SXSW 2009 in Austin is the place to be, at least virtually via Twitter and the Web for me this year

SXSW '09

This weekend was a busy one for us at home, otherwise I would have found a way to travel to Austin with several of my friends to attend South by Southwest 2009 Conference in Austin, Texas.

For those of you who don’t know, a good summary is offered here on SXSW from the local paper:

"South by Southwest is a music lover’s heaven. But wait — it’s also a film lover’s dream. And, yes, it’s a techie’s delight. What started as a small Austin music festival 22 years ago is now a full-blown music, film and interactive jamboree known worldwide.

Welcome, SXSW. You’re grown up and spectacular but still very much a genuine Austin experience.

Starting Friday, Austin’s downtown will swell with people and events as SXSW kicks off. Bring on traffic and people congestion. Austin is ready and thrilled to host this year’s 10-day happening that is expected to draw 100,000 attendees. This is just the kind of festive event the city needs to shake off the blues of a slumping economy. The Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau estimates that the SXSW jamboree will generate about $103 million for the Austin-area economy."

The SXSW conference also offers a music fest offering nearly 2,000 musical acts from around the world on over eighty stages. Although I’ve never been to one in the 23 years it’s been going on, I have always resolved that I would when I made it back to the music business I left so long ago. Now more than ever at is a destination for media, technology, music and art. (I went to my fair share of New Music conferences in New York, which offered dozens and dozens of bands, but that was pre-Internet, and when I had a Compuserve address that ran up a hefty monthly bill that eclipsed even the most precocious teen texter today.)

Next year.

But this year, I decided to spend time after the family drifted off to sleep this weekend to catch up on the goings-on over the filmmaking, music and technology.

Articles from around the Web

Here’s a collection of articles I queued up to read today from the web. The Word on SXSW 2009 is at March 10, 2009, By Ken Stewart of ChangeForge (Twitter/FriendFeed) — "Need to get the word on South by Southwest 2009? Get, a targeted social media platform, brought to you by BlogWerds Media, dedicated to the niche content vertical of SXSW to deliver what’s happened, what’s happening, and what’s happening next. "Co-founder Eric Berlin, who also writes here on, has positioned the Werds-brand as a highly-targeted content aggregation coupled with social media tools for what’s coming next."

Thrive Selected as Finalist for Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW – "Thrive (, a free personal financial advisory website, has been named a finalist in the Innovative Web Technology category for the inaugural Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW, where early stage technology companies will demo their creations in front of judges and a live audience. Sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark, Moontoast, Mosso | The Rackspace Cloud, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, more than 200 companies submitted to present at the Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator at SXSW, and 20 were chosen as finalists in four different categories: online video-related technologies, online music-related technologies, social networking, and innovative web applications."

Navigating SXSW the social way, March 13, 2009, 11:20 AM — ITworld — by Joe Doherty — "If you happen to be perusing any sort of website talking about the South By Southwest Conference (SXSW), you’ll probably see three names you and the popular media have come to know well: Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Without a doubt, you will be able to view many new video uploads on YouTube documenting the day and night’s events within minutes of the actual event commencing. Flickr images will be posted and shared to those who give a care. Twitter, though, is fascinating."

Now, this is just plain silly, as my grandfather would say: Suicide girls get sizzling bacon ‘bro’ tattoos at SXSW (courtesy of the Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2009) – "Talk about bringing home the bacon. At Saturday night’s Bigg Digg party at Stubb’s BBQ in Austin, Texas, I ran across two young ladies from the tech world who were sporting brand-new, hot-off-the-grill bacon tattoos. Lynn LaVallee, a.k.a. @poshy, and her friend Jessica Zollman, a.k.a. @jayzombie, in town for the South by Southwest music and media conference, consummated their roommate-ship early. The two San Francisco-based women, both Suicide Girls (that’s the Web’s "enlightened" erotic-photo site), are moving in together next month, and they both love bacon. Hence the decision to get their "bro tatts." Bacon is, of course, one of the Web’s silliest memes."

