I just got back from SXSW 2009 earlier than planned. It was nice, but last year was better. Taking 3 days plus the weekend off is just too much for my time schedule right now.
Here is a recap in bullet points (fresh from my memory!) –
- 30% more attendance than last year. The blogger lounge was packed. No place to sit.
- Lots more folks this year looking and networking for jobs. Fewer startups.
- The “shwag” (free stuff at conferences that they give out) was seriously lacking.
- You could sense that economy had altered the mood from last year. More somber.
- How was the trade show? (A frequently asked question). In one word: Slow. Not as many startups, not as much energy as last year.
- How were the panels? I only attended 3. Most people quickly realize that sessions isn’t where the real fun is (hint: it’s the lobby!). The first panel was on “Awesome Webisodes.” They talked about how hollywood and independent film makers are now leveraging the internet to build buzz. The second panel was Charlene Li’s “The Future of Social Networks.” You can see the whole presentation here. Main takeaway: You won’t have to keep adding friends to every new site in the future. The internet will know your friends and save them for you. Social networking will be MUCH smarter and integrated. A part of your life. The third panel was about comedy online. It had BJ Novak from the office. The panel was pretty funny (which is why I went), and also seemed to stress that online video is the next hot thing. I guess Shama.Tv was a smart move. = )
- Best part was getting to mingle with lots of cool folks (many of them my colleagues!) Notably (all on Twitter): Pam Slim, Naomi Dunford, Havi Brooks, Nathan Bowers, Dave Taylor, Jonathan Fields, Liz Strauss, Rich Brooks, Sonia Simone, Colleen Waynewright, Vik Duggal, Jackie Huba, Kyeli, Pace Smith, Tamar, Mike Neumann, Ben Finklea, Bobby Fishkin,Chris Brogan.
- But, I didn’t get to go to SXSW. What can I do? If you didn’t get to go this year, don’t sweat it. You can get the information shared on panels and sessions online. Just find the person who spoke and follow their blog. You can also bet that MANY bloggers will be sharing what they learned. Most panelists will also put up their presentations on SlideShare. This is a great way to get the gist of the information. Network on Twitter. Start building relationships and plan to attend Blog World in October to connect face-to-face. Blog world is a more intimate version of SXSW.
Overall, I walked away with more meaningful relationships, some fun ideas, and 2 free t-shirts. = )