to HTML5.

Content for Everyone

If you didn’t get to do something awesome at SXSW this year, you weren’t looking hard enough. Austin is the type of town that can handle anyone’s dream, and SXSW sets up camp there because it can accommodate an activity for just about anyone. I got to see a live Podcast with Paul Reubens and Dave Foley for crying out loud.

Distractions

Both the Internet and SXSW are chock full of weirdos and weird things. Personally, I think that these people are responsible for lending their charm and making each place interesting and unpredictable. If you don’t stay focused, you might end up somewhere that shows gory Japanese horror films.

Sharing Everywhere

Besides the accessible information and free stuff, people are willing to share their thoughts and advice to those who ask. Who knows, you might even learn something you didn’t know or make some friends by being somewhere with people with whom you share interests.

Things Clearly NSFW

If you want to see some interesting or possibly shocking things, I kindly invite you to click on 6th Street at 2:30 AM on a Saturday. Wow.

Collaboration

Both SXSW and the Internet have thousands of writers, coders, designers, distributors, organizers, consumers and creators all working together to create a unique and fascinating experience. It’s kinda beautiful, really.

More Than You Could Ever Absorb

Just like the Internet, SXSW is supersaturated with people and information—don’t expect to be able to see it all. Fortunately, both SXSW and the net allow you to explore the things you want to know more about, and MOSTLY avoid the things that are superfluous or uninteresting.Did you go to SXSW this year? Were you a SX-Virgin or a 2nd year curmudgeon? I’d love to hear your thoughts about the festival and how it is changing. Let me know if you’ll be there next year and we can chat about our experiences over a Shiner Bock and some beef brisket. Until then.–JSG