If there’s one thing to tear our national social media attention away from Charlie Sheen’s Twitter page and increasingly strange webcasts (normally I’d be delighted that a high profile celebrity such as Sheen was making such prolific use of social media, and would comment on his record-setting growth on Twitter, but there’s just something so wrong about the whole thing, I can’t bring myself), it’s got to be South By Southwest Interactive, right?
Ah, the annual Austin Geekfest and Party-Til-You-PukeDrop extravaganza. Like many who can’t afford to go and have never had a job that paid my way, I completely despise it. I’m sure it’s got value for those who attend, and as my not-at-all-jealous intro indicated, I’d obviously love to go if the cards ever fell that way. But for those at home and with tons of social media friends clogging their feeds with updates and pictures and not necessarily valuable play by play…it can be a bit grating.
Also annoying? The annual glut of posts either salivating over it or, as I have just demonstrated, complaining about it. It’s a vortex of doom from which there is little refuge. And so, as the old saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
Therefore, what better topic to which to dedicate an entire day’s Jots?
The Value of SXSW – CC Chapman – We have to kick this off with a true SxSW lover, because I just can’t help but feel my anti-SxSW heart grow a little when I read CC’s enthusiasm for the event. He’s almost won me over! “Through the years as I’ve worked on different marketing campaigns, I’ve used technology from vendors I saw on the expo floor, involved influencers that I hung out with over breakfast tacos and more than once formed business relationships with people I met in the hallways of the convention center. While I haven’t conjured up a magical spreadsheet to measure the ROI of this to me, I know it in my heart and wallet that the value is there. That is why every March you’ll find me in Austin, sleep deprived, inspired and counting the days until the next SXSW.”
Three Events for SXSW – Jason Falls – Reminder: SxSW is fun. But another reminder: it’s also really about business (if you want it to be). Jason reminds us that there is a lot of networking to be done and business relationships to form if you’re willing, and offers three examples of businesses to check out if you’re in Austin this week. “Instead of spending all week on Geek Spring Break, staying out late drinking and what not (I quit drinking, remember), I’m going to SXSW with business on my mind and business on my agenda … but with my annual Austin party on the docket too. So here are three companies I want you to meet at South by Southwest and three events I hope you’ll plan on attending while you’re in Austin. For the companies, please find me so I can introduce you to their folks. They are clients, but I wouldn’t put them in front of you if it weren’t worth your time to know them. For the events, please plan on coming. I’ll be hosting/speaking, but others will be, too and you’ll get a lot out of them.”
SXSW Sur-Thrive-al – Laura Fitton – This post reminds me of how much I miss seeing Pistachio all the time when I was a regular at Boston Social Media events! Because if there’s anyone who has mastered getting the most out of events, it’s Laura. Her advice for newbies is spot-on, and boils down to, essentially, “Relax, will you please?” Here are some of the best parts of finding your SxSW zen: “Surf it. SXSW is an ocean. Newbie or pro, you’re naught more than a surfer on a great, big, ocean. Stay with your board. Try for some waves. Let the rest go. Swimming up and down the beach frenetically just exhausts you. Which brings us to…Be still. Find a couple spots around the convention center to call home and chill out there a while. Maybe it’s one of the sponsored lounges, or just a table or floor spot near a flow of traffic. Smile as folks stream by you. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations.”
Going Off-Grid at SxSW – Geoff Livingston – This is the sort of thing I can get behind. Because there is a certain element of “hey look at me, I’m at SxSW, and you’re not!” in all the constant status-updating, I like Geoff’s idea of going off-grid. No status updates and check-ins and constant iPading. Just face-to-face interaction and valuable networking. “The true value of SxSW is to meet other people and network. Real business can be done at this event. That means attending parties, private events and maybe even a panel or two to talk to people eye-to-eye… As opposed to peering into a phone entering a not-so witty status update or gawking at what everyone else is doing online (instead of in front of you). Plus, it is enjoyable to get off the computer and actually talk with people. That’s the best part!”