Overwhelmed by SxSW

I’m trying to gather my thoughts about my South by Southwest Festival experience. First thing: overwhelmed. Lots—maybe too much—going on there. During each time slot, there are up to 6 different presentations to choose from. Which one to go to? I sat in on some good panels, some not-so-good panels, missed some good things, and met some good people, the real reason to be there, right. So, some links and maybe some brief notes about them or the people responsible for them.

Jonas Luster designs digital communications platforms. His personal site is jluster.org. He’s involved with Bloggers Without Borders, which works to make blogging accessible to people in places where free expression is frowned upon.

Sean Bonner started Metroblogging, city-centric blogging sites for local information. He’s also involved with Bloggers Without Borders.

Hossein “Hoder” Derakhshan was born in Iran, now lives in Canada and is a journalist and Internet activist. His website, hoder.com, has links to English and Persian versions of his weblog and has numerous links to Iranian bloggers.

Ze (pronounced Zay) Frank got famous for his online videos called “Dance Properly.” What started out as some short video loops of ludicrous dancing maneuvers to amuse his friends, were soon being watched by over 60,000,000 people. (Or, as someone says, maybe 20,000,000 people each saw them 3 times. Whatever.)

Ze’s the kind of guy who doesn’t pay attention to signs on emergency exit doors that read “Alarm Will Sound if this Door is Opened.” I first saw Ze when he was already on the other side of one of these exits, signalling me through the glass to open the door for him. I pointed at the “Alarm will Sound” which looked to him like “dnuoS lliw mralA.” I don’t know how well he reads backwards. I also didn’t know at that moment that he had already pushed through that alarmed door to get where he’d gotten. Once through he’d discovered there was no handle on the other side. So he was trapped in the exterior stairway of an emergency exit. He’s looking at me like I’m some kind of total wimp and loser for not opening the door. What the hell, I think to myself, and push the door open. The alarm Does Not Sound. Ze comes back to the balcony and I say hi.

Apparently Ze now makes his living going around to conferences and speaking—60 million hits will do that for you. Seems he’s now interested in real-time creativity. We’re going to talk about that soon.

Erik Hansen posted this on March 16, 2005, in Blogging.
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