Many times I’ve heard the phrase “What happens at SXSW, stays at SXSW.” In my case, I hope that’s not true.
South by Southwest is a unique event. For this short moment in time every year thousands of creatives come together in one place where new ideas and relationships are formed.
Last year was my first time at the conference. My first impression: it’s overwhelming. There’s too much to do and see with not nearly enough time in the day. It can leave you feeling like you didn’t quite get enough out of the experience. What I learned is that you have to decide up front what your experience is going to be about. Then, forget the rest.
This year, my SXSW has been about trying to create meaningful connections with other like minded people in multimedia. As someone who produces content for the Web, I often get a sense that I’m more connected than ever, reaching an audience all over the world with videos I make. While that’s great, I get less of the in-person interaction that can make connections so meaningful.
This conference provides an opportunity to meet some of the most talented people in my field and learn about their work. It’s a chance to discover new ideas and techniques.
So what have I done since arriving at SXSW Saturday evening? I’ve talked to as many people as possible — entrepreneurs, filmmakers, designers, developers and lovers of all things Oklahoma, just to name a few. The conversations have been great. Everyone is so excited about what they do, and their enthusiasm is infectious. Hopefully I’ve made some connections that can be beneficial to my work throughout the year.
What happens at SXSW, stays at SXSW. We should really think about changing that.