SXSW is Underway in Austin
Mid-March is always an exciting time of year to live in Austin, TX. As I my colleague Ted mentioned earlier, SXSW has arrived in Austin. Over the next two weeks, the interactive, film and music event will reportedly bring $95 million to the Austin area and thousands of participants from all over the world.
The interactive portion alone last year brought 10,000 people to Austin. This year, event organizers and media speculated that the interactive event will double or triple its size this year, which combats any doubts people had about interest in social media dipping during a recession.
LP&P has several people attending the interactive conference for all five days, as Ted mentioned. Linsey Krauss sits on SXSW's Panel Liaison, which helps coordinate and schedule all of the round tables and sessions and she works closely with the panelists to ensure logistics run as smoothly as possible.
As you might imagine, PowerPoint sessions are frowned upon at this venue, which has to be a struggle for some of the traditional presenters (probably won't find many of these at this event). But it is important to note that the sessions are free-flowing and pretty much agenda-free to encourage an active information exchange. And there will be little tolerance for excessive corporate jargon, or B.S. As Linsey explained, "This crowd doesn't have a problem calling you out." A case in point was the Sarah Lacy interview with Mark Zuckerberg last year.
I guess that is one of the benefits and drawbacks of social media - people often hide behind their devices and say what they really feel (which is often brutal for whoever happens to be the topic at hand). Yet honesty and transparency are in abundance, which is refreshing and it tends to encourage genuine and intelligent information exchanges.
Last year, a lot of the sessions focused on the tools and technology itself, yet this year the panels are set up to explore more trend and business discussions, which to me is a sure sign that social computing is maturing and becoming integrated into the business world faster than many people might have anticipated.
But for those still seeking the bleeding edge technologies, check out the SXSW Accelerator on Monday at the Hilton downtown. And if you want to meet our colleagues at the show, or if you need advice from locals on places to eat and visit in town, Twitter Linsey (@linseykrauss), Lauren (@lwhitt) and we'll help you out! Stay tuned for more SXSW info. In the meantime, you can follow Linsey's and Lauren's live blogging of today's events below.