I’ve been going to SXSW for a few years now, and I finally decided that this year I’ll be skipping. And, I don’t know if I’ll be back.
The fact that there are no hotels available didn’t really seal the deal; I have a couple of options for places to stay. I just don’t know the festival can continue to be as awesomely valuable as it has been over the past years.
And, no. I’m (sort of) not doing the hipster-ish, “It’s not cool now because everyone likes it” bit. Last year was nearly impossible to get to or get into the panels and presentations I really wanted to see. There was just so many people. And, with this year slated to have even more people than last year, I just can’t see how the experience can be that valuable.
Now, I am reserving the right to show up for the weekend unbadged and hang out with folks away from the ACC. That, honestly, has been the most valuable part of my SXSW experiences anyway. I’ve formed some great friendships and working relationships over beer, tacos and barbecue over the years.
But, as for conferences, I’ve got my eye set on An Event Apart Boston. San Diego looks great, but also like one that has the most things I’ll probably pick up on my own anyway.
Back at the hotel, recharging all manner of batteries—both electronic and biological—and as I wonder about plans for tonight, I take a moment to completely readjust my schedule for the remainder of SXSW.
My focus had largely been on social media since, you know, it’s my job and all that stuff. But boy howdy were today’s panels a complete bust. Aside from a really interesting keynote I happened to sit in on only because I wanted a cool, dark place to hang while waiting for my next panel, there’s been nothing overly eye-opening or innovative that I couldn’t have figured out from 20 minutes of searching on Google.
Most disturbingly it once again illustrated to me that social media and the “experts” that pave its paths are like watching an ouroboros masturbate. Sooner or later, you’re going to see it cum on its own face, and that’s not pretty.1
Anyway, I’m retooling my schedule to focus on what I focused on last year: Interesting ideas or stories that are based around the use of technology. That’s what I got a lot out of. Not all this “wah, wah, my Facecook panties are in a wad because I can’t monetize my chutzpah.”
The week is still young and I’m optimistic that this year’s conference will be as great as last’s. I just got tripped up by a bunch of social media rockstar’s microphone scarves.