Where to eat in Austin – Entertainment News, SXSW News, Media – Variety – "Full disclosure: It’s been a long time since I lived in Texas and when I did, it wasn’t in Austin. However, over my 23 years in that state, the city became my kinda-Mecca. (Sacred, yes. Holy, no.) "All of which is not a bad way to describe the perspective of the tens of thousands who converge on SXSW every year. If you’re among them, you deserve to eat well. Or to put it another way: You’re a fool if you don’t. The best breakfasts in any city/state/country. Fantastic Tex-Mex. And, of course, the barbecue. With that in mind, I’ve assembled a top-10-plus-five list: Ten places I know, love and can vouch for; five that I don’t know but hope to based on recommendations from Those Who Know. Some, but not all of these places are within or walking distance from Austin’s downtown. For the closest-to-definitive list of SXSW-accessible restaurants, go to SXSW Baby!, the terrific and utterly unofficial SXSW blog. There you’ll find a fairly exhaustive rundown, complete with Google Map."

Interactive revolt at SXSW – Entertainment News, Technology News, Media – Variety by LIZ SHANNON MILLER — "Over the five days of the SXSW Interactive conference, there are some 120 panels that discuss and dissect Web 2.0 with topics ranging from "Pimp My Film’s Website" to "Digital Cinema for Indies." However, the biggest news to come out of the event was, appropriately enough, virtual. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a reputation for being a poor public speaker, so those attending his Sunday keynote discussion hoped moderator Sarah Lacy would steer the conversation. However, Lacy, a columnist for Business Week and writer of an upcoming book on Zuckerberg and Web 2.0, ended up steering the conversation directly into oncoming traffic."

SXSW: Web Video Isn’t Killing TV by Jessica E. Vascellaro at the WSJ blog notes that "While the popularity of online video skyrockets, a panel of comedians and technology executives cautioned that the content is still a long way a way from destroying traditional TV. "That’s not to say that Web video isn’t changing the way TV actors and writers think about their jobs… The panel — which highlighted the role comedy plays in driving Web hits — quickly expanded to assess the success and influence of online-only content in general. B.J. Novak, a producer of “The Office” who also plays temp worker Ryan Howard, said NBC’s hit show spends reasonably big bucks investing in shorter online-only “webisodes”, in part to experiment with what works and what doesn’t online. “Everyone is still trying to figure them out,” he said, adding that he thinks the term “webisode” will disappear in the future as people watch more TV content online and vice versa." | NXT: Next Generation: SXSW: – Talking about shoes, saving newspapers? – Justin Ellis over at the Maine Sunday Telegram writes (March 15, 2009) that "I am not much of a shoes guy. I have shoes. I like certain pairs more than others, but they’re more of a utility than a fashion accessory. "So when someone mentions, my brain starts to nod off. This could have meant double jeopardy Saturday afternoon at SXSW Interactive. After traveling for more than six hours and jumping time zones, the first thing I attended was the keynote talk from CEO Tony Hsieh. "But something odd happened. As Stephen Colbert might say, Hsieh "just blew my mind." "Hsieh didn’t come to SXSW Interactive to talk about shoes or even the selling of shoes. Instead he decided to talk about customer service and how it wins the day for companies. If you’re like me, when you hear the phrase "customer service" you get visions of a dingy desk at back of a department store staffed by a kid who’s filing in for someone on their break."

On the page you’ll find links to many interesting items, including this one offering a graphic recording of Tony Hsieh opening remarks…


If you missed yesterday’s Opening Remarks with Tony Hsieh of Zappos, then check out the graphic recordings from Sunni Brown and Marilyn Martin to get some of the main points from his speech. Also, be sure to catch the Keynote Interview today from 2:00-3:00 pm with Nate Silver of and veteran journalist Stephen Baker. The keynote interview runs from 2:00 to 3:00 in Ballroom A, with simulcasting in Ballroom B, Ballroom C, Room 9 and the Day Stage. We expect a big crowd for Nate Silver, so be sure to get to Ballroom A early if you want to get a seat.

SXSW: Digg’s Party Brings Rude Rock ‘n’ Roll ‘Tude to SXSWi | The Underwire from – Who says parties are dead at SXSW? Michael Calore has this article noting how "Diggnation hosts Alex Albrecht, left, and Kevin Rose kick off a live-on-stage version of their podcast with a ceremonial shot at Stubb’s. AUSTIN, Texas — It was an unlikely scene for a dot-com party. Drunken revelers raising their fists to offer a devil’s horns salute to a stage flooded with bright flashing lights, kids shouting and clamoring over one another to get closer to the fray, and guitar solos cranked up a few decibels too many. "The Bigg Digg Shindigg was more like a rock concert than a party at a tech conference. It was hosted by social news website Digg and web video site Revision3 here at the South by Southwest Interactive conference Saturday night."

