Tuesday, March 17, 2009

#SXSW

So, my first experience at South by Southwest (SXSW) is coming to a close. If you don't know about SXSW, it's a conference in Austin that brings together the best & the brightest in the Interactive industry. There's also the Music & Film segments too, but I'm here for the Interactive, of course.

It's been amazing. They say that your best takeaways from the conference are usually not from the panels, but from the networking opportunities at parties, in hallways, in line for lunch. It's so true. I met the CEO of ICanHasCheezburger, Pete Cashmore from Mashable, my counterpart at Best Friends, Holly Ross from NTEN, and so so so many more. I even walked away with an official LOLcat.

But don't get me wrong. The panels were great. Everything from "Ur Blog Sux and Print is Dead" to "If You Liked it Then You Should Have Put a Digg on It." I even spoke on one, where we recited how our nonprofits measure ROI in a rhyming format. It was so much fun. I love how everyone is casual here - we're all wearing jeans and sporting our org or company swag, they're cursing on every panel, and the speakers have a sense of humor. It's all about forming relationships and being "real". Which is exactly what social media is all about.

One big thing that came out of this - I reactivated my personal twitter account. You simply cannot come here without it. SXSW twitterers have overloaded Twitter many times. Everyone's writing their Twitter handle on their badges. People aren't just twittering where they are or who they're with.... they're broadcasting key takeaways and session content. If you weren't into the networking aspect, you could essentially attend SXSW without being in Austin.

Here's some personal nuggets from my experience:

- i need a new set of business cards with my twitter handle, facebook url, etc on it
- they need more power supplies in the meeting rooms
- whoever designed the austin convention center was on something.
- they need a map of nearby restaurants. there aren't many. I've been living off of beer and saltine crackers.
- it's impossible to know everything that's going on. i didn't even know there was a nonprofit panel on the day stage until i heard about it on twitter.
- twitter is going to take over the world.

So there it is. Thank goodness they're putting podcasts of all the presentations on the site, because it's really hard to pay attention when you've got 100 emails coming in per hour from back at the office.

You can follow my play by play @cariegrls if you're interested. Don't even try to follow the #sxsw hashtag - there's still like 100 tweets per second coming in. If you're in the nonprofit space - I recommend checking out #sxswnp #socialgood and #roi.

Pics are on my Facebook page - more to be added.

See you next year!

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