First-year student David Bellona shows us the crowds, the slides, the food, and the general onslaught of activity from a day in the life at SXSW.
I feel like I’m inside the Internet.
At SXSW Interactive, there are hundreds of distractions around every corner. “Hey! You heard about NewSocialSiteMashup.com? You can tweet or connect with us on Facebook. Scan the QR code for more info or take our coupon to the PepsiMax tent for a free download from Microsoft, sponsored by AOL. Just ride in a Chevy Volt on your way there.”
The above is echoed every ten-feet, begging for your attention as you concentrate on the next Foursqaure check-in, Twitter blast, or Hashable connection with your phone. It’s no wonder that alcohol flows freely at SXSW — you need a few drinks per day to handle the onslaught of marketing babel. This wasn’t the case inside the conference rooms. Once seated at any variety of panels, talks, or workshops, you only had to concentrate on one thing — the presentation. Attendees were encouraged to leave a talk if they found it uninteresting, conditioned from the speed of life outside. Some were great and some were ok, but with the exception of some, many failed to proclaim a new, prolific idea, seemingly afraid of a potential twitter backlash that would begin before the presenter had finished.
With little time for vowels, startups, entrepreneurs, attendees, and presenters connected with one another at a variety of networking parties. Attempting to navigate a packed lineup of events, one can feel an anxiety typically reserved for Internet surfing. By Monday, I learned to relax a bit, soak in what SXSW and Austin had to offer, and chose my events casually. Follow a typical day at SXSW here and on my flickr photostream:
More photos on flickr–David Bellona, Class of 2012