It is often the case, and perhaps generally the case, that two people in the same room walk away with completely different experiences. And ultimately this could be because each enters the room with pre-conceived notions and the quest for different things. In the same vein two attendees at SXSW 2011 offered up a couple of perspectives that are worth considering. And to be sure, these are just two of many, from this year’s event that was said to be the “most attended.” Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, a marketing agency, thought that there was an “artificial pressure” to discover the next big thing at SXSW. In earlier iterations the confab was more about teaching, learning and debate. This year some could come away with the thought that the conference had sold out to sponsors rather than staying close to its inner, authentic, cuddly, geeky self. Well those last few are not his words.
Still, Schafer believed that this year’s conference wasn’t so much “selling out” as affirmation that people need people – and maybe these are the luckiest people of all. He said that this year’s SXSW message could be, that collaboration is better than competition, when it comes to successful innovation. Then there was Oliver Burkeman, a writer from London’s Guardian who echoed Prince’s statement that the Internet is over. He came to the conference seeking specific definitions of the jargon we all use. What exactly are gamification, user experience and geo-fencing? And should the word “webinar” be outlawed? In the end his take away from SXSW 2011 was that we had come to the end of the big line separating “real life” from “online life.” Perhaps we are real online people who need each other. Can’t wait for next year.
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