SXSW 2005 Wrap-Up

So Long Austin

photo by Scott Beale

So long Austin, what an amazing event. I’ve been to my share of conferences and conventions, but SXSW Interactive tops the list. I met dozens of interesting people, ironically the majority of whom are from the Bay Area. Funny how that works.

At SXSW I really had a chance to really dive into Flickr. What a great application. Many people were posting images to their photostream in near-realtime using their cell phones. Here’s my full SXSW photoset.

The tagging feature made it really easy to see other people’s coverage of the event. Of course the hard part is coming to a consensus on what tag to use, but the most popular were either sxsw or sxsw2005.

Technorati was another excellent resource for keeping up with things, especially since many great panels occurred simultaneously. With so many people live blogging, when you were watching one panel, you would be able to keep up with other panels at the same time from the posts on other people’s blogs. Also, when viewing the Technorati tag page for “swsw”, not only do you get all the blogs with that tag, but Flickr, del.icio.us and Furl tags show up on the same page as well.

Aside from all the great panels and conference-specific stuff, highlights for me included, but are not limited to:

– Hanging out with Eddie Codel and Srini, realizing that Webzine (an independent online publishing event that we were involved with producing from 1998-2001) was so far head of it’s time. In fact many Webzine alumni were in attendance at SXSW and Eddie was so inspired by what was going on there, that he’s even thinking about reviving Webzine (more on that later).

– Friday night’s “Break Bread With Brad” event. I never actually met Brad, but I had an excellent time and connected with all kinds of great people. Thanks Brad! (Also, thanks Jason for the tip on that one).

– Meeting SFist kingpin Jackson West. The man with the secret stash of beer at a party that’s run dry and who, in the midst of said party, proceeds to file his excellent recap of SXSW (check it out, I made the society pages). Now there’s a dedicated journalist, I mean blogger, no actually journalist…wait, is there really a difference? SXSW chewed on that topic as well.

– Great Tex-Mex breakfast and lunch at Las Manitas (Molly, good call on the migas).

– Talking to Jonas Luster, especially if he was discussing “Folksonomy”. In one of the panels, Jonas said that he was “formerly an academic but, he’s feeling much better now”. Some non-verbal moments with Jonas can be found here and here.

– Free booze courtesy of Blogger or I guess technically that would be Google’s $.

– The Lipstick Revolt at the Gawker party. Check out Min Jung’s SXSW Kisses photoset for the back story on this one.

Kevin Smokler’s annual “SXSW Closing Dinner” at Castle Hill Cafe. One of the highlights of that dinner was watching Tantek markup the menu in CCS and XHTML as Matt Mullenweg and Eric Meyer argued with him about which code was correct for the various tags. That was a moment of pure geekosity.

– After all these years finally meeting Bruce Sterling, who had this really nice thing to say about Laughing Squid Web Hosting on his blog back in 2001 (scroll down to 12/5/01). Also met Alex Steffen, editor of the supurb Worldchanging, which until recently was hosted at Laughing Squid (due to the huge success of their website, they simply outgrew our servers). Bruce interviewed Alex for the final keynote yesterday. I met both of them at Bruce’s infamous closing party last night at the American Legion Hall of Honor. Here are Bruce and Alex at the party. Thanks Bruce, for hosting such a great bash. I think every party should have cannons in the front yard.

Finally, I leave you with this image. It’s up to you to interpret how it applies to online publishing and the future of the web. Actually it’s just a guy riding in a car trunk who really wanted to ride in the car trunk even though we all had extra room in our cars. I think he’s just doing his part to Keep Austin Weird.

Photo Gallery: SXSW 2005

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