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Tales of SXSW - Part 1

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Jamillah Knowles | 21:30 UK time, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Hello Outriders!


This week I've been in Austin, Texas for the South by South West conference SXSW. The event celebrates 25 years this year so we catch up on the origins and chat with people in attendance.



Each year SXSW is split into music, film and interactive sections, naturally we were wired into the interactive panels, speakers, activity sessions and meet-ups. The event is large, with many locations for sessions spread across the city of Austin. So best to be wearing comfortable shoes.


This week's podcast is the first half of our SXSW coverage, with thousands of techies, creatives, founders, designers and writers at the Interactive event, we had to come back for more to fit everyone in.

First up a selection of attendants tell me what they think SXSW is - which turns out to be different but the same for most of them.



Peter Blackstock is one of the editors of the SXSW Scrapbook, a collection of images and tales from the creators, past guests and attendees. Going back to the roots in music in 1897, the book tells a tale of rapid evolution and expansion in first person storytelling. In the first part of my chat with Peter, we talked about how one good idea became a huge event on the geek social calendar.


Naturally at a conference like SXSW you can't swing a LOLcat without striking someone you have heard about online. From the people who run our social mobile applications to the people who research data or make us laugh.



Josh Williams is the CEO of Gowalla, where you can check in and leave tips for friends and other visitors around the word about where you are. The company is based in Austin so the conference is right on their doorstep. No wonder they are actively getting people to check into events using their app.



Benjamin Ellis is a social technologist and entrepreneur attending the conference again and keeping an eye out for overriding themes and future ideas.




Ben Huh is the CEO of the Cheezeburger Network. If you have lost hours laughing at funny cats with funnier captions, you know who to blame. He told me what the Cheezeburger network is planning for Easter and whether or not he is as funny as his sites.


Of course a gathering of CEOs, innovators and creators also attracts journalists - but not all of the media attendees where there to cover the shows for their respective outlets. Emily Bell is the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism, Jeff Jarvis is a professor of journalism at the University of New York. They told me why SXSW is important for people working in media.

That's all we could cram into this week, but next week I'll complete the chat with Peter and have a whole host of people I bumped into here that you may recognise from your time well spent online.

Until next week!
~ Jamillah


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