PR Newser (also tweeting the SXSW conference on twitter) has several posts on SXSW, along with these SXSW Odds and Ends from the PR Newser feed today (March 15):

ZDNet blogger Andrew Mager gives props to Porter Novelli: "As a member of the press I’ve gotten great information, offers to setup interviews, and many VIP party passes. These guys know what they are doing."

Blogger Tim Street catches up with Brian Solis to talk TechSet and how it is "changing what advertisers, marketers and public relations agencies are changing because of social media."

Steve Rubel (who is not at SXSW) points out "A Twitter visualization tool from PepsiCo with tweets about SXSW."

CNET’s own Buzz Out Loud 930: Live from SXSW has a report from Day Two by Jason Howell ‘tho hit with a SNAFU of sorts…

Blasted XP didn’t warn me that my hard drive was full! Therefore, half of the podcast didn’t record. Thankfully, I was able to salvage yesterday’s episode from the Ustream recording, so here it is! Special guests include ZDNet’s Andrew Mager, SXSW Event Director Hugh Forrest and Blogger’s Rick Klau.

As noted on the 2009 SXSW Interactive Cheat Sheet (found here) the full 2009 panel schedule is available online.

"As you contemplate what daytime programming that you want to attend at this year’s event, please remember that we will make audio recordings of all this content. In other words, if you miss the panel during the event, then you can listen to it online after SXSW concludes."

You may also find notes posted to from the various SXSW sessions, ‘though nothing is there as of yet.

Variety has a number of articles (old and new) available on for the SXSW hot topic, with links to interviews, articles and more.


Twitter lets you be there in real time… virtually.

It was a good thing that AT&T boosted their network to support SXSW, which allowed the attendees to tweet their thoughts to the masses not in Austin this weekend, along with more Twitpics and live videos than you can shake a stick at (another Texan saying). As noted here on VentureBeat, "Can’t make SXSW? Visualize it in tweets"

"Me and my fellow VentureBeatnik Eric Eldon are here on the ground in Austin, Texas for this year’s SXSW conference. Right now, nothing too exciting is going on, as we’re sitting alone in a cafe writing, but tomorrow the conference starts. For those not at the conference, there’s an interesting, visual way to follow along.

"Pepsi has teamed up with the teams behind two great Twitter apps, Twistori and Twennis, to bring us PepsiCoZeitgeist, a new Twitter visualization tool that showcases tweets about SXSW. For those familiar with Twistori, it looks similar, but rather than focus on the words “love,” “hate,” “think,” “believe,” “feel,” and “wish,” it focuses on more SXSW-appropriate terms: “arriving,” “registering,” “eating,” “connecting,” and perhaps most importantly, “partying” and “drinking.” But those evolve as the conference goes on, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone notes in a post about the feature today."

I thought that this tweet kinda sums it up:

alexinmadison: @nerdist The nerdiest thing going on right now is sxsw – especially since @jonathancoulton and @paulandstorm are playing there tonight.

Here’s a collection of what you can find yourself via Twitter’s search engine for SXSW tweets, this just a sample of favourite tweets over a 30 minute period. I’ll leave it to you to find yourown favourites (and LMK if you have good links to attendee coverage):

shanewilliamson: Pepsi created a Twitter visualiser for the SXSW event – Clever way of watching tweets from the event –

scnn: SXSW, the Conference for Julia Allison and Other People Lacking Real Jobs [Party Report] : What recession? More ..

arielwaldman: One of my favorite panels the first year I went to SXSW was Sex & Computational Technology w/ @qdot & @violetblue on it (be4 i knew them)

sukhjit: @garyvee says videoblogging success comes from content, transparency and authenticity. #sxsw Do you have a question for gary? I’ll ask it!

SHHHE: Facebook new hompage (+open feeds) is going to replace Twitter @briansolis #SXSW

@kevinmarks "the internet is the largest group of people who care about reading and writing ever assembled in history" @shirky #sxsw

joshua_thomas: At another packed #Sxsw session. McGyver meets design.

