Laryngitic effects of SXSW

It’s been, as always, a busy few days in Austin, and it’s nice to have a day of coffee shop downtown with Enrique. I’m completely laryngitic and talking is proving difficult.
This year, SXSW Interactive exploded, and while I’m happy for its success, I don’t like that there were so many people. I’ve always loved wandering the halls of the convention center and seeing people I know, easily finding people at parties. But this time around, it was a lot more difficult. Moreover, so many of the panels seemed to be about the same thing: how to promote or grow your blog, how to promote your startup. I attended relatively few sessions as a result. It’s just not relevant to me. I’m not excited about blogging, it’s not changed my life, I don’t even read people’s weblogs, I don’t use an RSS feed reader. For me, the revolution happened a long time ago, and now I’m onto something different. But for a lot of people, this is all new. I’m happy for them, I’m glad they’ve come together. And yet, I hope that the conference next year will be more intimate. It was jarring, it was so enormous. I didn’t like that at all.
That being said, it was good to hear people like the DIY Media panel, Adam Greenfield’s Everyware session, and Bruce Sterling’s incredible annual state of the Internet of Things. Bruce, like me, has discovered dissident culture. Mine led me to do a thesis on East Berlin, his has come through his recent move to Serbia. He recited Carl Sandburg’s “The People Yes” and cried. He understands words, he may be deriving a new literary theory — that’s what he’s doing with spimes, his networked objects.
It’s time to go see some free shows. Given that Enrique and I are broke grad students, buying a wristband was out of the question ($150 a piece!). I still love Austin more than almost anywhere, would happily live here, would happily teach or go to school here. It makes me realize how dull New Haven is. Alas.


  1. This was only my second SXSW but I also felt like it was that much harder to spot my friends and heroes in the larger crowd. It felt very Bubble 2.0 with a lot of “we will rock the world and get rich doing it” hubris in the air.
    I’m glad you liked the DIY Media panel. I felt privileged to moderate it.

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