@jmoriarty: In How Social Media is killing the Revolution with @strebler @penguin and @oddboy #sxsw – don’t just follow ppl who agree

Skud: "the amount of privacy that could’ve happened if apache hadn’t shipped with logging enabled by default is enormous" – #sxsw not being evil

MomCentral: PR firms beware: social media simply offers the ability to screw up with a much larger audience in a much shorter time. #pr2 #sxsw

carmenb: This quote from @garyvee is for @lizcobb: Content is king & marketing is queen. And the queen runs the house. #sxsw

epodcaster: "…if you have an amazing product that could change the world and nobody knows about it that’s no doing you any good either." #sxsw

cheeky_geeky: Gary @garyvee has a good product, works his ass off, and knows his stuff. Forget new marketing until you have those three. #sxsw

adamehrheart: CSS3 presenters were full of it. Why on Gods green earth would Marquee updates be a "Hight Priority" item??? #sxsw

CouchSurfingOri: #sxsw #pr2 @skydiver Twitter is like your 7million person focus group.

hober: I encourage everybody at @ToddHuffman‘s #sxsw panel to check out

@jmacofearth: Unofficial Mac vs “Other” Count at #SXSW Interactive 2009 (UPDATED with PICS) UPDATED!

KellyDanielCNN: vaynurchuk: you could have the best marketing campaign in the world, and if your bottled water tastes like ass, you’re not gonna win #sxsw

CouchSurfingOri: #sxsw #pr2 @skydiver PR Press releases will be dead in 24-36 months. It’s all social media now. Any1 can get in touch w/ the press now.

gaeyia: "Here’s where the difference is: do you have the chops? Is your product GOOD?" #garyvee #sxsw

epodcaster: If you have a great marketing campaign and bad product, Social Media isn’t going to do you any good. By the same token… #sxsw

lesliehatfield: loving yourself the key to success,a common theme here at #sxsw, i guess it’s true, as long as you don’t suck, which is what gary’s saying

@pk2004: The is busy self scaling to cope with a surge in demand. Cool. #sxsw

MegaJustice: More booth zombies from Atozmedia at #sxsw. Yes, I walk the show floors an record what I see for R&D. Zombies can easily be fixed. Just ask.

christine: Lane Becker’s Therapy for the Under-employed at SXSW: What are you going to do with yourself, now that the econo..

CindyRoyal: Embrace your dna, people lie to themselves. Love yourself. Be who you are, "cause you can monetize that sh*t" @garyvee #sxsw #sxtxstate

jmaver: @ggroovin why not just rss feed as broadcast vs twitter. because 1% of people understand RSS, but follow me on twitter is simple. #sxsw

RT @unmarketing: At SXSW, attendees confront Twitter saturation

jeffreynolds: Panels today seem like they were awkwardly organized – can’t get into anything because popular topics are in tiny rooms. #sxsw

omarg: Just did a lengthy video interview with @feliciaday, who was an amazingly good sport (delightful!). Video to come on #sxsw

hesnow: As PR person, don’t share what ur eating for lunch. U are the brand u represent, but connect as a person. Say something interesting. #sxsw

For those geeks heading home and will miss the SXSW Music festival, you can find a preview of the event from this story on last week:

All Songs Considered, March 9, 2009 – NPR Music and All Songs Considered will be in Austin, Tex. next week, blogging, broadcasting and webcasting nearly a dozen live concerts from some of the year’s most exciting bands, at this year’s South by Southwest festival. You’ll hear The Decemberists debut their entire new album, The Hazards of Love, along with performances by K’Naan, The Heartless Bastards and many more, all webcast live on

On this edition of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen chats with NPR Monitor Mix blogger Carrie Brownstein, producer and Second Stage host Robin Hilton, and Song of the Day editor Stephen Thompson about some of the bands they’re most looking forward to seeing at this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex. Hear music from some great unknown bands, like Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned, Passion Pit, and The Weird Weeds, plus Jason Lytle of Grandaddy, Mirah, and Ponytail.

More news on SXSW at Windows Live Search News.

Tags: articles, what I read, blogs, SXSW.

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